Tortum Golu, Turkey Week 120 July 15th - 17th 2013
We continued north towards Erzurum.

Intrigued by the increasingly frequent piles of chaff.

And uniformly white bags.
With a side show of increasingly militarised Jandarma posts.
But mainly the wheat belt giving way to arid grassland with herds of goats and sheep.

We are presumably somewhere in the Anatolian Steppes.

Occasionally a different design of barn.
With increasing evidence of hand cutting and stacking of hay.
Plus increasing military presence.
Did we mention cattle.
There's an industry which moves relatively large quantities of cut chaff around the countryside.

We haven't discovered why.

Then either bricks or moulded dung for fires.
And even bigger chaff trucks.

There's room for a few more bags on the back!

But eventually, about 100 km north of Erzurum we find Peter and Margaret again at Iskele Camping.

Without internet communication has been cryptic sms.

Its been two weeks since we parted.

The lake formed naturally about 300 years ago when the valley was blocked by an avalanche.

Limited (no) facilities at 5TL/night but with location. Quiet parking.

Plus nicely cooked (by Osman) fresh trout with salad and bread at 7.50TL each.

Which made overnight free.

Our sort of place.

A rest day.

And a bit of investigation of engine overheating.

Late in the day we'd passed a Mitsubishi/Fuso dealer in Erzurum and decided to back track to buy air filter and fuel filter.

Best diagnosis after checking coolant water flow and radiator air flow (including washing some dust off the radiator) and fan and belts and .... is a combination of causes, including high afternoon ambient temperatures and the need to travel long distances at good speeds on good roads.

Did we mention the roads.

South of Erzurum we had driven through 100 km of road works.

More road works to the north.

Four lane highways for a few vehicles.

Someone planning ahead.

The dealer had the parts we needed.

Interestingly seemed to have mostly Iveco trucks for sale.

We also bought some antifreeze for future use.

An old animal pen (?) on the hillside.

The only one we've seen.

Something not quite right here.

Traffic drives on the right.

But if we cut the corners we can go faster.

It made it a bit difficult to overtake him.

And its not just the trucks.

The four lanes means everyone can have their own lane.

A quick stop at Engozekkapi Kalesi.

Near Tortum.

Perched on an isolated rock.

The back entrance is to the left, at the base.

Below the shadowed bit at the top of the highest part.

Inaccessible to us. It needed a bit of climbing above a drop. Not worth the risk.

The unusual circular bit hanging down the cliff looks like it may be another entrance.
A bit of exploring.

Looking up inside the tower.

A bit steep. A bit collapsed. And no indication of what is above.

There's also a tunnel leading from somewhere below into the tower.

A strategic retreat.

We think a "kalesi" is a monastery.

Then back to the camp site for lunch.

The engine didn't get overly hot on the drive back from Erzurum. Perhaps it was as simple as the dust from Albania had clogged the air filter but we hadn't noticed until the air got warmer. Compounded by leaking radiator cap. Made worse by faster driving in higher temperatures with longer hills.

Time or km based replacement doesn't quite seem right when conditions are so variable (or at least it sounds like a good excuse for my tardiness).

Now hopefully the problem becomes how to avoid being over sensitive to small movements of the temperature gauge.

Not sure why the fleeces are being beaten with the equivalent of baseball bats.

But it looks like hard work.

Apparently there's been a mild (4.1) earthquake about 7km below us but we didn't notice. A few sms messages to say we are safe.

Tomorrow we'll head towards Georgia while Peter and Margaret head west.

A bit of a milestone.

Ardahan, Turkey Week 120 July 18th

Sorry, comments closed.