Journey Reports

Georgia   August 20th 2016, Tbilisi, Georgia
Turkey: Military Coup / Bayburt D915


Jakob & Ernest:

Military Coup

On 15th July there was a military coup in Turkey, as all of you certainly have noticed. The aim was to overthrow Erdogan and leave the control of the country to the military. Fortunately this coup was not successfully; otherwise a possible civil war would have resulted from the situation.

In our journey we found a distinct difference in the country after the coup. Everywhere large Turkish flags were seen on cars, from the windows, everywhere. People spoke only about this one topic, and the media reported non-stop.

On the night of the coup Erdogan sent a message via Viber to the people and called on everybody, to occupy places and streets, so that the military could be stopped everywhere in the country.

In all cities and larger villages of Turkey hundreds to thousands of people gathered in the squares and celebrated exuberantly the victory over the military. Erdogan and Atatürk flags, as big as tennis courts, adorned the cities of Turkey. On large screens films and photographs were shown of former times, music was played, and people with microphones heated the masses. There were sung traditional and Erdogan songs.

When we were visiting people or when we came into various discussions in the street, we always found people who were either for or against Erdogan. The country is divided on this question. However, we think that Erdogan might have won many votes after the coup.

People celebrated for days, even with gun salvos, which were exceptionally permitted by the police. While honking, they also shot from cars.

But this whole conflict has not affected our adventure. We could go on relaxed without feeling unsafe.

Bayburt D915

By chance, we heard about a very interesting road that is supposed to be the most dangerous road in the world, according to Internet sources. It is the D915, which connects Of (on the Black Sea coast) with Bayburt.

Adventurers who we are, this road did not come out of mind, and it became more attractive day by day. With a broad grin on face, we decided the venture to take.

Several Turks warned us of the D915. Since we advanced in an area in which the activity of the PKK is higher, we were told about military controls, and that we should beware of bears and wolves.

We started from sea level and followed a preliminary good, paved road up into the mountains. The increase was incredibly hard. On the first day we climbed 1800 meters. When we crossed the 1000 meter mark, there was a thick fog around us, and on top of that it finally started raining, which transformed the already muddy path in a disaster. The view up there was less than 10 meters. In the afternoon we arrived at a small village where we wanted to encamp. Suddenly an old woman appeared out of the mist and offered us to sleep in the local mosque. A warm carpet and an old fireplace quickly brought a cozy atmosphere in the room, and we dried our clothes. Towards evening, however, a man appeared and drove us out of the mosque. We took shelter in the cold garage under the mosque.

The next day we tormented us up on the 2400m high pass, still through fog. During the descent on rough stony slopes, we spilled a lot of adrenaline, but had spectacular views, and we forgot quickly the efforts of the climb.

After reaching the bottom, the famous increase of D915 should now begin. But like it was with the Großglockner road in Austria, we were greatly disappointed to hear that this section was closed due to a landslide. Now, the search for alternatives began. The alternative we found thereafter fortunately did not disappoint us at all. We got back to more than 2400 meters height, and of course that was on an unpaved and very narrow road. To the right of us was the rock wall, and to the left it went hundreds of meters down into the valley. The tension rose further when we discovered bear paw marks in the mud of the road. Admittedly, from this time on we went a real risk. The conditions were not good. The fog gave us only a minimum of visibility. There were no camp facilities available, and our forces dwindled, since we were at the end of the day. Fortunately, above our path we discovered a rather steep but possible campground. That night we slept not badly, but aslope.

The next morning, as the wet tent wall was repulsed, we were offered a fantastic panorama. The day became very sunny, and in the last pass crossing, we were rewarded with great views of this beautiful and wild landscape.

After a few days we were forced to have a longer break in Artvin, as we were totally incapacitated by food poisoning. Well rested then, our so far highest pass of 2470 meters was awaiting us on our last kilometers in Turkey.

In Georgia, we had a huge change of scenes with respect to many items. But read more about that in our next report.

{Translation from German: Webmaster}

 i20160820-01 i20160820-02Host family in Tirabolu^ Host family in Tirabolu ^
 i20160820-04 i20160820-05 i20160820-06 i20160820-07 i20160820-08 i20160820-09Continuing on the D915^ Continuing on the D915 ^
 i20160820-11 i20160820-12 i20160820-13 i20160820-14Second pass made^ Second pass made ^
 i20160820-16 i20160820-17 i20160820-18 i20160820-19 i20160820-20 i20160820-21Welcome to Georgia!^ Welcome to Georgia! ^

Comments to this report:

Burkhard Rühl writes:

August 20th 2016, 21:29

Ihr zeigt Bilder, die ich gerne selber ersehen, erradeln würde. Ich freue mich für euch, dass ihr dieses Abenteuer erlebt. Es ist wunderschön, Grenzen zu überschreiten und dabei die Erfahrung zu machen, dass man sich mit den verschiedensten Menschen verbunden fühlt. Staaten, Nationen, Völker, das Verbindende bei allem Trennenden ist die Sehnsucht nach Frieden und Freundschaft.

Fritz Steinkuhl writes:

August 22nd 2016, 17:38

Ja, Burkhard, genau auch mein Empfinden!
Wie schön, dass Du so mit den Jungs unterwegs bist!

ph4info writes:

August 31st 2016, 18:30

Hey paps:) deine sms erreichen mich nicjht;) hab das mit gereon abgeklärt! Pennen heute bei einer armenisches family! Sind in vanadzor 70km:) ..liebe grüße:)

Martin Heilscher writes:

August 31st 2016, 18:52

Hi Ihr 2 Tapferen. Morgen werden wir zu unserer kleinen Tour aufbrechen. Wir wollen an Eueren Start nach Köln. Ist zwar nur ein Klacks, im Vergleich, die 450km und immer dem Fluß abwärts folgend (Tauber/Main/Rein). Doch für meine Kids ist es die erste Tour, mit Campen usw. Auch das habt Ihr bei uns geweckt. Im Geiste seit mit dabei. LG aus Rothenburg

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