Whenever I go up to Termessos, I look north and admire the steep south face of Darım Dağı. It’s first visible from the kind of steep switchbacks so if you’re feeling lazy and want a rest, you can use the good view as an excuse. The mountain is also visible from Termessos’ theater. See the good looking pyramid?
Here it is again from a bit further away up at the extensive Southwest (?) Mezarlığı (cemetery), scattered with so many lahit (sarcophagi).
Three and and a half months from Antalya to Bitlis. This was my longest bicycle tour in Turkey (my Erzurum to Bayburt tour was a couple weeks longer, but I spent a month of that in Georgia). By the end I was getting tired, but that’s more because Ferda didn’t allow us a rest day. She was anxious to get back to Antalya. With some rest I could have kept going to Nemrut, Ahlat, Van, and beyond.
You can take the main highway from Güroymak to Bitlis, but you can also choose the old road. It’s not well maintained, but most cars could get through, I think. There’s probably one problematic stream crossing. With bikes, it’s easy, of course.
A lot happened this week. When I read through my notes, at times it seemed like it was all heat and flat tires. Certainly there were too much of both, but we also had jandarma excitement, continued language diversity, some stunning scenery, and quite the variety of camping experiences.
From Dersim to Bingöl we crossed Elazığ Province, a one day ride through Karakoçan District.
On the first climb we met talkative Christians converted by US missionaries. They complained about the intolerance and prejudice they suffer because of their religion. They also complained of financial hardship because their American friends couldn’t come to help them this year due to covid 19.
We camped that night at the picnic area above the Zaza town of Sarıcan and the nearby Kurdish village of Bulgurcuk.
From the Upper Munzur Valley around Ovacık it was a ride on the main road following the river downhill to Dersim (the city). As a main road, I expected a fair bit of traffic, especially since it was the weekend. What was surprising was how narrow the road was. Thankfully there wasn’t much traffic. The nice scenery and pleasant camping continued.
The posts about this bicycle tour from Antalya to (spoiler) Bitlis were written shortly after the section described. Until now. It’s been almost two months since Hacer, Ferda, and I entered Dersim Province, dropping into a pretty canyon, crossing the Rabat Çayı (a creek), and switchbacking up the other side above one of the many arms of the huge Keban Barajı (a reservoir).