Posts Tagged ‘Armenia’


Another pause – this time in Tehran. Time to make a new video. Hope you like it!!


We are in Iran! Yay!!! Today we cycled along the most amazing valley. Steep, barren mountains rising vertically upwards towards the heavens. Snow-capped mountains in the distance. And it is warmer. We have crossed into a new world.

The road to Jolfa

The road to Jolfa

The valley started like a deep chasm with cliff-faces rising up on both sides. Slowly, it opened out. Grassy plains, poppies swaying in the (head) wind, and massive peaks looming behind. We stopped often for photos, and rejoiced the warmer weather.

Steep chasms

Steep chasms

The road to Jolfa

The road to Jolfa

The road to Jolfa

The road to Jolfa

The road to Jolfa

The road to Jolfa

The road to Jolfa

The road to Jolfa


Proud. We are looking at the mountains of Iran, and we have cycled here over the Caucasus. Two years ago this was a dream. Now it is reality, and, cycling up a 12% slope in the snow and hail I laughed. I am here. Now.

Meghri pass

Meghri pass

Today was not a day of admiring the scenery. It was hidden behind the cloud. Today was a day to climb from 800m to 2535m and down the other side to 600m. And the climb was going to be steep. My music cocooned me in a sphere of self-contemplation. Music that has accompanied me while preparing this trip.
While cycling in the arctic in northern Sweden, I was listening to ‘Alive’ by Krewella, and a shiver ran down my spine. Here I am cycling to the North Cape in Norway, through the tundra, and I had got there by bike. This trip was amazing, and, my next trip is going to be even more amazing. I was going to cycle back home. I cried with joy. I had made up my mind.

The planning of the trip took two years, and a lot of music accompanied me. My three months for Philips in Boston was a time where the trip planning took concrete form. My playlist today was full of those numbers.
‘Under Control’ by Calvin Harris and ‘Shewolf’ by David Guetta remind me of the final phases of planning in Eindhoven. And, ‘Let’s Go’, by Calvin Harris is just raw energy. Man, I was happy, rounding every hairpin bend, passing piled up snow, watching the snow turn from being flaky to consisting of small pellet-like balls. And then I watched the hail. I was here, now, doing what I had chosen to do, and what I love to do.

Snow mound

Snow mound

Iran is in sight

Iran is in sight

Coming down, the hail and snow turned to rain, and then cleared. The last kilometres into Meghri had good visibility, and we saw some beautiful mountain landscape.

Iran in the distance

Iran in the distance

Meghri valley

Meghri valley

We even ran into a couple of Dutch touring cyclists – a rare sight in these parts.

Cycle tourists

Cycle tourists

Oh. I lost my voice today. I feel fine, but sound awful. I’m sure I’ll be fine tomorrow, when we enter Iran. We’re so excited!

 


After a one-day hibernation in Goris due to total lack of energy and a thumping headache, James and I cycled through the cloud to Kapan. We have heard the road is very beautiful. Well, we saw the road (and other objects) within a circumference of 20m of our humble selves before arriving damp and cold in Kapan.

Kilometres to Meghri and Yerevan

Kilometres to Meghri and Yerevan

Today was good. I felt strong after my bear-like long sleep from 8pm through to daylight, some forays out of the room during the day, and another long night’s sleep. Today there was no wind, which made the steep climb a breeze (hehe). We climbed over the Vorotan Pass – the name makes me think of Mordor from Lord of the Rings. We didn’t see any hint of Mordor, there were no orcs, and no black riders. We didn’t see a hint of anything at all.

In the valley we could see, so I took a photo of James cycling along.

James from above

James from above

Actually, we did see hints of some things. James and I felt at home – we were riding towards the Crazy Club.

The Crazy Club

The Crazy Club

And the Velcome Disco seemed very velcoming.

The Velcome Disco

The Velcome Disco

Arriving in Kapan we ran into another cyclist from Australia, cycling from India to Istanbul. He was bursting for an inner tube, and James could oblige. We will be meeting up with him shortly for a pre-Anzac day dinner.


I slept 11 hours and still felt tired and unmotivated. Am I developing a cold? Our destination today was strategically near, in a nice town, ready for the last two mountain slog days in Armenia. A battle through the roadworks and wind brought us to Goris where we went on a nice wander in the sun.

Goris

Goris

The road made its way up a mini-pass of 2200m (starting at 1800m) through a lot of roadworks. I realised I was not myself when I found myself getting very irritated at trucks booming their horns directly behind me, instructing me to move off in into the roadside sludge so they can pass. This is nothing new, but, it irritated me today.

The road to Goris

The road to Goris

The road to Goris

The road to Goris

I was so glad to roll down the hill into a beautiful valley, with the cute town of Goris nestled at the bottom. The sun came out, and James and I had a wander around, enjoying our half-day off.

The valley surrounding Goris

The valley surrounding Goris

Watching football

Watching football

Car

Car

Shop in Goris

Shop in Goris

Soviet ice cream

Soviet ice cream


With a 1300m climb on the agenda today, and rain forecast for mid-afternoon, James and I left in the (surprising) sun and (surprising) tailwind up a river gorge. The rain and cold hit at the pass, after which we cycled through the familiar high altitude lunar landscape to our warm and snug abode in Shaki.

Arctic Lake

Arctic Lake

Easy does it. The road climbs and climbs. The skies were grey and it was a bit hazy, not making for great photos. Still, it was a pleasant cycle.

Poppies

Poppies

Village shop

Village shop


Lake Sevan has an arctic feel. With the sun out, we had amazing views of the lake, the barren land, the snow-capped mountains and rusted paraphernalia. Today we had sun, gale-force wind (side and headwind), rain, snow, hail, thunder and lightening. And a 1300m drop into the most amazing valley. Cool!

Rusty train on Lake Sevan

Rusty train on Lake Sevan

The wind was ferocious – mostly a side-wind along the lake. It added to the arctic, deserted feel of the lake. We stopped numerous times for photos.

Lake Sevan

Lake Sevan

Lake Sevan

Lake Sevan

Lake Sevan

Lake Sevan

It was 15:45, and we wanted to get over the high pass and down the other side to the valley below. Well. The pass was a monster slog against the headwind, and through the snow. On the 2350m plateau at the top, it started to snow/hail/rain, the hail like bullets blown into our eyes. But my, it was beautiful!

Up out of Lake Sevan

Up out of Lake Sevan

The high pass plateau

The high pass plateau

Almost at the top of the pass

Almost at the top of the pass

The view over the valley from the top was nothing short of spectacular. It was a long, long way down.

View from the top of the pass

View from the top of the pass

And we rocketed down. We needed to find somewhere to stay. Camping was not too appealing with this weather, and the next town of any size was 25km down the valley. We are now snug as a bug in a rug (well, two bugs in rugs) in a little hotel on the corner of two roads.