Saturday, 3 September 2016

Day 70: Erzurum to Savsat, Artvin. 238km, 19°-14°C, 6 hours.

We were blessed beyond comprehension with surprises today.
People, scenery, cooler temperatures and even some rain.
Choosing photos for the blog post was a big challenge today.

It was a cool 19°C when we rode out of  Ezrurum this morning. Ezrurum is ski town at an altitude 2000m.
We weren't five minutes down the road when I asked if we could stop and add some layers of clothing.
Glad I did because it got cooler as the day went on.

At first we saw hay making, hay being stacked and cattle in fenced fields. We haven't seen fences till the last couple of days.
Blue skies with the occasional white cloud. Perfect.

As we headed north we entered an amazing landscape of rugged mountains. The roads were mostly dual carriageway and there wasn't much traffic.
We stopped at Yusefeli for a drink. What a wonderful interlude.
Yusuf and I had quite a chat on Google translate. .. He had the App on his phone so that made it easier. He insisted via the translation that our drinks 'are on the house'. He introduced us to a young boy, Alis who reminded me so much if one of my own at that age. He loved hopping on the motorcycle. Alis is now a Team Kiwi member.
Kebab mutton was roasting on the barbecue. They put some small pieces onto a kebab skewer and insisted we have some. It was delicious.
Yusuf showed us some of the historic castle ruins high on the Mountain side and urged us to stay and explore some of the historical places in this area. 

As we rode out of Yusefeli we entered another world of high mountains, stunning roads, some grey cloud in the distance, small settlements in the green river valley and people walking on the road side. And a few spots of rain. 

Then a choice, which way? We turned right. There was a tunnel ahead, a new tunnel which the GPS didn't know about. In fact there were many tunnels, some up to 2km long. Sometimes three tunnels in close succession. They are the roading engineers solution to massive rockfalls from the unstable steep slopes.

We could see houses high above us and below us. 
Then a turquoise lake appeared. We followed it for many km up and down, through tunnels, around hairpin bends to a huge hydro dam above Artvin. Then it was down, down, down... To a lunch stop. Again Google translate came to the rescue. 
We were too late for the kebab meat but we did have a savoury börek type  pastry and tea. 
I changed out of my wet Draggin Jeans into my black water proof bike pants and we headed off, up,up,up... The road on the opposite side of the hydro lake.

Eastward to a place near Savsat where we were staying for the night.  
First we had to navigate through the Savsat Village. It reminded us if the villages in the Himalaya. A bit of problem solving required when a huge truck heading down hill took up most of the street space. Dick managed a new technique of making Orlanda extra narrow by riding with one foot on the pavement. 

We are staying in an alpine area. It reminds us of the alps in Romania, Italy and Switzerland.

Start the day with a good breakfast. 
Omelette, flatbread, dried Turkish blackberries, salad greens; and for some a toasted sandwich.


















Wonderful dinner at Laset restaurant, yoghurt soup, salad, grilled trout , lamb kebab, grilled aubergine, peppers and tomatoes.Buznag emir-marine white wine.

With Bora who was our excellent host and guide for our stay.
And the men who cooked and served our meal. 


Dave Browning said...

I have finally caught up on your blog. I am loving the images of Turkey. We loved the country, the people and the food when we were there.
Stay safe. Dave & Judy

Diana Hubbard said...

Glad you are safely home. Great to know you are back on the ride with us. Turkey was a great place to vault on a motorcycle. The roads are wonderful. D