Day 226 & 227 | Erzurum

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.


Day 225 | High mountains, low voltage

Day 225 | Tuesday October 25

Unfortunately it was time to leave my hosts Ali and Burak. I really appreciate how they took care of me and wish them all the best.

Range Excitement

The plan for today was uncertain. Erzurum is where I want to go to arrange the visa and I found some people on CouchSurfing who could host me. It is 260km away so not reachable on one charge but with a pitstop I could make it. Exact in the middle of the route is Bayburt, I tried to find a host there but no luck so I won’t have a place to stay. So time for some #RangeExcitement.

Hitting the road

The nature on the way from Trabzon to Bayburt was unbelievable beautiful. From my window I saw a lot of green, hills and water. Stunning to drive through. The hills became mountains though, which were also beautiful but it took a lot from the car. And it seemed they were reaching to the heaven as I kept rising. The temperatures didn’t rise sadly and even dropped very quick, after a while the meter on my dashboard told me it was 3.5C. Probably the coldest temperature I noticed so far. While Bayburt was 70km away my battery level reached 20% and in stead of trying to reach Erzurum it became already hard to reach Bayburt. I wanted to stop at the earliest convenience but it took a while before I found something. With 7% left and a lot of stress I came by a tunnel which was under construction. There were some containers and I was hoping to find electricity there. I saw it was there but no-one to ask if I could use it. I started to get a bit desperate and afraid as it got so cold (it was almost freezing) and there wasn’t anyone on the road. Luckily after 30 minutes some construction workers came out the tunnel and they were happy to help me. Like everyone in Turkey so far. They were interested in the car and thought it was a ridicules idea, they are probably right.

The guys invited me in their container, offered me some coffee, put me in front of the heater and took some selfies with me. When I had 30% battery I continued my way and after the tunnel the road only went down and I had no trouble to reach Bayburt. I decided that I couldn’t go farther today as I needed to charge a long time. I decided to book a cheap hotel with the money I had left from my mother. It might the easy way out but after all the stress I wanted to recover.

Carnet de Passage

The last weeks I have been very busy with preparing the trip through the Middle East and Asia. In these countries you can’t just appear at the border and enter the country. You need to request a Carnet de Passage. After you delivered a 5000 euro deposit you receive a document. For the country this is a guarantee that the car will be exported after your trip. When you decide to leave the car in the country you lose the bond. Now I borrowed the money from a friend of mine (Thanks L) and requested this document from the German Automobile Club (ADAC). On the application form you need to fill out a lot of details about the car and these need to match with your vehicle documents. Now that’s were some issues arose. On the Carnet form I needed to enter the capacity of the cilinder. Now an electric car doesn’t have a cilinder so thats n/a. However my vehicle document said there was a 1350 CM3 capacity. I contacted the RDW and they confirmed there had been a mistake. They sent a new card to my mother and luckily this arrived the day before she flew to Istanbul so she could take this with her. Now I could apply for the Carnet, problem was they need to sent it to Turkey and when you go to another address everyday, not knowing where you are in 2 days it’s hard to find a postbox. I thought the best possibility was to sent it to the guys in Trabzon and it arrived there last Friday. I had to pay another 57 euro for DHL express. Luckily I have some donation money now.

It’s not easy sometimes to arrange all these things while on the road and being on your own. A few weeks ago I was uncertain if I would manage to fix all this but I believe I got it under control now.