08.06.2017 - 08.06.2017 29 °C
Day 15, Thursday June 8 2017
Amasya to Erzincan /368 km
- It's sunny & fine. As we set off at 9 a.m. the temperature is already 24C. AG thinks that we may hit 30C for the first time today.
- Breakfast, although served in a delightful garden courtyard, is uninspiring for our European tastes. We resist the cold chips ( a left over delicacy?) processed meats & salty olives. Instead we eat our trip staple: boiled eggs & some soft cheese. And since there is simmering hot water in the traditional Turkish Samovar, we make a brew of Italian coffee from Waitrose. Our metal coffee plunger & thermos mugs are indispensable parts of our travel kit.
- As are the small feather cushions and cotton sleeping bag inners which we used for the first time last night. Beds & pillows are getting harder as we travel East.
- Before we leave Amasya we drive up to the castle from where the views are outstanding.
- There is no other sightseeing planned today either en route or at our destination. Erzincan is very much a convenience stopover to break our long journey to Kars in Eastern Turkey.
- We have now been on the road 2 weeks, and by the end of today, will have driven 5000km give or take a few. There is no question that our pace is full on and it is tiring. But each day brings fresh experiences & new scenery. It is this inspiration that gives us energy.
- Overall we are very impressed with Turkey's road infrastructure. Yes the coastal route we chose to drive to Sinop was poor but that's because work is in progress to build a coastal highway.
- Storks are nesting in this part of Turkey too. We have noted multiple occupancy in the nests and guess the eggs have hatched. SG wonders where storks built their nests before humans gave them the convenience of pylons, mosque minarets & bell towers!
- We have another breakfast for lunch - same as yesterday. Variety of food is not our top priority on this part of the trip - eating healthily and with balance is.
- As we head SE we are climbing imperceptibly. Distant mountains have remnants of snow. This part of the country experiences cold winters. Road signs warn of the need for winter tyres. The maximium altitude we reach today is just over 2000 m and above the dense treeline. For this reason our maximum temperature ends up being only 29C.
- We are seeing trucks with number plates in Arabic or Farsi script . A reminder of the countries that lie on Turkey's eastern borders.
- On the last 100 km before Erzincan we are essentially retracing steps - we drove this route back in 2014 London - Sydney. Only that time we overnighted in Erzurum some 200 km further away and we were en route to Iran.
- The area around Erzincan is scenic, the city itself less so. We are staying in a new hotel in the outskirts. It reads well - air conditioning ( essential ), parking ( preferable ) pool ( optional but nice ). But reality is disappointing. It's modern veneer is deceiving. We spend an hour moving from one room to another until we are eventually allocated a quiet room with aircon that functions. The hotel is spacious but deserted. We feel as if we are the only guests here.
- Suspicious that a hotel with so few guests might not serve the freshest of food, we opt for a truck supper. We heat up a couple of packets of camping food ( Wayfarer brand ) and are pleasantly surprised by the quality. The chilli con carne tastes better than many supermarket ready made meals. The portions are on the skimpy side - we reckon 3 packets for 2 people would be the ideal ratio.
- The Mullah's call to break fast resonates just before 8 p.m in Erzincan, 15 minutes earlier than in Amasya last night. It illustrates very clearly the indisputable fact that as we head east, sunset times are getting earlier. For now the official time zone remains the same because Turkey, vast as it is in longitude terms prefers to operate just one time zone. The sun of course has its own schedule.
- With no prospect of bar entertainment we decide to go to bed early to prepare for the last 3 days in Turkey. As we go to sleep, the aircon is working but by midnight it has ceased to blow out cool air. The room temperature is soaring. The windows are not made to open. We are hermetically sealed and it makes for a very uncomfortable night. SG dresses and goes to reception to complain. Predictably the electrician is off duty and nothing can be done.
- We slowly bake. Very early morning we ring booking.com to negotiate a refund. They are based in Holland. We are loyal & regular customers and rarely dispute bills and always give reviews. This is the great thing about booking .com - the reviews, good or bad are authentic and written by genuine customers. Their system makes planning our trips much easier and you can deduce we are big fans. In the end we do not pay for privilege of baking in bed!