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Head’um off at the Pass…

Ten minutes before this truck had beeped and waved at us

It’s 6.10am and the sun is streaming through our 4th floor hotel room in Agri. I’ve already had a shower and washed my stinky socks in the process too. Maybe it is from spending so many nights in the tent with the light waking me, but this hour feels normal to me now to be getting up and about. In fact I feel a little guilty for not packing up straight away and heading off, but yesterday was quite tiring for the both of us. Some days you simply feel fatigue. So lying in bed writing, sipping delicious tea freshly steeped is a great way to start today.

Feeling good, those passes don’t get me down

I know Pete has commented on the friendliness of the Turkish, and he is absolutely right, just  three nights ago we rolled into Erzurum where we encountered Surreya, who invited us from his car window to come and stay with him and his wife Belgit and daughter Lara. We spent a lovely evening with them eating, drinking and chatting. It was just what the doctor ordered. I want to say though, that the hospitality we have experienced recently has also been from folks closer to home too. It seems we Europeans do friendliness well also. Crawling up a wet mountain pass last week we heard the familiar sound of a white van drive past calling ‘want some cay!’ when who should step out, not locals but Guillome and Sarah, two French travellers on their own adventure. They opened up the back of the van to reveal the most amazing cosy home, all made of wood, handmade and designed by Guillome himself to accommodate his cello. It was a welcome sight, and we sat our bedraggled selves down on the soft cushions and ate a hearty hot meal inside the van with them. We even managed to meet up with them later that evening to make camp together. We’ve camped with two Russian motor bikers too, Vitaly and Dimitri, both very good fun, and hospitality came to us from Essex too when we visited Georgia for Pete’s birthday and stayed with Rene, a great QPR fan a long way from home.

iturkey_078

Fill her up! Tales from friendly Petrol Station guys

Since leaving Trabzon not a day has passed when we haven’t had a high pass to cross, and yesterday was no exception, poor old Pete had to do it with only one gear as a cable snapped. We had the replacement cable yes, but the very specific torq tool to fit the damn thing, that’s back in Guernsey! 101kms later we rode into a garage and some friendly guys helped us fit a new one. Note to self, buy new torq tool asap as if it had been my bike I don’t think I could have made it! Well done Pete.

Pete and the backstreet garage boys

Visas for Iran are now firmly in our passports, so we are heading for the boarder with head scarf, huge cotton clothing to cover me up and wedding bands on fingers. With any luck we will meet up again with a fellow cyclist Erik, a wonderful Swede we spent time with in Trabzon, as he is just a few days ride ahead of us. It feels like a small travelling community in this neck of the woods, no matter how many wheels you have, and it is great to meet and share time with others on the road. Who will we meet next? What stories will they tell? Whoever they are, I look forward to more of these brief encounters.

The road towards Iran stretches before us

Discussion

6 Responses to “Head’um off at the Pass…”

  1. Ha, congratulations on Iran and pretend marriage! Xx

    [Reply]

    Posted by Bean | May 10, 2012, 9:12 am
  2. Yes pretend marriage v good – real one even bet… ah well never mind! (Joke!!) Am living it up with Pam and the girls in the Big A
    Mum xxx

    [Reply]

    mary Reply:

    Hey enjoy New York Marian, a world away from where we are right now!! We’ve just had loads of kids shouting ‘money money money’ and lobbing rocks at us…doesn’t it just make us want one of those little buggers! xxx

    [Reply]

    Posted by Mum/Marian | May 10, 2012, 12:15 pm
  3. Just read this after lovely skyping chat seeing for myself you are both happily ensconced in hotel for 2 days R and R from those invigorating mountain passes … Mount Ararat in the background from your window … we’ll need an ark here soon, there’s so much rain! Happy cycling onwards … Love you. xx Mum

    [Reply]

    Posted by Mum - Jen | May 11, 2012, 11:38 am
  4. Dearest Peter. How do you fancy appearing in this years media show via skype. You’ve just been the main topic of this mornings tutorial. Harrison, Beth, Abbz, Luke, Jake and Elise miss your beard. Smell you later.

    [Reply]

    pete Reply:

    Dearest Alice. Sure do! I’d love to. You may’n't believe me, but I was actually thinking about the show and how everyone was getting on. The only potential problem is that the Internet is heavily filtered in Iran and I think Skype is ‘forbidden’. What’s the idea and what date is the show? Say hi to everyone, and tell Harrison, Beth, Abbz, Luke, Jake and Elise that I’m disappointed and slightly hurt that no one’s left any comments of encouragement on the blog!

    [Reply]

    Posted by Alice Coggins | May 24, 2012, 10:02 am

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