This is part of the twelfth section of our around the
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from Iraq or read our previous visit to Turkey
22/11/06 Entering Turkey was a little more complicated with every car being thoroughly searched for weapons. Everything was being inspected, even spare tyres deflated and opened. The motorcycle had a thorough going over also. The whole process, getting back in Turkey took two hours with a mix up with their computer over the motorcycle. Photocopies of our passports, four copies by the time we were in and out, plus a copy of our visa page. We left the Tigris River valley and headed to Sirnak for the night. Situated in the mountains at 1500 metres this smallish town was recently a "no go" area during the Kurdish/Turkish differences. The facilities here are still a long way behind the rest of Turkey. Generators line the streets giving electricity to an otherwise dark town. The power at our hotel went from the mains grid to generator a number of times during the evening as the city dropped into and out of darkness. There is no water, we are assured it will be available in the morning.
23/11/06 It seems possible, moving east, to wait for warmer weather at this time of the year, and follow the same weather system across Turkey. Another sunny day. Starting with mild conditions but as we moved up river valley gorges more and more into the mountains, crossing over four passes as high as 2000 metres snow started to accumulate deeper alongside the road ending up in Yuksekova just 40 km short of the Iran border, totally surrounded by snow and with ice on the city's streets in the shade, even in late afternoon. The riding was excellent. Passing through some small local villages where stone, not concrete, is still the main building material. Pack mules graze the last of the summer pastures and hay has been collected for winter goat and sheep feed. A couple of river gorges, the sun never reaching the road at this time of year still had ice on the edges making riding cautious. The day was only marred by the constant military checking and recording of our details. We travelled just 250 km's and were stopped eight times, each at least 15 minutes, some longer as we endured the same questions of where are you going, what are you doing in this region, what is your name, what do you know about the Kurdish people, etc. Things are obviously still tense in this area and the Turkish military presence is heavy with regular military fortifications and watch towers, particularly thick where the road runs along the Iraq border. Due to the delays we didn't manage to get to the border before the evening cold set in. Yuksekova is a booming modern town with seemingly more buildings under construction than existing ones. A cold place at 3pm when we arrived the snow thaw had already stopped for the day and icicles were hanging from shop awnings in the below freezing temperatures. There are a few hotels in town but only one looked like it had central heating and there was no debate which one we would take, having to face the cold tomorrow. Within a couple of hours of sunset the air in town was thick with choking coal and wood smoke. We had passed a number of small coal mines in the mountains with their stock piles roadside waiting for trucks, now we were experiencing the best and worst of the product.
24/11/06 The windless night left the thick smoke still settled in
town when we departed this morning but after just a couple of km's the
air cleared with bright sunshine twinkling the frost covered snow stretching
across the hillsides. It was just 40 km to the border where a number of
taxi's were waiting to cross to Iran to collect party holiday makers for
their weekend of fun in Turkey. It took an hour, longer than necessary
to get our paperwork finalised because of different customs procedures
here. There are no customs computers at this border so our motorcycle entry
from Iraq was not documented. We had to wait for the person in charge to
stroll in late for work before we could leave, otherwise an easy crossing.
Move with us to Iran
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