Sunday, April 30, 2006


I awoke when the sky brightened a little before 6am & realised that the area adjacent to my campsite was the city dump. I made a mental note to make every effort to camp before the Sun goes down to be able to scope a more suitable spot.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


The long previous day with the late arrival in Bijar hungry & dehydrated along with the lack of rest at the noisy mosaferkhuneh meant that I felt pretty blah. A perfect time to find an Internet café.

Friday, April 28, 2006


Today was a very long day. I dropped back down Takab from Takht-e-Soleyman. The weather was much nicer than the day before, no squalls of rain. Though the same wind began to blow, for most of the day it did so in my favour.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


The day started rather miserably with cold rain & bits of snow. It was all the worse as I'd managed to mislay my waterproof overgloves.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Between Sanjud & Choplu

I woke with the birds & was on the road by 7am, it was going to be a long day. It was overcast. The road went through rolling terrain, mostly following a river.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


The comforting pitter patter sound of rain of the previous night became annoying in the morning. The ground around the tents was muddy & extra care needed to be taken to keep dry things dry.

Monday, April 24, 2006


I spent my 38th birthday doing what I'd been for the last 6 weeks i.e. cycling.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


I arrived in Tabriz & gave Hanif a call. He told me to take a taxi to Bagher's place & that he'd tell Bagher that I was coming. To my surprise Bagher was standing right behind me. He'd come to meet me at the train. He took his role as a host very seriously.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Night train to Tabriz

After the near back-to-back 20 hour bus marathons that I did in Turkey the 12 hours on the bus to Tehran was a piece of cake. Moreover there was no bicycle in the hold to be concerned about. That which bothered me was Tehran itself & the Turkmenistan Embassy there.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Night bus to Tehran

Today was supposed to be a bicycle rest day but ended out being pretty bike active.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I had expected to reach somewhere just before Tabriz & spend the night as the previous 2, in the woods. I had arranged to stay with a friend of a contact in Mashhad, in the North-East near the Turkmen & Afghan borders.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Between Jolfa & Marand

The morning started off misty but soon cleared up. Shortly after hitting the road I passed through a police checkpoint. The Aras valley had become quite narrow, though the river ran swiftly it wasn't very wide. My road followed along the river on the South side. An enclave of Azerbaijan surrounded by Armenia started only 50m away on the other bank.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Near Qezel Qeshaq

The morning didn't start so well. I awoke to the sound of rain & it continued until the afternoon. I grabbed some oranges & warm freshly baked flat bread then headed on.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Maku - Iran

The clear view of Ararat was replaced by cloud & rain. Fortunately it cleared up pretty quickly. The Sun was out by the time I'd cycled up to the Ishak Pasa Seraji, an palace built by the Kurdish lord of the region in the 16th century.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Just after breaking camp it started to rain, not cold but enough that it couldn't be ignored. In spite of this I had a good morning. The road gently dropped & I had a tail wind. It felt nice zooming along at 30kmph.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Near Tuzluca

I hadn't paid much attention to the location of the village mosque the previous evening, just across the street from my camping spot. But I sure did at first call for prayers at 5:15 in the morning. I’m becoming used to it but that volume just couldn't be ignored.

Friday, April 14, 2006


The morning started cold, the bus a few kilometres before Erzurum for a breakfast break. The temperature had noticeably dropped since leaving Istanbul.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Night bus to Kars

The bus was another marathon. It left the Harem bus station on the Asian side of Istanbul at 2pm, to get to Kars near the Armenian border 20 hours later.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


The bus dropped me on the highway into Istanbul rather than the bus station as I'd been told when I purchased the ticket. I was learning fast that the bus ticket sellers say what is necessary to make a sale. The bus staff, drivers & conductor (guy who hands out drinks & checks tickets), are the bosses. It wasn't a nice introduction to Istanbul traffic.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Night bus to Istanbul

I took a dolmus to Harran, another town mentioned in the old testament hereabouts. It was once an important trading town on the road South to Syria, the border was only a few kms away.

Monday, April 10, 2006


In the morning I slogged the 40km from Bozava to Sanliurfa against a stiff headwind, the same I'd battled with the previous afternoon.

Sunday, April 9, 2006


A combination of a drop in altitude & a tailwind was great in the morning as I dropped down to the shore of the Atatürk dam. However I ran out of altitude to lose & a change of direction turned my tailwind into a headwind.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Between Kahta & Adiyaman

After the last 2 days of gung ho mountain action today was pretty relaxing, though there was plenty of up & down. I left the pension at Karadut having made good use of the facilities not available in a field. Clothes were washed & dried. Tent no longer the burden it had been the previous days from being packed wet.

Friday, April 7, 2006


In the morning I passed through the village of Tepehan. It had the look of a place in the middle of nowhere. From there I ascended & descended steeply. The latter was rather disappointing considering that I had a lot of altitude to gain to get to my objective for the day, Mount Nemrut.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Near Tepehan

After 4 days of cold weather, 3 of them with snow, I was due a change, at least that's what I thought. It had rained during the night & also in the morning. However as I left town it brightened up.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006


After replacing the rear tire, I set off, into increasingly cold rain. Soon the rain became a mix of snow & rain.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Between Balaban & Kepez

After the day before's snow & just bearable cold today started with sun & blue sky, remaining so for the entire day. However, like yesterday it was quite cold but I was well rugged up for it. It was a great cycling day.

Monday, April 3, 2006


I felt much better this morning as shown by the return of my annoying habit of waking up just before the first call for prayer at 5:30am or so.

Sunday, April 2, 2006


I rose very late. Whatever it was that had stricken me the day before continued though I felt better. I didn't have any food for when I felt like eating again & when that would happen I'd have some catching up to do. At shortly after noon I packed up & set off.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Near PinabaÅŸi

This morning the Giardia infection that I thought I'd conquered returned. You can look up the symptoms elsewhere.