Monday, 25 June 2012

From Barcelona to Tehran: Day 53

Day 53: Camping in Mountains; From Erzincan to the Highest Point near Erzurum in Turkey

June 22, 2012; Distance covered today: 103 Km; Total: 4336 Km

What a perfect spot we had last night: quiet, clean, cool, mosquitoless, and by a river. I was so refreshed after taking a dip in the river last night. I made pasta again, and pleased my eyes with shimmering stars.
I woke up feeling well rested, had breakfast and hit the road. We knew that we had to climb a mountain before Erzerum so were looking forward to seeing beautiful landscape.

At about ten o’clock, we were passing the omnipresent road construction where some workers shouted, “Chai, Chai”. They were inviting us to join them during their tea break. We stopped, not for the tea, but for talking to these local people. We had some tea and had a quick chat with them. 
Been invited for tea by road workers
This is how police in Turkey controls traffic. I saw a handful of them on the road. They look like a police car from the distance!

Later, we were passing a bee farm where I stopped and bought some organic honey for breakfast.
At about two o’clock, we got to a village called Askale. We got our groceries for dinner: pasta, tuna, green peas, corn, and bread. I didn’t like the village. The people were not as friendly as other places and they overcharged us for our groceries too.  When I wanted to get some petrol for my stove, the attendant was so unfriendly that I left without buying the petrol although I knew we would be in trouble for petrol later.
As we started to climb a steep road right after the village, a very strong wind touched off—high winds with uphill. At the top, there was a teahouse where we stopped for an hour and had tea. We were a little concerned when we heard that there was no gas station in the next 30 Km. We started pushing it. It was really beautiful and there were lots of nice spots for camping, but we had no petrol. Just 100 meters to the top of the mountain, I suggested Fausto to stay there in the mountains for the night. I thought we could make a fire and enjoy camping in the mountains. So we did. 
Me buying organic honey

There was a farmer there who warned us about the wild animals at night. He suggested us to take turns and stand guard! Haha. No way! We probably look scarier than the animals now. We didn’t take his advice seriously and did the business as usual: taking a shower in the creek, washing our clothes, and preparing for making dinner. The only difference this time was collecting wood, lots of wood for our bonfire. 
Looking for a spot to pitch up our tents
And being hypnotized by the dancing flames

Worshiping  the Fire
Our Spot

After the dinner, we sat close to the bonfire and laughed at the farmer who warned us of the wild animals. We could hear some howls very close, but they were only small foxes we thought.

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