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Old 06-27-2009, 07:36 AM   #166
Boarder06 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
Simply breathtaking!

Now, let's see your new boots!
Not much to see there. Same Oxtar Infnities I had before, just one size bigger. That's were strommers help came in. I wanted to buy the same boots in Turkey because sizes can differ so much across brands.
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Old 06-27-2009, 12:34 PM   #167
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Ani

Ani

Forty odd kilometers East of Kars is Ani, the capital of the medieval kingdom of Armenia.

Nowadays Ani is just west of the Armenian border in Turkey. In the pictures below Turkey is on the right, Armenia on the left of the river.





History hasnít been too kind on the Armenians and there is not much left of the ancient city. A few ruins remain standing and its in a beautiful lonely location. (Unfortunately Armenians try their best to ruin the countryside with ugly quarries directly opposite Ani. What a strange move). The guards let me drive right in and park next to the ticket booth.














I take a little pre lunch nap in the Cathedral and Iím woken up by an old woman peeing in the church! Sheís not the least bit embarrassed and I act like nothing happened.


























Although the border between Turkey and Armenia remains firmly closed there is a four lane road between Kars and Any. Not surprisingly there isnít much traffic on this road. Just the odd tourist or horse cart.





You never know when you need a washing machine.





Kars is a surprisingly sophisticated town with a few smart restaurants.





Near my hotel I found an Armenian church converted into a mosque.





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Old 06-27-2009, 12:40 PM   #168
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Kars to Yusufeli

Kars to Yusufeli


I head North from Kars, riding along the Eastern shore of Lake Cildir.








I have to brake for the odd horse on the road.








I only look at Seytan Kalesi (Satan castle) from a distance. I see some rainclouds moving in and the dirt road leading to the castle looks doubtful even when dry.





I make my way over a pass and all of the sudden it looks very different. The houses are different and the landscape is different too. There are a lot of pine trees suddenly.








This chap doesn’t seem to have a care in the world.











Coming down the pass I spot a nice clearing and stop for a little snack and a quick nap under a tree. Very peaceful until some rifle shots in the distance wake me up.


I’m headed for the Tibet church and after Savsat I turn right just past another castle. The narrow road takes me along the edge of Waragol Sahara National Park. My map isn’t very detailed and I can’t find the old Georgian church. I just keep going though. This is a very nice place to get lost. When the road runs out I turn around and I spot a few people I can ask for directions. They all agree that I have to take a right. That much I know from my map. The question is where. Eventually I see a sign, which I couldn’t have seen coming the other way.








There is not much left of the Tibet church but the Georgian style is distinctively different from the Armenian, which I have been seeing so far.

















As I pack my camera away a minibus with Georgian license plates rolls in. I’m very close to the border and they are day trippers. I guess this makes an obvious destination for them. One of the guys comes over and talks to me. He is a biker and offers some help in case I want to go to Georgia. I was playing with the idea but found that there is no unleaded fuel in Georgia and you can’t take the catalytic converter out of the Tenere. The whole exhaust has to be changed for more than EUR 1000. Too expensive for a little side trip. I ask the guy about unleaded fuel but he doesn’t understand the question, neither do any of the other Georgians. I guess this is my answer and I bury my Georgia/Armenia plans for good.


The villages in the area are very picturesque with very interesting wooden houses.











The road near Artvin is along a river in a very narrow canyon. It does remind me of some of the roads in Colorado.

There are a number of self made suspension bridges and cargo is hauled across the river with this kind of contraption.





It is very hot down in the canyon but it’s a dream road. It just won’t be around much longer. The whole canyon will be flooded in a few years time. They are building a new road higher up at the moment. Twice I have to stop for blasts and the cleanup that follows. Not much fun in the heat.





I do make it to Yusufeli before it gets dark and after a few trials I find the Greenpeace camp in a quiet location, next to the river, just outside town. The room is cheap enough that I don’t even have to pitch my tent.
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Old 06-28-2009, 07:18 AM   #169
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Enjoying every new episode like the first one. Like your attention to the details in taking pictures as well as an interest in architecture and culture, thanks again and keep those pics coming
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Old 06-28-2009, 02:07 PM   #170
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Yusufeli

Yusufeli

There are rivers in the mountains all around Yusufeli and it is a bit of a whitewater Mecca in Turkey.






Supposedly the town will go under with a new dam being built in a few years. Opinions about this differ and there is a bit of new construction going on while the majority of structures slowly crumble away.





Be that as it may, I came for a bit of rafting. Based on my previous ďexperienceĒ I found myself in the front right position, usually the wettest in a raft. I knew what I was getting myself into, it was a hot day and they river wasnít as cold as I thought. My major challenge was figuring out the commands in Turkish but I got the hang of it quickly. A fun day and the drive to the put in was almost as exciting as the rafting.


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Old 06-30-2009, 06:12 AM   #171
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"



I make my way over a pass and all of the sudden it looks very different. The houses are different and the landscape is different too. There are a lot of pine trees suddenly."



Hey Steff,

I thought the same about those parts when I was riding there some years back. The sudden change in landscape is quite striking.

Below is what The Guardian had to say about it. They consider one of the roads there (possibly the same one you were on) to be among the top ten motorcyling roads in Europe. Only they rode from the opposite direction. (The link for the enire article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/200...motorbikerides)

5. Trabzon to Savsat, Eastern Turkey

Head east along the coast road. At Hopa, on the Georgian border (you'll recognise it: all the women will be wearing vivid red and maroon striped shawls), head inland and upwards, through lush tea plantations reminiscent of Darjeeling. Once over the pass, the difference is instant and dramatic; in the space of 100 metres the cool, damp air gives way to the furnace of Eastern Anatolia and green becomes brown as far as the eye can see. Drop into the town of Artvin - romantically called "one large brothel" by my guidebook - then climb the loose-gravel road out of the dust bowl, twisting in between the overladen trucks. At the next pass, all becomes green and cool once more, with lush meadows filled with Alpine flowers and Swiss-style timber chalets. Only 300kms, but it feels like you've crossed several continents.
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Old 06-30-2009, 07:03 AM   #172
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strommer
"


I thought the same about those parts when I was riding there some years back. The sudden change in landscape is quite striking.

Artvin - romantically called "one large brothel" by my guidebook
Glad it wasn't just my imagination. Maybe I should have checked out Artvin.
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Old 06-30-2009, 07:49 AM   #173
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Glad it wasn't just my imagination. Maybe I should have checked out Artvin.
Maybe you can still ride back?
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Old 06-30-2009, 07:53 AM   #174
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PS: Let me know when you need the Yamaha service in Ankara
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Old 07-02-2009, 06:01 PM   #175
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Awesome!
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Old 07-03-2009, 10:08 AM   #176
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Yusufeli to Erzurum

Yusufeli to Erzurum


Near Yusufeli is the 8th century Georgian church of the Mother of God. A 7 km dirt road forks from the main road and leads to village of Ishan in which the church is located.











As I ride the dirt road back down I realize I left my phone in Yusufeli. So I ride back and the owner of the place hands me the phone when I pull in. Itís pretty late and hot by now and I know I wonít make it as far as planned.


Near lake Tortum it starts to rain. I pull over and have some tea while I wait for the rain to stop. A few kilometers on I make a very brief stop at the Tortum waterfall.





Itís Sunday and people are out having fun.








Not far away is the 10th century Georgian Oskvank cathedral.











One last stop at Haho monastery and Iím all churched out for the day.





I make a quick dash to Erzurum





and initially I have a hard time locating a hotel with secure parking until I find the holy Kral hotel. They lower the drawbridge (metaphorically) and let me ride straight into the huge unused lobby.





I take a room on the Seljuk floor, decorated with Seljuk eagles all over the place.





Next I have look at the local sights from the Seljuk era. First up is the Yakutiye Medrese.








followed by the Cifte Minareli Medrese





I watch people washing before prayers





and I peek into Lala Mustafa Pasha Camii








In the park next to it is this industrial strength tea maker, which can barely keep up with demand.





The price for the funkiest restaurant on this trip goes to Erzurum Evleri. They have managed to cram an amazing amount of antiques into this place. The food is great and itís not expensive.











Itís a balmy night, perfect for sitting outside,





having some corn on the cob,





watching this grumpy vegetable vendor or





these happy fruit vendors


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Old 07-03-2009, 10:55 AM   #177
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Very atmospheric photos

I dug this out:

The name "Erzurum" derives from "Arz-u RŻm" (literally The Land of the Romans[1] in Arabic, using a Persian pronunciation).

.....

Erzurum, known as "The Rock" in NATO code, has served as NATO's southeasternmost air force post during the Cold War.
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Old 07-03-2009, 11:38 AM   #178
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I don't know if your pictures or your reporting skills are better. But it does not get better then this ride report. Excellent job.
Please keep it coming... Thanks
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Old 07-05-2009, 09:38 AM   #179
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Erzurum to Kemaliye

Erzurum to Kemaliye


The Ten and I check out of the holy Kral hotel in the morning.





Itís fast going on a four lane highway all the way to Erzincan. The landscape isnít boring but itís hard to stop once you get going fast. In Erzincan I fuel up again and have a lunch for champions





I continue on minor roads and it gets more interesting.











I stop again for tea at a Seljuk cemetery





before I tackle the last few kilometers











Not far from Kemaliye I spot a village with the architecture that is typical for the area: lots of wood and corrugated iron.











The bridge over the Euphrates





gets me to the tunnel leading to Kemaliye


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Old 07-05-2009, 10:04 AM   #180
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I always look forward to your updates!
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