|Ardahan, Turkey and Borjomi, Georgia||Week 120 July 19th - 20th 2013|
The mist lifted enough as we left to expose the mountains.
Looks like the western side is a bit wetter.
|People seem to live at 2500m.|
|Herding cattle, and......|
Back through Ardahan then head north to the border.
Signposted Gurcistan (Georgia).
More open steppe.
We are reminded of Mongolia, but there are many more houses here.
We stopped for supplies, post office, and to spend the last of our Turkish Lira.
Turkey was relatively expensive for us. Not only because of fuel distance and time but prices for ancient sites (with parking), entry visa, and food, to say nothing of the additional cost due to visa hunting. It all adds up. More expensive than Scandinavia for our mode of travel.
It would have been nice to travel more slowly in Turkey, there is lots we didn't see, particularly in the east, but then the Russia and Pakistan visas would expire.
Fewer km/day is the most effective way we have of controlling cost with high fuel prices but our plan and circumstances in Turkey conspired against us.
|Somewhere in front are the Caucasian Mountains.|
This odd looking installation intrigued us.
The sign at the gate said "petrol pumping station".
Lots of accommodation blocks and a helipad.
Not sure which way its pumping.
|We drop down into the valley.|
The Turkish military presence has increased a little but seems to be inward facing rather than defending borders.
Eastern Turkey has independence minded Armenian and Khurd populations with long memories of oppression.
Sadly, we've missed a lot of the area while chasing China visas.
We've sensed a few instruments of oppression, from the necessity for mobile phone registration to vehicle registration capture at fuel stations, the military presence with militarised police posts, heavy reaction to Taksim protests, and fettered media.
At the same time the economy is growing rapidly which probably keeps the majority happy.
Last fuel before the border but no reduced prices..
We noticed Iranian registered trucks coming from the border.
Now we see a very long line of mostly Iranian trucks attempting to leave Turkey.
I have a memory of an even longer queue of trucks waiting to leave Turkey for Iran in 1978.
It must be a Turkish thing, given the line of trucks we saw trying to leave Turkey for Greece.
Leaving Turkey was a bit slow as an Iranian bus was being processed in front of
But otherwise uneventful.
Our hope that any road tolls from Istanbul wouldn't catch up with us at the border was fulfilled.
Entering Georgia was easier as the bus passengers were processed as on foot in a building while we had a booth for cars.
We were guided through immigration and customs (for the vehicle). The bank was busy with bus passengers and we were pointed at the fuel station. A nice friendly welcome.
The road is a dotted line on the map.
Above ground plumbing and very different apartment blocks.
The Russian influence is a bit obvious.
And very different houses which are probably distinctively Georgian.
We have definitely crossed a border.
The Georgian script is distinctive. Seems a bit similar to Iranian but we're
still short of internet for research.
We are pleasantly surprised at the English.
From the map we've followed the River Mtkvari, short name Kura (though the road
signs have a name
beginning P....) towards Borjomi.
Thought we'd find a camp spot near the large nature reserve before Borjomi. Nary a signpost.
Not really accessible so far, we found a spot on the river bank out of sight of the road.
A bit of a tip though with lots of broken glass.
|Timotesubani Monastic Complex and Uplistsikhe Cave City, Georgia||Week 120 July 20th 2013|