Wednesday, 15 August 2012

From Barcelona to Tehran: Day 58

Day 58: On the Road Again—Alone; From Erzurum to Aktas in Turkey

June 27, 2012; Distance covered today: 113 Km; Total: 4524 Km

We woke up at 5:30, packed up and left the hotel. We had Shorba and hit the road at 8 am. As soon as we went out of the city, we started riding downhill, and after a while, downhill gave way to a flat road. After about 2 hours of riding, we heard some farmers shouted, “Chai, Chai”. We couldn’t resist it, so we stopped and had some really good tea. We had a long chat with the farmers, and listened to their life stories. The farmers, two brothers, had lost their father when they were very young, so they had to work to support their mother and sisters.  Now, they work only two month a year, and the rest of the year? There is nothing to do. There is no job. What’s worse, it snows so much that they would be stuck with nowhere to go or no possibility of farming . They said that they barely make ends meet. They would work more if there was something to do. 
Drinking tea with friendly farmers

We soon arrived in Horassan where we went to an Internet CafĂ© to check whether Iranianvisa agency had responded to Fausto’s application. There was a positive tentative acceptance, so Fausto had to send eighty Euros to the agency. 
An old bridge on our way

To send the money, we went to the only bank in the town and tried everything we could. We had a couple of options to make the payment, but the one that Fausto could do in that situation was through Western Union. We had a hard time making the bank clerks understood what we needed to do. Then the problem was that this branch could not put Euro in any accounts. The staffs tried really hard to find a way, but at the end, they said that they were sorry. Fausto had to go to Erzurum to wire the money.
The staffs in the bank tried hard to help us out

It was 3 o’clock already and Fausto had to double back to Erzurum, 85 Km. So I suggested him to go by minibus. He agreed. 

We hung out for 20 minutes or so before we said goodbye and I departed. We had a lot of hope that we would be riding together again soon, so departing was somehow easy. 
Saying Goodbye to Fausto

I was on the road by myself again. I kept riding toward Iran. I couldn’t believe that there was only one town left to Iran, only one. 

For some time, the road turned into a real mess—lots of potholes and almost no road. I kept riding for 40 km or so when it started to pour down. I then took a side road toward a village where I saw a man inside a house looking at me through the window. I parked the bike in front of the house and went to him and said that I wanted to pitch up my tent there in the village. He warmly accepted and pointed at a spot in front of his house. It was still pouring down. He invited me into his house, but I didn’t accept it. There were some children in front of the house. I talked to them and asked them questions about their schools and what not. Then the guy invited me in again. I accepted and went in. They brought me tea and we talked for about an hour. I then took some pictures and promised them to send a copy to them.
Friendly people in the village

My camp spot in the village

I pitched up my tent in the village with lots of people watching me. A couple of guys invited me into their house to spend the night in. one guy asked me if I needed a duvet. Others asked if I needed bread, cheese, etc. It felt great to be among these hospitable people. Of course I had everything I needed--pasta, so I assured them that I didn’t need anything. 
The happy kids in the village
Seeing me off in the morning

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