Ardahan, Turkey Week 120 July 18th 2013
Farewell to Peter and Margaret.

They have to be something special to put up with us for so long.

And its certainly eased the load of independent travel in Turkey, in all sorts of small ways.

We'll next see them some time in Australia.

We've settled on an easy drive today to be closer to the Georgia border, ready to cross the next day.

North then east then north through Ardahan to Waragol-Sahara Milli Park where Peter and Margaret spotted a good campsite.

These gorges are probably due to be drowned by the downstream dam being constructed.
As will be the old houses.
The lack of windows suggests either a harsh climate, animal shelter, or ....
We think there is some good walking in this area.

But time and tide ...

Headed east on road 060 we encounter some dam building.
Gravel quarry, conveyor belts, cement works.

Everything they need.

Further east we decide to take "the white road" (on the Reise Map of Turkey) north through Olur.
And the valley opens out for us.
We took a wrong turn out of Olur and headed a bit west instead of north.

Looking back, Olur in the distance.

Akbayir village.

Complete with corrugated iron minaret.

The woman we asked hadn't heard of Ardahan.

We went past a little way then turned round.
Back through Akbayir.
Back to Olur for another try.

We don't recognise any of the names.

Nor can we find them on any maps.

But its worth a try.

In retrospect there was perhaps another road a little further to the east.

A long steady uphill plod.
With a few villages.

Things are looking a bit poorer in the mountains.

Further up are pastures.
Then some serious road works.

We are stopped by an engineer with a little English.

He explained there was about to be an explosion.

And so there was.

I don't think the English would have been up to explaining that too much dust probably meant an inefficient explosion.

Not that it would matter much. Its not quite like mining.


Time for the diggers.

The road doesn't go where we want to go.

Our engineer had us follow him to where he pointed us uphill.

The road to Ardahan.

The description was "not a safe road" but ok in our vehicle.

He was very serious when suggesting that whenever we see people we ask.

It didn't occur to us that the armed military passenger he had with him might indicate a different sort of unsafe.

Not exactly major highway.

Strangely, one of the gps's knows about it.

But so much for our easy day's drive.

It didn't get any better.

Though from another perspective it got heaps better.

But the scenery was tremendous.

Though the build up of clouds looks a bit menacing.

Just a steady build up.
And before we disappeared into the clouds we stopped for a photo and other essential activities.
Getting a bit eary.

The gps now seems to be about 2km out.

A bit disconcerting not being able to see.

A few doubts though we'll just have a look around the next corner ....
Then a sense of downhill and some trees.
An unnamed village about 4km south of Balli.

We asked for directions and the whole village came out to help.

The usual invite to tea but we were tired and a long way to go.

The villagers said the way was a bit narrow.
And so it was.
But the weather improved.

And the road improved.

We passed through Gecitl which is where we expected the road from Olur to take us.

We think perhaps there was a better road than the one we took.

But not as exciting perhaps.

East as we descended to the plain and turned north to Ardahan.
The mist closed in again for the approach over a pass to our camp at the entrance to Waragol-Sahara Milli Park (National Park). West of Ardahan.

Fir trees.

No-one about to collect any money. A passing group unknowingly entertained us for a while with drum / reed instrument and dancing around their fire.

Before finishing their beer and takeaways then driving on.

It wasn't any better next morning when filling our water tanks.

And we didn't see any bears.

Our easy day's drive took about 10 hours for a bit more than 200 km.

Driving didn't have the same urgency today so speeds were lower and generally more relaxed. Add lower temperatures (low 20's) plus various fixes and the engine temperature gauge never flinched.

Ardahan,Turkey and Borjomi, Georgia Week 120 July 19th 2013

jon Mon, 22 Jul 13 22:40:23 +1000
another great little adventure... in this story

Laurie Tue, 23 Jul 13 08:18:21 +1000
It was a scary little adventure. I am having fun watching the Lawrences do it, blog it and take great photos for me to admire.

Sorry, comments closed.