The bordercrossing from Iran into Turkey was quite easy. Many people but no big hussle and super welcoming border police guys who pointed us the way. We didn’t even need to buy the obligatory insurance for our bikes, as nobody asked for it, we let it go. Driving for around 20 minutes in Turkey we got stopped by heavily armed men. We weren’t sure what’s going on but a few words later and checking our passports we were good to go. No worries this time and we drove direction to the city of Van in the Turkish part of Kurdistan.
Nice riding on very good roads lead us to a cosy city. We were going to look for a hotel after we stopped, again a police guy on a motorbike approached us. Again we didn’t know what to expect. Super friendly he greeted us and told us to wait. Wait? For what? His friend „Rambo“ – also a cop on motorbike arrived, small talk and suddenly we got a police escort to the hotel the cops had picked for us. It was fully booked, so they escorted us with sirenes on to the next hotel… super service, super nice!
The evening in Van we decided to chill out and to go for some different food after all these tasty kebabs in Iran. We found both and our first beer since 21 days too, as in Iran alcohol is forbidden.
The next morning, after a good night of sleep we went to get Daniels luggage holder fixed which was loose after all these off road adventures. A local smith fixed it for him – handmade. And didn’t even wanted a penny for his work. Daniel is still super satisfied with the work, much more stability!
We stayed for a bit of chatting and chai. Around noon we took off for some extremely nice riding on and off roads in the mountains. We decided to take this route to stay as far as possible away from potential danger on roads in the South due to the war in Syria. So far every village and city has had heavily armed outposts and checkpoints which we passed most of the times without being checked. Most of the times…
Daniel planend the route this day which included a 60km off road track. By far our most difficult but also most exciting track so far. Up and down, sand, stones, tiny ways and incredible views. We figured that not too many people drove this way yet.
It took us more than 2 hours to cover these 60km and we were glad to see some paved road again. Sweeting, a bit tired we went to find a place to pit up our tent. Only 2 minutes driving on road again an armed outpost appeared. A soldier and a few other guys came to us with strong looks at their faces. Needing a break anyways we explained we dont understand them but we are German tourists and come in peace to rest. It calmed down a bit and the soldiers offered chai to us and asked us to sit with them. Munition and firearms everywhere around us and the boss of the guys on the phone. A few moments later we were asked for our passports, no problem. The boss took pictures of them and sent them to what they called „Gendarmes“. Telephone calls, busy talking on the phone, another chai, another call, we wanted to leave but they wouldn’t let us go, why is that? As it started to get dark and we didn’t know how the roads would be we were getting a bit nervous but been told to sit down and wait. Wait? For what? More calls, grim looks, on the other hand nice talking and with the help of google translate some kind of conversation telling them we just want to go to the city of Siirt to a hotel now. Another call and a Gendarme who spoke English. We explained the situation and what we are doing here, which obviously led everyone to relax. After one hour we gave everyone the hand and were finally „released“. All 10 soldiers who had gathered by now saluted us when we drove off. In the end another funny story, during the whole event a bit strange not to be free to go and again not knowing why.
We arrived in Siirt safely, checked in to the hotel Erdef, recommended by a group of seniors we met during our stop for refuelling, went for nice kebab and wanted to start early the next morning to Elazig, to go camping at a lake. However just right after we switched on the bikes Jendrik discovered a puncture in the rear tyre of his BMW. Good thing was, that Daniel went this morning already to buy some grease for the chains of the bikes at a local motorbike shop so we knew already where to go to fix the tyre conveniently. The guys, Ramzi and his father immediately started to dismount the tyre and fixed it, telling us to relax as we are their guest. This kindness and hospitality accompanied us through all Turkey. Thanks again! We stayed for a while, had another chai and chatted with them about many things. Our plan to start early had vanished but we were another wonderful human encounter richer. When Jendrik wanted to pay, no chance, they wouldn’t except any money from us but Ramzi has a Germany jersey now for his son!
We followed our plan and still drove the more than 450km that day mostly through the mountains to find this beautiful camp spot at Lake Hazar Gölü where we went for a dip as well…
We covered a lot of distance every 24 hours. The next day brought us to the Sultansazligi national park near Devili. Another 400km driving on good roads, some mountains and a bit of off road passing through Elbistan – as people from Hamburg we just had to have a look here.
We stopped for dinner in the city of Develi, had a Döner and later drove into the national park to set up camp. We never expected to meet someone here but all of a sudden a motorbike crossed our path, wondering what we were doing here. Well, we tried to explain we were looking for a quite spot to camp but he didn’t understand and insisted that we follow him back to the lake we had seen before. We followed and finally found this sport in the nature. Nobody around only a snake and a guy with a gun, trying to shoot some ducks. After a salad, super fresh bred we bought in Devili and a few gun shots later we went to bed.
4 days of all kind of beautiful and exciting motorbiking where behind us. Good food and meeting only super friendly and welcoming people.
Very good start for us in Turkey!