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24/02/11 – ‘you’re crazy!’

March 5, 2011

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I was glad to see daybreak after my bad night’s sleep. I didn’t die, though, and wasn’t so cold in the end. I just had to make do with the puddle of ice water that was collecting by my head.

I began packing up and was approached by two well weathered looking old guys, with a look of total bemusement. ‘You camped here?! Are you mad?’ is what I think they said to me. One of them gesticulated that he had a hut about 200m up the road that I should have slept in, with food and warmth. I thanked him for the kind offer, but I was quite glad to have successfully camped among the snow, so probably would have declined his offer had I known it was there last night anyway. He insisted I join him in his warm shack for some tea, and I was more than happy to oblige.

Of course, tea turned into a full blown breakfast of chestnuts, cheese, bread and olives. We talked about football and the fact that I was insane.

I got on my way towards Tatvan, only 30km away according to my new hosts. I pushed up the hill, taking in the blanket of white that covered absolutely everything. I reached Bitlis and endured a rather terrifying 2 km tunnel, waiting in fear for the impending lorry to pass me that I could head rumbling and rumbling as it approached.

Tatvan appeared after a nice stretch of flat and downhill, along with the first signpost to Iran. I was ecstatic. I’ve made it! I rolled into tatvan with a huge grin on my face.

I contemplated getting the ferry today, but there was no rush. I instead got settled into an internet café until there was a power cut then found a great, cheap hotel with the best baklava and kebabs on its doorstep. Happy man.

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