TURKEY: HEADING EAST
Since our climbing stops in Meteora an Pili (near Trikala) in Greece and our short trip to Germany and Austria a lot has happened. Having left Greece somewhat quicker than planned as our dear friend Emrah died we decided to move to Datca as fast as possible. Of course this included a stop in Istanbul to collect Berna’s visa for Pakistan. We found a very central place for Rouletout just under the Blue Mosque and of course we took the time to visit the city a little bit. After that we decided to head south to Datca via Kütahya and Pamukkale. Datca meant family and friends and we had a pleasant time. Berna went a little earlier to Izmir to support her sister while Olivier helped me with improvements of Rouletout. The roof window was installed - what an improvement of the quality of living - the new water filter system was put in place and unnecessary stuff found its place in Datca, amongst them our crash pads and my mountain bike. In between there was enough time for climbing and for supporting Oliver in drilling another multi pitch route in this incredible climbing spot. Once in Izmir we climbed and started to look for our new companion which we finally found in Mutlu, our happy Belgian shepherd who quickly became an addict to Rouletout. I had to go to Germany again to finish my work engagement, bring back some stuff I had ordered in advance - amongst the our Carnet de Passage - and then we finally headed off east. First direction Konya and Göreme in Kapadokia - where we did an amazing balloon flight above strange rock formations - to then continue northwards via Kemaliye and Cayirbagi (both climbing spots) to the Black Sea. We crossed the endless highlands of Anatolia, drove through the canyons of the Euphrat and the tee plantations of the Black Sea, visited old monasteries and abandoned churches before driving back south (and up) through the Georgian valleys direction Artvin and Kars. We visited Karagöl near the Georgian border and Ani, the lost Armenian city at the border to Armenia and followed the border south to Dogubeyazit and then, passing mount Ararat, on to Lake Van where we currently enjoy an astonishing countryside and the food of eastern Turkey before moving on to Iran.