The highway to Anı

After our epic crossing of the Kaçkar, Sage and I took some mellower roads to leave the Black Sea.  Like highways.  Certainly the most highway riding I’ve done in Turkey has been the last couple of weeks.  I am reminded that highways have advantages:

•  You meet other cyclists on highways.  Climbing out of Artvin we met Tomas and Patrick, French and British, who are returning to Europe after riding through Central Asia.  Near the crossroads at Dağpınar we met a young Swiss couple from Basel, Timon and Nicole, on their way to Central Asia.  And climbing out of Iğdır, we met Vahid, an Iranian from Tabriz, spending a couple months meeting his neighbours in Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.  Ironically Sage and I also met cyclists on the train to Erzurum.  That was Céline and Philippe, a young French couple on their way to India.

A Frenchman and a Brit one their way to Europe after a tour of Central Asia by bryandkeith on flickr

Vahid from Tabriz by bryandkeith on flickr

•  Speed.  Wow, you go fast on highways!  Artvin, Ardahan, Kars, Iğdır, Ağrı — seemed like a new province every day!  At this rate one could bicycle around the world before losing all his hair.

DSCN0979 by bryandkeith on flickr

•  Pedalling along on the smooth roads, I finally got used to the helmet-mounted mirror that Kurt brought me in February!  Here’s my one sentence review after about six months of use: I kind of like the mirror, but it’s difficult to use on dirt roads.

Up to the saddle to camp by bryandkeith on flickr

 •  I was reminded that highways can take you some great places.  Like mountains (above Şavşat):

DSCN0673 by bryandkeith on flickr

lakes (Çıldır Gölü):

DSCN0710 by bryandkeith on flickr

and gas stations:

If I understand correctly, Şirin is Turkish for little blue people by bryandkeith on flickr

 •  And sometimes on highways you see unusual license plates:

From Doğubayazıt to Ağrı we followed the main Iran-Ankara highway for a day or two by bryandkeith on flickr

It took a few days to get used to the traffic, and as soon as we did, I convinced Sage to take some back tracks to Anı on the Armenian border.  Even out in the sticks we had to jostle with traffic:

DSCN0739 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSCN0743 by bryandkeith on flickr

Anı is an old Armenian capital on the Arpa Çayı which delineates the current border between Turkey and Armenia.  Some tourists would see it as just a pile of rocks in a desolate location.  I loved it.  There are several Armenian churches, a Georgian one, a Seljuk palace, and supposedly the oldest Turkish (Seljuk) mosque in Anatolia.  We saw colourful frescoes, intricate carvings, Armenian inscriptions, a few other tourists, and, uh, piles of rocks.

DSCN0749 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSCN0771 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSCN0786 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSCN0788 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSCN0794 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSCN0801 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSCN0819 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSCN0762 by bryandkeith on flickr

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2 Responses to The highway to Anı

  1. sage says:

    You need some comments so you won’t feel neglected….
    I’m back at work and definitely missing the simple life. At the end of the day if you cook and relax and go to sleep early, it’s enough. Here, it’s not enough to ride 75 minutes again on the commute. When I get home, I feel the pressure to garden and organize and recreate and be productive and active.
    The popcorn just isn’t as good. Trying to adjust to life after olives.
    Salud! Wine country just ahead.

  2. cycling says:

    Hi there are using WordPress for your blog platform?
    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set
    up my own. Do you need any html coding knowledge to make your own blog?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

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