Day 226 | Wednesday October 26
The road from Bayburt to Erzurum was probably one of the most scenic routes I have taken so far. Mountain passes took me through small typical Turkish villages, I wish I had a drone to capture the beauty of it. Around 2pm I arrived at the address my CouchSurfing host gave me. As there were no houses on this street I assumed I probably was not in the right place. In the city center I found a wifi spot and checked the location Refik gave me, it was on the totally other side of the city. Refik didn’t let me know from what time I could arrive or how I would contact him when I got there. As I expected he lived in an apartment so I didn’t know which bell to ring. I went back to the center and contacted him, did a little walk through the city and logged back in. No reply. I spoke to some locals and they told me the internet connection had been blocked by the government.
It was getting late and I got a bit desperate as I thought I might have not a place to stay tonight, normally sleeping in the car is a solution but with temperatures around 0, not so convenient. Finally around 9pm he responded. Indeed he couldn’t contact me because of a problem with internet. He went to a friend which had internet so he could contact me and that is where we met.
We had some coffee and talks and than went to his house. He lived on the 4th floor on the backside of the building but luckily with some extension cables we could reach the car to charge.
Day 227 | Thursday October 27
Today was a lot of arranging stuff for Iran. In a previous blog I mentioned that you need to obtain a visa authorization code to be able to pick up the visa at the consul. Now I had doubts that this company were I requested the code was a scam, today my doubts became true. I would not receive this code. To request another code would take me at least 10 days and this would be a problem as “winter is coming” in Iran. I did some research and found out it’s possible to get a visa at the border, in contrary to what almost all blogs and websites about Iran told me. I went to the consul in Erzurum to gain more information and also here they told me its not possible to get a visa at the border. Now in the blog I found there are 2 guys mentioning it was no problem, the last note came from yesterday actually so it’s very recent. It’s my only possibility so I try to reach the border soon and find out. If it’s not possible I don’t know what to do.
For today I had another CouchSurfing host, Merih. There was still a problem with internet and as we didn’t arrange where and when to meet that was a problem again. After 3pm the internet went back online and we got in touch. A friend of Merih, Okan, picked me up in the city and together we drove to Merih’s house just outside of the city. Okan laughed very hard when I told them Turks are “crazy people” when they drive car.
With Merih we drove back to the city for some food and drinks. Merih is a 24 year old English student at the Uni and has been living here for 6 years, she is from Antalya originally. I was the first CouchSurfing guest for her this year and she accepted me because English was my second language. Later we would meet with Okan’s girlfriend Fatma who is also a classmate of Merih. Okan is a doctor and drives pretty normal compared to the other people here. We all slept together in the same room at Fatma’s house, where her sister also lives. Very funny and interesting experience to sleep in a tiny room with so many people.