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:
In the morning it might look more like this:
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.
I was excited to see fresh bear tracks on the road.
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.
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!).
In the village we looked at the (as usual) sadly neglected Armenian church and some nearby wooden houses.
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:
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.
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.
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!
Bye, bye, Ardanuç.
Next up — Şavşat, the part of the route that we were most looking forward to!