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Wiebe Wakker

November 1, 2016


Day 229 | Saturday October 29

As I had arranged most things it was time to leave Erzurum. Some days I already found a place to stay with CouchSurfing in Dogubeyazit, which is the last town before the border with Iran. Now this is 270km from Erzurum. There have been days that I would make a distance like this with recharging on the way but on Google Maps I saw that I had to pass mountains and the temperatures were very low. With my experience on the way to Erzurum I learned it would be a tough challenge. On the way to Dogubeyazit were 3 cities. The first one Horasan, just 80km away, the second one Eleskirt 150km away, which was already a risk and the last one Agri 180km.

When I reached Horasan I used just 30% (which is less than average) and the conditions were ok. I could have the risk that I needed to climb a lot in the next stage but wanted to take my chances.

In my previous blog I wrote that the route to Erzurum was the most beautiful route I had taken so far, today I can say that again. The sights here are unbelievable. While I had to climd some mountains I was surprised that I arrived in Eleskirt with 30% left, while I did 160km. I regained energy when going down the hills. I could reach Agri but this city was smaller and thought I would have more chance of finding something here.

Now the challenge was to find a place to stay and some food, I didn’t eat anything since breakfast yesterday morning. Eleskirt is tiny, around 10.000 citizens and when I stopped the car immediately some guys welcomed me and offered me some Chai (traditional Turkish tea). They didn’t speak English but with some sign language they understood I was looking for a place to stay and charge. They showed me where I could find hotels but I couldn’t make them clear that I was hoping to find a local. I walked around the town and started peaking to people and every time I made the sleeping sign they pointed at the hotel. For the next time I need to find another approach. It was getting late and as I had some money from my mother left I decided to check what the hotel would cost me. It was 60 Lire and that was exactly the amount I had left. As I didn’t expect to make other expenses I thought it was a good way to spend it. Dinner was not included but I was not really hungry. I have been taken some Flinndal supplements lately, maybe that’s the reason.

Day 230 | Sunday October 30

From Eleskirt it was 30km to Agri, the last city before Iran and I wanted to go there to withdraw the other 300 euro. I went looking for an ATM which offered euro’s but couldn’t find any. In Erzurum it was possible at Tep Bank and on Google I already saw that they had one here but they told me it had been closed permanently. After an hour searching I decided I would withdraw the amount in Lire and exchange it to Rial in Dogubeyazit tomorrow as today (Sunday) the banks were closed.

Than I drove to Dogubeyazit. My CouchSurfing host Murat told me I had to come to Isha Pasha Place, I had no idea where or what this was and when I arrived in the city I asked a local. He was pointing at a hill and signed me he would drive with me to take me there, so nice the people here. We drove outside  the city and climbed some mountains. After some minutes we stopped at a castle/ mosque/ church. The sights from there were unbelievable pretty again but I had the feeling I was in the wrong place as I expected a square in the city were he woud live.

I showed the guy who was with me the picture of Murat on whatsapp and he laughed, he told me to come with me and at the entrance Murat was there. Apparently he was a guide here and this place was called Ishak Pasha Palace, a typo.

The Ishak Pasha palace is an Ottoman-period palace whose construction was started in 1685 by Colak Abdi Pasha, the bey of Beyazit province, continued by his son İshak Pasha and completed by his grandson Mehmet Pasha. According to the inscription on its door, the Harem Section of the palace was completed by his grandson Ishak (Isaac) Pasha in 1784. The Ishak Pasha Palace is a rare example of the historical Turkish palaces and was depicted on the 100 Turkish Lire Note from 2005-2009.

When it got dark Murat’s job was finished and we had some dinner at the security center. First meal since breakfast yesterday morning. We drove to house, a room on the 5th floor and I was afraid we couldn’t charge the car. Luckily my extension cables reached my car and this was the longest distance every to cover!

Since Erzurum I am in the Kurdistan region. Kurd’s are people with their own culture and traditions and they would rather be independent from Turkey. Many people warned me as their could be trouble in this region but so far I noticed no problems at all, only friendliness, like always.