Bicycle touring Ardanuç İlçesi

Readers may recall that we left our heroes at a fancy hotel above Aydınköy, the beginning of their week in Ardanuç… As soon as Ferda and I arrived at the pansiyon, Hacer, Emek, and Görkem had cold beers and wine for us. In the afternoon we enjoyed the view from our balcony like this:

IMG_20210822_174140 by bryandkeith on flickr

In the morning it might look more like this:

IMG_20210823_083930 by bryandkeith on flickr

We ended up staying three nights there and went for a couple nice walks. On the first morning I walked straight up above the hotel (Danzot) to Karagöl Yayla.

IMG_20210822_070945 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210822_080316 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210822_080734 by bryandkeith on flickr

I was excited to see fresh bear tracks on the road.

Bear tracks by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210822_083404 by bryandkeith on flickr

On another walk Ferda, Emek, Hacer, and I went up to the ridge above the hotel and Karagöl Yayla. We could look into the next valley where Bulanık sits.

IMG_20210822_122353 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210822_134619 by bryandkeith on flickr

I was very content to rest a bit at the hotel.

It had been a 900m descent to get to Danzot. On the day we left we dropped another 1200m via Aydınköy to get to the district capital of Ardanuç (in total from 2550m to 450m!).

IMG_20210824_113103 by bryandkeith on flickr

In the village we looked at the (as usual) sadly neglected Armenian church and some nearby wooden houses.

IMG_20210824_115257 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210824_115446 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210824_114918 by bryandkeith on flickr

What we’ve found now after spending over two weeks doing these huge climbs and descents in Artvin is that it gets rather dry and brown when you go low enough.

These photos, for example, are near the district capital of Ardanuç:

IMG_20210824_132235_8 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210824_160831 by bryandkeith on flickr

We did some shopping and eating in Ardanuç and then started uphill again. We made it to the village of Naldöken where we were kindly invited to pitch our tents in a woman’s garden.

IMG_20210824_175503 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210824_184628 by bryandkeith on flickr

Our route out of Ardanuç and into Şavşat had only two more passes, fairly low at 1650m and 1700m with only a 600m drop between them.

IMG_20210825_152944 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210826_102504 by bryandkeith on flickr

When we asked for a place to camp in Aşagıırmaklar, the village muhtar (~mayor) directed us to the sports field between the no-longer-in-use school and the mosque. The local shop sold beer (fairly unusual in villages in Turkey). When we asked about drinking beer next to the mosque, a number of people assured us it was fine. This is Artvin after all!

IMG_20210826_081818 by bryandkeith on flickr

Bye, bye, Ardanuç.

IMG_20210826_114220 by bryandkeith on flickr

Next up — Şavşat, the part of the route that we were most looking forward to!

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4 Responses to Bicycle touring Ardanuç İlçesi

  1. jeffrey anderson says:

    Great read and photos Bryan!

  2. Mike Painter says:

    Nice, as always! Glad you’re having so much fun!

  3. Deniz Iren says:

    Is that a bear footprint? 🙂

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