Bicycle touring Şavşat İlçesi: 5-4-2 rider attrition

We were still five people when we crossed from Ardanuç to Şavşat.

IMG_20210826_131859 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210826_140634 by bryandkeith on flickr

Only Emek and I had been to Şavşat before. When we described it to friends, we had both compared it to Switzerland. We were not disappointed to visit again.

IMG_20210826_140755 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210826_135254 by bryandkeith on flickr

In Susuz we were invited to camp in a local family’s picnic area with a picnic table, a shelter, and a very nice view.

IMG_20210826_175734 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210826_182634 by bryandkeith on flickr

The next day Emek, Görkem, Ferda, and I said goodbye to Hacer in Şavşat (the district capital). She got a dolmuş to Ardahan, then a large bus to Mersin, to get back to her teaching job a day or two before school started.

Hacer is taking the dolmuş from Şavşat to Ardahan where she can get a bıg bus to Mersın to return to her teaching job. by bryandkeith on flickr

From Şavşat the four of us started up the steep main road to Yavuzköy, a stretch of highway I had ridden with Sage nine years earlier. I was excited to see Yavuzköy again because now I am friends with Semra whose mother is from this picturesque village.

IMG_20210827_140559 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210827_160725 by bryandkeith on flickr

Semra had recommended the road from Yavuzköy to Kocabey and Köprülü. Again, we weren’t disappointed.

IMG_20210827_165352 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210828_113416 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210828_111951 by bryandkeith on flickr
Kocabey
IMG_20210828_115141_3 by bryandkeith on flickr
Köprülü

It was a short climb from there to Veliköy where we spent three (or was it four?) nights at Han Konakları.

Han Konakları by bryandkeith on flickr

That’s where Ferda and I said goodbye to Emek and Görkem. They hired a driver to take them to their car in Kars and drove from there back to İstanbul for a friend’s wedding.

Thankfully Ferda and I don’t have friends getting married. Look how happy Ferda is to be touring with just the two of us now. 😉

IMG_20210831_151140 by bryandkeith on flickr

We took a couple walks in Veliköy

IMG_20210829_083437 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210829_083736 by bryandkeith on flickr

and then headed up and down and up again toward the mountains

IMG_20210901_115128 by bryandkeith on flickr

above Aşağı Koyunlu.

IMG_20210901_132113 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210901_133135 by bryandkeith on flickr

The goal here was to get to Tamara Kilisesi (a church). We easily (?) found the recommended campsite at Kanat.

IMG_20210901_141916 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210902_100138 by bryandkeith on flickr

But then I made the mistake of taking Ferda up another 500m (walking) on a route that definitely did not go to the church. The views weren’t bad,

IMG_20210901_152558_601 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210901_170125 by bryandkeith on flickr

but maybe we should have hung out and tried the mushrooms instead.

IMG_20210901_145245 by bryandkeith on flickr

By morning I had learned where we were supposed to go, but Ferda was no longer interested. Once you find the start (a bit difficult), a clear trail leads straight to the ruins and the waterfall beyond.

IMG_20210902_073318 by bryandkeith on flickr

The church, built into a difficult to access to cliff, reminded me of Sümela, but I learned later it’s Armenian, not Greek.

IMG_20210902_075314 by bryandkeith on flickr

Admittedly, there’s not a lot to see, and the area is hardly easy to access. If you do make it all the way here, continue on another 15-20 minutes on an increasingly treacherous trail to the waterfall (Su Atılan).

IMG_20210902_080121_3 by bryandkeith on flickr

Ferda was happy to see me back at camp. Let the Şavşat adventure continue.

IMG_20210901_134811 by bryandkeith on flickr
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2 Responses to Bicycle touring Şavşat İlçesi: 5-4-2 rider attrition

  1. Mike Painter says:

    Looks like great fun, as always!

  2. Mustafa Karanfil says:

    Thank you for sharing these beauty sceneary : )

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