It has been a week since I left Diyarbakir. The last 7 days were enormously eventful. Also with a few negative experiences. Already on leaving the city, my new chain had trouble reconciling with the cassette. Constantly I entered the empty space. Suddenly, I saw two small dots in front of me. There were also two tour riders from Switzerland, Patric and Chantal lalibertederrance.blogspot.com. The two started from Paris in August 2010 and drove in 9 months through France, Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey. Since they are also traveling to Iran, I was allowed to join them.
To third, the heat is much more bearable and everyone finds a little pity. Even the truck drivers honked and waved us constantly. Chantal and Patric also prefer to bivouac. At a gas station we were allowed to pitch our camp. The Kurds are almost more hospitable than the rest of the country. Again and again you are invited to the Cay. At the petrol station, a basketball team from Jüksekova stopped. The players are all physically disabled but enormously joyful.
For the three of us this was a formative and beautiful experience. The gas station manager introduced us to his whole family and invited us for dinner. The next days it went up permanently, then a bit down and again very long up the mountain. My chain constantly rattled through and the sun made its contribution. Life is sometimes extremely hard. But the landscape was all the more beautiful.
In the heat of the sweat flows in streams. There you are grateful for every cup of Cay. Mostly the whole village comes. We are a real attraction. It's fun to talk to the people. Many questions constantly about whether Patric is my dad. I can enjoy it deliciously. Patric, out of sheer frustration, shaved for the first time in months to look a little younger.
On the second day, after oiling and shortening my chain, I had to assemble the old one again. My hands were completely black from all the fat. Unfortunately my problem was still not solved. In the evening I was then after 90 km up the mountain trample and three times chain change physically and nervously at the end. Fortunately, Patric found a fine bivouac for us next to a restaurant.
Before Bitlis we were again stoned by a few children. No one wanted to let us bivouac in the village. To make matters worse, a 2 km long tunnel came suddenly. Fortunately, there are also nice people in Bitlis. Three men loaded our bikes with their luggage on their pickup and drove us to the other end. Wow! On Tuesday morning at 9:00 local time we arrived in Tatvan. Because of my problem we decided to take the ferry to Van. On the almost 200 km long lake runs only a boat that has no fixed timetable. We arrived exactly one hour late. Only the next morning would drive again. Luckily I found a couch surfing contact in Diyarbakir so we could stay there.
IIn a small bike shop the mechanic tried his best, unfortunately without success. In the end he had tried three different chains and redirected all the teeth of the cassette. He did not want to accept any money for the three-hour work! A little unnerved, it was the next morning at 7:00 clock to the port. Around 9 clock actually arrived the ferry. First, the entire ship had to be unloaded and then loaded again. Which took about two hours. Then we were allowed on deck with our bikes.
In addition to an Australian, we were the only tourists on board. The crew first invited us to a cay in the engine room and then there was a visit to the captain. In the engine room it was not allowed to take pictures. The chief mechanic was probably worried we might be operating espionage. Chantal and Patric told me on the four-hour crossing a few episodes from their thirty years of travel experience. That's better than any book. In Van Chantal wanted to overtake a parked car. The driver opened the door at the same time and hurled Chantal with the bike on the road. Except for a small scratch and a bent brake luckily little happened. In the center we found a nice hotel with rooms on the roof terrace.
After two hours of searching I found a Veloshop the next day. The owner picked up Mehmet in the store next door, who spoke English pretty well and translated for me.
He also said that the cassette has ended its service. Fortunately, he had an 8x cassette in stock and was able to solve my problem to some extent. Although I have three courses less, I can continue my journey. Patric also bought two spare cassettes in the afternoon. The owner and his wife invited us to the cay and gave us two glue with the eye of Fatima protecting us and a "masallah" glue (which means "hopeful"). Nothing can go wrong now.
In the meantime, the electricity in Van is constantly rising. The dear Turks once again blocked my Facebook and e-mail and at Chantal their blogspot. Otherwise, Van is a very liberal city with very few foreign tourists. Only now and then do you see a few Iranian tourists in the busy streets. Today we drove hitchhiking to Gevas and from there by boat to the island of Akdamar. There is one of the Armenian architectural wonders: The Akdamar Kilisesi (Holy Cross Church). In 912 Gagik Artzruni, the king of Vaspurkan, built a palace with church and convent on the island. There is not much left of the palace and monastery, but the church is in a class condition.
Tomorrow the ride can finally continue. Four passes remain to the Iranian border (the highest is 2'700 above sea level.) and about 300 km. This passport has only been open for a few years. I'm really looking forward to Iran.