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

Day 416-418 – 20.-22. June 2014

Day 416: After leaving Kars it was not a steep but steady climb from 1750m to 2250m.

At noon I met a cyclist from Sweden going to Iran an Thailand. He is with three other Swedish friends and after a few minutes 2 of them joined us.

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They where going to Doḡubayazi to wait for their Iran Visa. The last of them where cycling together with a german some hours behind them.

After the pass I met them and we talked for almost one hour. They tried my bike and where amazed about the riding characteristics.

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After we separated I went on for another two hours. After a short rain shower the weather was good again and I found a place to camp at a field close to the road.

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I had a fantastic sunset and the owner came and asked if I needed some kind of help.

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Day 417: At 9am I was on the road again and first I had to climb 200m. But that was just a taste of the big climb later that day.

Before reaching Georgia I had one last mountain to overcome. 500m climb, most of it between 7-10% steep.

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It took me three hours to reach the top of 2550m.

The decent of 1100m was amazing.

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From the town of Posof it was another 15km to the border. I finally reached the Turkish-Georgian border and I had no problem entering Georgia.

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You only get a stamp and you can stay 360 days in Georgia. That is probably the most liberal entry procedure I know. Unfortunately in September the Government will change it to harmonize it to European Union procedures.

Just behind the border I stopped at a filling station to get something to drink.

I only went another two km and found a spot to camp.

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After my tent was set up and I was ready to cook dinner, two military or policeman came and told me the place is not safe, because there are bears and wolfs in this area. They asked me to go back to the filling station for the night. I packed everything in 30min and cycled back to the fuel station. It was only 2 km but its was a steep climb it it was already dark. When I arrived I was very exhausted.

One of the road construction workers spoke english and I explained the situation to him. He said they also have a problem with snakes in this area and when I came up the hill a snake crossed the street.

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Anybody knows if this is a poisonous snake?

The personal from the station told me I cold put my tent right in from of the shop.

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So I did. The road workers had a brake and everybody watched me setting up my camp. Someone gave me a big glass of vodka and afterwords everything was easy.

Day 418: I did not sleep very good, because the road construction went on till after 2am and early in the morning cars and trucks passed close by.

The area was very beautiful and I was glad that it was mostly downhill. Only the wind was strong and exactly from the front. I was very tired and had to take a long brake. But it did not help. When I saw a sign for a guesthouse I decided to stop.

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It was a very nice guesthouse. The room was big and clean and I had a enormous and tasty dinner with self made wine and bread.

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The family operating the house was very nice and encroached me to eat the cherries and other fruits of their garden. Later that evening they made their own bread in a traditional oven.

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It was so nice to relax and walk around the garden and the village.

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If you ever come in this area I can really recommend this guesthouse.

 

Day 416: 87,77 km  all: 12.853 km

Day 417: 74,27 km  all: 12.928 km

Day 418: 39,56 km  all:12.967 km