21.05.2019: Zara – Erzurum

The breakfast in the hotel awaited us with a surprise. While we were eating, the owner came into the room and presented a ceramic bobble-head cat to us. It was accompanied with a translation shown on his phone: “Gift of the hotel”. Delighted we thanked him. The only problem was that the cat was enormous – fitting it in our luggage was challenging. As we set off, we gave him a sticker which he promptly put on the front door of the hotel!

After days of just long straights, today we hit some curvy roads again. Starting from Zara, we soon reached the mountainous eastern part of Turkey. In total we climbed two mountain passes reaching up to 2255m and 2057m. Riding up and down we were always presented with magnificent views. The still snow covered sides of the mountains provided an amazing scenery for the cities which lay in the valleys.

In the evening we arrived in Erzurum where we were planning to stay in a small hotel for one last night in Turkey. Traffic there reminded us what we had not missed during the last days: city traffic. The plan for tomorrow was clear: Georgia.
When we went out to get something for dinner, the situation was.. odd. Even though we were in the city center (Population of the city: ~500.000), there was not a single person on the street. Also, no traffic at all. Even in supermarkets which were still open, there was no one inside, not even the cashier. The only explanation we had was that people take the Ramadan more seriously in the eastern part of the country and were currently busy with the dinner after sunset. Luckily we found a kebab store who sold us two “chicken sandwich” so we had something to eat.