We woke up early and took our breakfast. I could say that this one was the best we had so far, in quantity and quality of course. In fact it was more like a lunch than a breakfast!!!
We packed our things and left them at the lobby. Before our departure, we wanted to visit the place, the market, the mosque and the Armenian churches. And exchange money… At the end we only managed to have a walk around the streets. Our attempt to visit the churches became a wondering around small but beautiful alleys. Concerning exchange, we asked at the bank, at the exchange office and returned back to our hotel. The rates were more interesting there.
The person that was working at the hotel (a motorcycle fun) helped load our bikes. I took him for a ride from the parking up to hotel entrance… and he loved it! We left the city and headed for Batman (appx. 100 km distance).
The route was nice and easy. We left behind the completely uninterested city of Batman (not relevant to the famous movie) and we ended up to the "foredoomed” village Hasankeyf.
Hasankeyf is one of the 37 villages which will disappear in 2012, due to the reservoir that will be made. Turkey has a great plan, to dam the Tiger River and create an irrigation canal in the area.
Just before the village, the road was following the river bed. The view of the canyon and the climbing village was spectacular. We passed the bridge that brought us to other side of the river and we faced the honey-colored village and a lot of open-air restaurants. We went closer…
In fact the restaurants were in the water! If we forget the “non professional” behavior of the restaurant’s owner we chose, generally it was a pleasant oasis! It is a worth-visiting place for as long as it exists…
We continued for the Van Lake. We stopped to refuel and we had the chance to meet the polite Kurdish owner of the gas station and a bunch of children. We had a quick a friendly chat with all the relatives and the neighbors that were there with us.
We took the road via Silvan-Konzuk to Tatvan. Nothing special to mention until Silvan. We saw the first trees after Konzuk, as we were driving in higher altitude. The big disadvantage (again) was the road works. At some points the road was cut and continued to dirt-road. Tractors, trucks, excavators and other heavy vehicles were all on the road! A landscape in the fog!!!
As soon as we reached Bitlis we had the impression that we were in Central Europe! The temperature, the architecture of the buildings… We continued to a wide road until Tatvan, with a great view to Nemrut Dagi (not the one we visited the day before!). This mountain is a volcano, the lava of which sealed the prior river, and made the Van Lake.
Its distinctiveness is that it does not fall anywhere. The water is evaporating! The result is that… you do not need a detergent to wash your clothes!!!
It was around 6.00 pm when we reached Tatvan. We assumed that it was early enough to continue for Gevas (100 km). The first 40-45 km were nice, we were enjoying the view. We were getting higher and it was getting darker. The situation got worst when we met road works again and it started to rein! We did not meet any village. Only darkness. At a point we reached 2.234 m altitude, but could not see anything…
After a long long time we arrived at Gevas, looking for a camping site we knew from the tourist guide. No chance at all to find a hotel or something. It does not exist. We reached Camping Ahtamar (10YTL/tent). It was the best –if not the only- choice we had. The food was modest and expensive.
We had our dinner and prepared our “house”. The lake altitude is 1.690 m and the night “breeze” exceeded our strength!!! I think that was the coldest night of our trip…