After Ankara we drove south towards the Syrian border. Two weeks ago when we explored that area everything was safe but we had seen many checkpoints on the road by the Turkish army. The South-east part is Kurdish region and there are still political issues between the Kurdish people and the Turkish government. But the controls are also because of IS checks from Syria. With everything going on there at the moment I don’t think that we would explore that area now. The news is not daily for us due to not a lot of internet so we weren’t aware of the pressure already from Turkey.
In the south we had to adjust our clothing to the standard of the region (long sleeves and trousers). In the beginning Lillian was still wearing shorts. The look on the faces of the people in the cities was extremely unfriendly. Old and young they all looked the same. Later we found out that the region we were in is one of the most strict in there believes but still it was a wake up call. Off course we adjusted without hesitation but it’s strange to see the differences by region. You also can start to see that drinking alcohol is rare (good practice for Iran 🙂 ) On the other side, a lot of people are smoking cigarettes. They find it’s strange that I say no when they offer – it’s almost an insult (No Jeffrey – no luck yet).
South-east Turkey was great! We visited some great historical/archaeological places. Globeklitepe – The oldest first Tempel/village found in the world. Archaeologists believe that agri culture started here. Harran – The first type of houses where build here about 3.000 years ago and people still use this prototype. We also drove up towards Mardin. The old centre felt like an open air museum and we meet very nice people.
The last couple of weeks we had to fix some things in the camper and also did some paper work to get into Iran, Pakistan etc. It’s just incredible how people always trying to help us when you need it! Team Mercedes (8 people) stayed till 21:00 in the garage to help us out. And not for extra cash! When we needed some copies we were brought into a home of a friend. They ordered big plates of food only for us and we weren’t allowed to pay any extra’s. Just 2 euro’s for the copies. There are too may examples of kindness we experienced and it still overwhelms us. If you knock on somebodies door, they invite you straight away in for chai (tea) and food. I wish we could bring some of this culture back in the western part of the world.
After being in the south we had to cross the country to go to Trabzon. We collected our Carnet De Passage and another package from DHL. That package gave us headache and because we weren’t Turkish citizen we couldn’t collect it. After 5 days of calling the Turkish government helped us out (big exception) because we where on a world-trip. Thanks again Virginia for all your help from your side! In the meantime we stayed in the mountains on a beautiful spot and could do a bit of school for Morgan, sporting for us and hike some nice paths – no punishment at all.
After Trabzon, we drove towards Natural Parc Kackar Dagi. The northern part of Turkey is extremely green in comparison with the south-east part. It’s great to be in the mountains when autumn starts, the colour combinations of the threes are stunning. At the moment we are in Ani, close to Armenian border. Ani is an Armenian ruin city. In the 10th and 11th century this was the capital city of Armenia, Between 100.000 and 200.000 people where living in the city. The city was abandoned because of war and many earthquakes. This place was overwhelmed by churches and mosques. We were there for 2 days, with not a lot of tourist around. It felt as an adventure to walk around and explore.
In the next couple of days we will go into Iran. Final preparation are almost done. We are drinking more beer the last couple of days because of the ban in Iran 😉 and we bought 16 packages of espresso coffee. Yes, we have a problem with not drinking good coffee, especially in the morning….
We are already more than 6 months traveling and living in our new house but still enjoying our Nomad life’s to the max. We are all 3 very happy campers!
Love from the 3 of us!