East Turkey
Having been to Syria and Jordan it is back to Turkey so that we can get into Iran. Apart from the fact that we had arranged to collect tyres in Gazientep we had no reason to go to East Turkey other than to go into Iran. Our first stop over the border was Gazientep. We arrived and asked at a hotel about rooms, with the man there having no English and us with no Turkish this was fun - we got to see the room - no shower - after making him
understand shower by making strange ape looking gestures above our heads he nodded and proceeded to take us to another hotel where there were showers. We had decided that there was nothing to see in Gazientep so we slobbed out in the room watching BBC Prime (scary when things get that bad :-) ). Amusement was provided outside the hotel when coach-loads of Iranians turned up and proceeded to cook dinner on the pavement where it was also eaten. However, it was the women outside on the pavement and the men inside drinking tea ! We enlisted the services of a local taxi to guide us to Gazientep Motors where the tyres were. The man we were to contact spoke no English at all but one of the other fellas had good French (thank god for our French lessons). We strapped the tyres to the front of the bikes on either side, had breakfast (paid for by the French speaking man) and headed off. As there was no time for fine tuning the fit of the tyres they were not great - Jenny was unable to get her legs out from behind them easily so no quick stops required and Cliffs were just plain uncomfortable. From Gazientep we decided that we had better see what East Turkey had to offer to the tourist and left for Nemrut Dagi - a mountain 5000+ feet high with a manmade summit where huge statues stood - although the heads had fallen off. We did the sunset tour here by minibus (feeling lazy today) and were glad of it - the final 7km to the summit were extremely steep, rough, sharp cobbles. Had we have taken the bikes up they would have been rattled to bits. We would have taken a photo on the way up but the bus was bouncing around so much it was impossible.
A selection of heads at the summit
Arty shot of Eagle and Lion head
We stopped over in Diyarbakir to kill some time before hitting the Iranian border. There is nothing to say about this town - busy, dirty and noisy. The Citadel is a military zone and so no visitors allowed and we found nothing else to amuse ourselves with during the day. In the evening we found a bar/restaurant and had a couple of expensive beers. We got chatting to a Kurdish man, Alyas, which proved quite good fun - again no English. We did gain his telephone number and was told "problem Turkey telephone Alyas".

We are currently in Van and will be crossing the Iranian border tomorrow - the 12th of September. We thought it wise not to cross earlier to avoid being in Iran on the 11th of September.

Van Castle and view of hills in distance.
The new city of Van is built 4km inland from the Lake. The old town stood at the edge of the lake until 1915 when it was completely destroyed and all its inhabitants ( Armenians ) were slaughtered by the  Turks. If you read their literature they "conquered" the old town. Nothing has been built on the site since then and it remains as it was although little is there to remind you that there once was a town.
Old Van - one of the few buildings left.
We met our next set of overlanders in Van by chance whilst sitting outside the Hotel Paris. A man approached us asking where we were from and where we were going. He turned out to be one of three Israeli lads doing a tour of Turkey on dirt bikes. They had all had bad stomachs when they arrived in Van and so were not up to much in the evening. However we did have along chat with Shay that evening. They explained that being Israeli made it very difficult for them to go anywhere and had come to Turkey via a rather round about way.
The Israeli's preparing to leave.
The first thing that you meet when coming into Van - the statue ofthe famous Van cat - apparently kept under lock and key by owners which may explain why we did not see any.
Next - Iran
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