Holiday on Ice.
The Anglophones are still in two groups. Les and Margaret in Kon-Tiki are now in Turkey, Clive, Anne and Maureen (in K-Nine and Womble) are in Iran. This page is based on an e-mail received from Les and Margaret on the 2002-12-17.
We're now in Erzincan Turkey. We entered Turkey from Iran yesterday (2002-12-16?) and stayed last night in Dogubayazit. The border experience was one of the worst we've had. So bad that at one point we barged our way across the frontier with an Iranian policeman in hot pursuit. The top and bottom of the problem was that the procedure was very long, the sign posting non-existent and the guidance limited and inaccurate. We drove the wrong way round the huge frontier area (we were misguided). And after taking route number 3 were told to go to route number 4.
Today we drove the dreaded Turkish mountains - and covered over 400kms at least half on neat ice. Not bad. The weather is freezing cold (-10C last night) and we are staying in hotels, as we have been since two days before the border. We had planned that we would drain the van (essential when it's freezing of course) and use hotels at an appropriate point but circumstances didn't quite work out like that. As we drove north west from Tehran we were caught on a motorway in an horrendous blizzard.
The result of this was that we drove for an hour at snail's pace before leaving the motorway for the sanctuary of a small town. Neither of our heating systems would work and it was so cold we accepted an offer of hospitality from a lovely family, abandoned the van without draining it, and slept the night in their house. The next day everything was frozen and has been ever since. One day, everything will leak but not yet.
Notes on crossing the Iran Turkey Border.
We followed the route from Esfahan to Karaj to Tabriz and then to the border.
If you follow this route. Karaj is very badly signed so take advice. At Tabriz, take the "freeway" signs before the city and when you are south west of the city look for the Marand exit (it is not easy to find).
In December don't think that you will meet the bad weather in Turkey. You may well meet it in Iran!
Photocopy the outer front page of your Carnet and your visa before you enter the border gate.
At the border, you may be surprised that they won't complete the export section of your Carnet but tell you to go to "transit". You will then drive for the best part of a kilometre and may think you are already in Turkey. (Keep to the right, do not turn left at any point.). In fact you are still in Iran and must visit customs (in a new big building) then "transit" (to the left of the big building and over a road) then emigration (in the big building but at the back right). I think the correct exit route into Turkey is the road between the big building and "transit".
If you get lost on the Turkish side (all unsigned "Portakabins") secure the services of the very small Ali who lives off people like you! (You won't find the bank otherwise and then won't get a visa!)
The road once in Turkey is dreadful but drivable. The road is not well serviced for winter conditions - we saw only one working maintenance vehicle in 400kms.
...And just in case you were worried Mog is now safely back in the UK. We collected her from Thamesport near London on the 2002-12-18.
The only damage was quite a lot of rust due to exposure to salt water, a broken wing mirror and somebody had stolen the new horns I fitted in Tibet.
Home - This page last changed on 2003-01-07.