Day 445-448 – 19.-22. July 2014

Day 445: The first 20 km this morning was a nice descent. The rest of the day was again a very long climb.

The area was still beautiful and because I did not choose the main road it was pretty lonely.

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At noon, on a steep part a man invited me to his hut. He served me Lavash (a local flat bread) an self made honey. Also some water and vodka.

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It is amazing how much you can get to know about someone even if you do not speak his language. George lives in the summer in this secluded area and makes honey. He produces 1000kg in on year.

After I climbed more than 1000m it was getting late and I saved the last 200m climb for the next day. I found a place at a creek, behind some trees for my camp. Only one shepherd came by with his cows.

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Day 446: I managed to be on the road again shortly after 10am. The 200m climb was followed by a rapid decent to the sevan lake. The lake is the largest in Armenia and is at an altitude of 1900m.

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I followed the lake at the east side. The wind was getting stronger and sometimes I really had to struggle. At one point the road was suddenly gone and for the next 15 km its was so bad that I only could go a maximum speed of 10-12km/h.

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After another 20km I finally had the wind from the rear. Now it was a nice fast ride along the south side.

I needed to get some supplies and asked someone in a small village about a market. As you can imagine I was the sensation when I was at the shop.

I only wanted to find a place close to the lake to spend two nights. But I could not find one. I pressed on and till I saw a small road going to the lake. It was already getting dark and it was my last try to find a place. Just when I was turning into the small road, a man with a car stopped behind me and said there is no place to camp.

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He told me to follow him and after 500m we stopped at the next filling station. He got out, talked to another man  and suddenly I had a small room where I could sleep. Later he came back with is daughter, because she could speak english and so we could have a conversation.

All the people at the station where friendly and I felt very safe.

Day 447: I left the station in the morning and cycled 10km to the next town. I went to several shops to get some more supplies and then I was searching for a good place. After a few small detours I found a very nice place in a wooded area close to the beach.

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The only thing I did not like were some big roots from cut down trees, because they spoiled the sight.

After a few minutes some workers came with a truck and picked up the roots. How considerate of them.

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It was almost noon and the workers made a brake and invited me to their picnic.

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They also invited a local shepherd and later I was able to take his horse for a small ride.

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The food was basically sausage, cheese and bread. Yes, and also vodka.

After we emptied two bottles of vodka I was pretty drunk. I do not know how I managed to pitch up my tent, but I somehow did and slept for a few hours.

When I woke up some other guys invited me. This time they had some self made „whatever” to drink.

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I was glad when everybody was gone and I could go to bed early.

Day 448: I needed a day rest so I stayed at the lake and relaxed a little bit. The weather was not that great but for me it was ok.

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Some of the workers came back, but this time I refused to drink any vodka. In the afternoon they brought a fresh watermelon and it was so big that we could only eat half of it.

 

Day 445: 55,12 km  all: 13.434 km

Day 446: 103,49 km  all: 13.538 km

Day 447: 18,90 km  all: 13.557 km

Day 441-444 – 15.-18. July 2014

 

Day 441: After three weeks in Tbilisi I was happy to be on the road again. I said good bye to my roommates and started by cycling through the city.

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After a 200m climb I had a pleasant ride to the border of Armenia. Just 15km short of the border I stopped for the night. I even had filled my 10 liter shower-bag at the last filling station with hot water, so I had a pleasant shower.

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Day 442: The few km to the border was downhill and just before noon I reached the border to Armenia. The crossing was very easy and fast with no baggage control. The border officers wished me a nice stay and congratulated Germany for winning the world cup.

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I just entered Armenia and was starting my first climb. The countryside is very beautiful and mountainous. The rest of the day I was slowly climbing in a nice valley following a river.

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After 50km I was looking for a place to camp along the river. It was impossible to find a suitable spot, because either the road was high above the river or there was no flat area close to it. After 70km I finally crossed the river at a old bridge and found a place. It was not close to the river but there was a small creek so I had water for washing and cooking.

Just before I retired for the day I met a couple from Switzerland on a bike tour around Armenia and Georgia.

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Day 443: After a good night I took my time and started at noon.

The climbing continued. Two jung dogs followed me for a while and after I gave them something to eat they did not want to leave.

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I met another German cyclist who is going from Yerevan to Istanbul. Richard has only two bags. Due to his limited time he is not camping and so he can cover great distances in one day.

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Finally I reached the top of the mountain and was descending into the town of Vanadzor. After I bought some groceries and liquids, I was ready to find a place to camp.

Just before exiting the town, I met two cyclist from the Netherlands. They told me about another Italian cyclist, who has a 30€ bicycle. A few minutes later he came to us. And what a surprise, I knew him from Cyprus. We met in January in North Cyprus (Day 268).

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He was already late for a meeting, and left after two minutes.

While we where exchanging contact information, two other cyclist from Germany joined us.

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Because it was getting late we decided to find a place to camp together. After another 150m climb we found a very nice place on top off a hill. We shared a tasty dinner and some beer and had a lot to talk about.

We all where very tired and after more than 1000m climb in only 41km I felled asleep right away.

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Day 444: The next morning we had a extensive breakfast. We said good bye and we hope to see us again somewhere in the future.

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I wanted to go only 30 km to the next town, so I took my time packing my things. At moon I started to go on and climbed 200m.

I met two other cyclist from Poland and Luxembourg. The Polish guy its almost two years traveling all over Europe.

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In the town of Dilijan I bought some supplies and continued. A few km outside the town I found a wonderful palace close to a river for the night. It was still early, so I could relax, read and take a both in the river.

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Day 441: 60,16 km  all: 13.233 km

Day 442: 71,05 km  all: 13.304 km

Day 443: 41,46 km  all: 13.345 km

Day 444: 33,97 km  all: 13.379 km

Day 421-440 – 25. June – 14. July 2014

Unfortunately  Franziska and Gabriel where only able to host me for one day, because Gabriel´s family came to visit on short notice. But Franziska found a room for me. One of her friends where out of town for a month and she wanted to rent her room.

So I ended up in this very nice apartment with two other roommates from Canada and USA. I could stay till the 15th of July.

Franziska and Gabriel showed me a little bit around town. We went to the market and I even found a cartrige for my stove.

Philip and his son Josh whom I met a few days before, invited me on a day trip by car to some of the sights they missed during their bike trip.

We drove around the whole day with a 4×4 and saw some nice areas and secluded places.

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Philip was driving through very difficult terrain and at some point we even had to change a flat tire.

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When we came back we went to the Geothe institute to watch the second half of the soccer match Germany – USA.

The next day we met again in the evening and exchanged pictures and Philip gave me some of his supplies and spare parts.

My first concern now was to get a visa for Iran.

So on monday I went to the Iranian Embassy to apply for a visa. They told me it could take three weeks to three month for the visa. They gave me a address of a private visa agency and they could get the visa in about two weeks. They would also organize a reference number from the Iranian ministery. But their price was 300 US$.

I decided to take a visa run to Trabzon, Turkey.

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I read in the internet that it is the easiest way to get a Iran visa. It is fast and as a german you do not need a reference number.

The next sunday morning I took the bus to Trabzon. I payed 25$ for the 10 hour bus-trip and in the evening I reached Trabzon and quickly found a cheep hotel.

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The next morning I went to the Iranian consulate and filled out my application. A French couple and some people from japan additionally had do give their fingerprints. The application was strait forward and after they checked the form I received a paper with a account number.  I now had to find a ATM to get € and go to the bank and pay 75€ into the account.

In the afternoon I went back to the consulate and received my visa.

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I only got 21 days, not the 30 days I requested. They did not give me any reason for that.

At 8pm I took the bus back to Tbilisi.

So with the bus and the hotel the visa was about 180$. And I got it in only a few hours.

I stayed in Tbilisi till the 15th to avoid entering Iran in the ramadan time.

Most of the day I relaxed, did some walking around town, surfed the internet and made some bike repairs.

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I also went to the Geothe institute to watch the final world cup game. And congratulations Germany is now World Champion !!

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I now will go on to Armenia and slowly to Iran.

 

 

Day 419-420 – 23.-24. June 2014

Day 419: After an excellent breakfast the owner of the guesthouse drove me 20km to the next town so I could get money from a ATM.

I really enjoyed my stay in this guesthouse, because it was like staying in a family home.

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The strong wind from the day before was gone and the terrain was downhill. It was a very nice ride through this mountainous area.

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After 30km I hit my 13.000km mark. I took the time to create a new picture.

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And her is a making of:

In the afternoon I came to a flat area and the wind picked up. But this time in my favor and I could go very fast.

I stopped to put some more air in the rear tire and two cyclist from Germany passed me.

Philip and his son Josh where almost finish with a 3 week tour through Georgia. Philip build two amazing bikes especially for this rough terrain.

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After they left I continued for another 30km and just as I approached todays 100km someone stopped and asked me in german where I am heading. He offered me his place to stay and we arranged a meeting point less than 5km ahead.

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Unfortunately he never showed up. I do not know what append but after I waited 45minutes it was getting late so I decided to get a quick bite to eat and pass throu the city of Gori. After a few km I found a place to camp. It was already passed sunset when everything was set up and I went to bed early.

 

Day 420: I had to go about 85 km to Tbilisi and besides one 200m climb the terrain was flat or downhill. So I reached the capital of Georgia at about 3pm. Through couchsurfing a german girl living in Tbilisi offered me a place to stay. As always I had to climb up a steep hill.

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I found Franziska´s apartment where she and Gabriel, another german roommate live.

After I got all my stuff into the my huge room we talked for quite some time. When we got hungry I took a fast shower and we went to the center square to get something to eat.

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Day 419: 115,56 km  all: 13.083 km

Day 420:  87,08 km  all: 13.170 km