The Gates of the Middle East: Eastern Turkey

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Eastern Turkey. Vast and untamed. People warn of wild dogs and roaming terrorists. My biggest problem, I’m happy to say, has been a plethora of punctures! Having made it from England to Eastern Turkey with only a single puncture, I’ve had four punctures in the last five days!

The long ribbon of asphalt that I’ve followed for most of the breadth of this enormous country has left me in the frontier town of Dogubayazit, the last town in Turkey, at the foot of Mount Ararat, the country’s highest peak at 5176 metres. The mountain, which was, according to biblical accounts, where Noah grounded his Ark as the floods receded, looms high over the arid landscape. It is capped with snow, and wispy white clouds emanate from its peak. I can see where it got its biblical connections.

The sun sets early in the mountains. I watched the sharp silhouette of the distant chain of jagged mountaintops slowly recede into the darkness. The call to prayer echoed across the arid landscape, wild dogs howling along to the sound from the dark distance, and I’m glad I find myself once more in the comfort of a hotel. This is becoming an expensive habit!

When the sun rises over the mountains tomorrow morning, I will ride the final few miles to the Iranian border. I hope to leave my westernised preconceptions at customs, and head into this culturally distant and often mistrusted land with a open mind and a friendly smile. Finally, I enter the Middle East.

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4 thoughts on “The Gates of the Middle East: Eastern Turkey

  1. Chanced upon your blog in my reader and boy I’m glad I did. What a courageous, interesting young man you are. I have spent a happy hour reading your journey thus far and it has been a pleasure. I will be making a donation as I believe that your efforts should be noted and rewarded. I certainly look forward to reading more posts soon. Btw the wild dogs must have been terrifying? I would have stayed in a hotel the next night as well. Makes me proud to be a Leeds lass ( although I’ve lived in Australia since age 4!!!)
    Happy and safe riding
    Claire

    • Thanks Claire! Aye, the dogs were pretty frightening! Though I’m not sure that, after two and a half months cycling, there’s much meat left on me to provide much of a meal for a hungry dog, so there’s a chance they wouldn’t actually eat me!

  2. Crossing to the Middle East. Exciting. Moses country. Awesome. How is camping along the roads? Is it easy to find places? Are locals ok with you being there?

    Thanks

    Safe travels and don’t get eaten by wild dogs!

  3. You’re obviously not thinking laterally enough. Why not eat the dogs before they eat you. Or maybe just tell them that’s what you’re going to do to deter them.

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