1. Part Germany to Armenia
Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey, Georgia and Armenia
The tapir Volvo is greeted favorably by all with waving and smiling eyes and everyone rejoices.
In Bulgaria, we have built our 1. two-legged camel hit, a choleric neighbor of the hotel, who partout did not want the Volvo parked at the hotel, because so much has already happened. This made even the tapir Volvo boil and it stopped in its parking space.
And today came the trip to Istanbul.
After the excitement, however, we found a nice outdoor place to relax in Plovdiv, the second oldest city in Bulgaria, where after 20 minutes a youth orchestra appeared, playing super with dance interludes and the excitement was forgotten.
Over the border we have pushed our Tapir Volvo, because he does not like the heat..
After the border we were stopped by the police, but they only wanted to tell us how great they think our car is.
Istanbul is huge, ca. 20 Mil. Inhabitants, a bigger skyline than New York. Great to see it from the car. But in the end the navi doesn't find our hotel, the one-way streets disturb us. I call the hotel and Mustafa picks us up by pedes. Faster one does not drive anyway. He tells everyone on the way that we are staying with him and everyone is happy about the vehicle, what year, what model, what are you doing here. We experience so much sympathy, that is just fun.
Now we relax, Europe is now soon behind us and Asia begins, let's see how the tapir Volvo continues to purr so beautiful.
Now we are in Goreme and the landscape is really dreamlike. Caves and fairy towers everywhere, created by a volcanic eruption and the erosions of the millennia. In former times they offered protection to the people and today they are only partly a storage place for fruits etc. Of course it is now a tourist attraction. At the moment there are a lot of Chinese people. Today we looked at the many cave churches and walked through the cave landscapes, just as we imagined it, just fantastic.
Now is our last day in Cappadocia, sadly we take almost goodbye, because this landscape is indescribably beautiful. Our accommodation Kemal's Guest House was great, the garden inviting and calming. Hakan gave us a warm welcome and took good care of us with his smile. Kemal the owner is very nice and everything has been relaxed uncomplicated. Our Volvo P145 could park right in front of the entrance, so perfect. Thank you
But the highlight was the contact through Harry with indescribably dear people, a lodge brother and his family. It was as if we had come home. This is hospitality in action. Yesterday evening we were allowed to participate in a traditional festival, which took place in the middle of nature. Next door was an old monastery carved into the rock centuries ago. So once again a great location and a wonderful festival with Turkish music, dancing, food and drink until the wee hours of the morning. We were always in the middle of it, danced and laughed with almost everyone and are extremely happy to have experienced this. We felt among friends. Even if you don't speak the same language, an open heart, a smile and friendly gestures are understood by everyone. We hope to see you all again, the invitation to come to Germany is definite!
But now it is called breakfast,
, Packing suitcases and off to Kayseri, tonight we spend the night with Erdal, no not the frog …, we will report.
Since we were still very tired from the last short night, we just enjoyed the beautiful view of the 3916 m high volcanic mountain named Erciyes Dagi after a great Turkish dinner from Hathice. We were simply too tired for a city tour. Our next days were discussed and in the morning we started again.
Many thanks again to Erdal and Hathice for your great hospitality.
We are now almost at the Georgian border and on Erdal's recommendation we drove along the coastal road at the black sea. We were able to visit Samsun, where Kemal Ataturk landed in 1919, we still have to research the exact procedure.
Now the brake booster makes problems and we had already tried to replace it ourselves. But we broke off the action because brake fluid leaked and this action was too tricky for us in front of the hotel in Samsun and drove on to the Hotel Babillon in Rize, directly on the black sea. Rami, who we met tonight, even watched dolphins yesterday. So tomorrow we will bring the Tapir Volvo to the workshop and hope that the repair will work and that we will also discover dolphins.
Super mechanic found in Of in Turkey!
So, with the Tapir Volvo we were in a great workshop and everything worked as we had wished. One of the hotel managers drove with us to the workshop and it was really great to see how the garages work here. In the industrial area there are always several workshops next to each other and all work apparently in the team. One of them takes care of the mechanics, the others of the electrics, at this one we weld, next door we paint. In any case, we were led to the right workshop. The master has recognized the problem immediately and the spare parts bought by Bodo still shortly before our departure sovereign exchanged, and/or. made the master brake cylinder common again. Now the Tapir Volvo brakes again super and soft and we can go on tomorrow. The repair took just under 2 1/2 hrs and was super cheap compared to DE. That we have seen today no dolphins is therefore not bad at all?.
Off to Georgia!
Oh, finally, 1hour after me the Tapir Volvo rolled over the Georgian border. So I had time to have a look at the Georgian road traffic. As a pedestrian you don't have much chance and have to be very fast and agile.
The dents on the cars speak for themselves. We also have to buy an extra car insurance for ca. 30,-€ lock and I hope not to have to turn it on.
Could exchange the remaining Turkish Lira and Euro against Lari.
We stayed in a small family pension behind Batumi and had a nice dinner down in the village. Finally today is our 33. Wedding day. Tomorrow we report more..
Yes, Georgia actually we wanted to look at the botanical garden of Batumi, but it always comes differently than one thinks! Already during the crossing from Turkey to Georgia we heard a noise at the Tapir Volvo, which we did not like. When we were about to get into the car today, Bodo checked the rear tire and discovered oil in the brakes. While wiggling the car up and down, Bodo was able to identify the noise and a visit to the workshop was preferred to the botanical garden. The husband of our landlady speaks English and knows a good garage, the perfect combination for us and so we make an appointment in Batumi at the cable car station at 13:00.
We are waiting punctually, of course in a no-parking zone, whereupon the police is called immediately. She speaks by phone with our landlord, because they don't understand English and we are allowed to wait until they pick us up. Then a car comes, stops and the passenger says "Follow me" and we follow. So we drive across Batumi, make practically a city tour and end up again in a "community workshop". Usha, the mechanic immediately recognizes the problem and we are also the next customer after he is done with his overhollowing of the ball end of a tie rod. The garages in Germany would have just replaced this part with a new one, but not him, he tells us.
Quickly the tire is off the right rear of the Volvo, the individual parts are disassembled and everything is carefully inspected. A spare part has to be found, but first all mechanics have lunch together, to which we are cordially invited. Then Usha goes to get the spare part and we sit down with another mechanic on the street in a "cafe". So we enjoy the general hustle and bustle of the outskirts of Batumi, until suddenly it is said, everything is ok again?, the Volvo is ready. We pay and are grateful that there are also in Georgia super mechanics.
And we relaxed in a very nice restaurant with a view of Batumi and delicious Georgian dishes to end the evening. the restaurant is called Goldfish and is opposite the Art House.
Borjomi, the place in Georgia with the clean air and healthy water. This place reminds us a lot of the Harz mountains. There one asks oneself actually why one drives so far. And the air is actually not clear either, because everyone goes there in cars and they don't have a catalytic converter. Well, we also took the cable car to the top of the mountain, filled up with 2 liters of good water for the trip, had our Volvo washed and spent the night in a pleasant hotel. A really nice stopover.
Today we arrived in Tbilisi and found the hotel city again only with a cab driver, who led us the last part through very narrow gravel roads. The navi was once again overwhelmed with the narrow streets and the many one-way streets.
We like Tbilisi very much. We have already explored a part of the city this afternoon on foot and you can find your way quickly. One guesses how beautiful the houses were once. The heart bleeds when you see how the beautiful houses decayed. But there are also bright spots and some houses are being renovated.
Today have seen the first caravanserai, where in the past the pack animals and the goods were safely housed on the journey. Now we are actually getting closer to the Silk Road. ?
We had already in the hotel on the roof terrace nice conversations with an investor and his wife from Saudi Arabia and a lady from Australia and it is fun to hear the different views of the country. We are looking forward to the next days here. The hotel is central, the room quiet and comfortable. The Tapir Volvo is right in front of the hotel and the Tapir has a new piece of jewelry from Georgia and is also satisfied. So it can go on…
And Bodo has his 1. get ticket from the police. You have to stop at the railroad crossing right at the stop sign and not before the crossing. At least when the police is right behind the level crossing. The ticket costs 50 Lari? Ca 15,- € and we can deposit the money in any bank.☹️??♂️
So, the ticket is paid and we are now in Armenia .
Here you can actually cross a border! The roads have deep potholes and I strongly doubted whether we are really driving on the federal highway. Partly thick boulders block the way. Bodo and also all others drive zigzag. But we are right, find the way to the monastery Haghpat and land after some serpentines at the hotel. A super view rewards the drive.
We drink something and then go up to the monastery. A bus with Belgian tourists stops and the guide, Marianna, invites us to go with her, that's just the way it is in Armenia?
Hello After a relaxing night we continued on roads with deep potholes. Bodo had to concentrate hard to drive around them, especially since the locals were overtaking from behind, sometimes at high speed. Construction workers try to repair the road, but it takes time. Boulders keep rolling onto the road and sometimes block half the road. For 20 km we need approx. 1hour. Then the road gets a bit better and we have hope. Our set goal is Lake Sevan, a high mountain lake, which is fed by all the high mountains, some of which are over 3000 m high. Our route is ca. 120 km. We will probably need 6 hours for the route? No, after some ascents of up to 12%, which our Tapir Volvo masters with bravura and beautiful changing landscapes, a mixture of Austria, Switzerland and the Faroe Islands, we reach our destination after 3 hours of driving. Lake Sevan, twice as big as Lake Constance is in front of us. Kolle told us that you can see there now well the crabs ? can eat and that is our wish. We drive to a small peninsula, on whose mountain a monastery stands and I have chosen a restaurant, which also actually corresponds to our ideas.
And indeed from Lake Sevan there is a real highway, four lanes and we reach Yerevan after 1 hour. There, however, we have to ask a cab again to take us to the hotel shortly before we reach our destination. But we know that already?.
Behind a gate Lucy is already waiting for us, whom I had already called twice together with the cab driver. The name of the hotel is not yet appropriate, the hotel is brand new. We can park the Volvo well. She opens the elevator and I don't know if I should get in there. It is small, the heights are not right and everything looks still very provisional. But Lucy goes along. But the room is ok and quiet and we check in.
When I want to get something from the car later, I find the painted button of the elevator and press it bravely. The elevator comes, the door opens and I get in. Press the button to the first floor. This is the 1(0), the door closes, the light goes out and I think Sh…a strange feeling so in the dark. I knock several times on the door, the elevator feels like it's moving down a floor, then the light comes back on, it jerks and a construction worker opens the door, looks at me and tries to explain that I have to push the button with the number 9 (?) must press to get to the exit. That works then also. The comment of Bodo: "I walked the stairs, I'm not crazy"
A fresh breeze blows through Yerevan and the city has many trees. We find this very pleasant.
We are right in the center and can explore everything on foot, z. B. the Freedom Square and the Republic Square.
We drift, find a very good place, the Charentsie 28. It is located outside the center, but still easy to reach on foot. Afterwards we want to have a look at the water games at the Republic Square, a tip from Christa, who was also recently in Armenia.
But the hotel has even more choice and we get a quiet room in a small house right next door.
This is great, because we wanted to spend another day in Yerevan in any case. So we explored the city again on foot and discovered very much. Of course the cascades with the most different art objects. Upstairs next to the museum for Charles Aznavour, which was newly built and was supposed to open in 2017 but is still closed, we refreshed ourselves on a terrace, with a view of Mount Ararat.
Of course, we were also in the vernissage, although there are hardly any artists exhibit your works. There are some painters, but the pictures are very questionable. There are however some silversmiths who offer your jewelry. Otherwise a lot of tourist bells and whistles. We bought a painting from an artist with fine stroke. A nice memory of Armenia and not cheesy.
We had tried to call Marianna, who had taken us with her travel group on the way to Haghbat, to ask her if she would show us the city. Unfortunately, she called us back late in the afternoon when she returned from her tour, and by then it was too late. But she gave us a lot of tips, a restaurant for the evening as well as the most important destinations that we should definitely see on the tour. Thank you dear Marianna for that?
And these tips we have also then implemented the next day.
1. Khor Virap, the monastery directly on the border to Turkey with a view of Mount Ararat
2. Areni, here was discovered in the bird cave the oldest wine press of mankind from the 4. Jt. before Christ as well as an old leather shoe, which they probably did not estimate so old at first, but which is older than the finds of otzi, namely 5500 years old. But you can not visit this cave, you can only look into it. We spared ourselves that and went straight on to the church in Norovank, which is indeed mystical. Built in the9. Jh. A master builder was also Momik, a famous stonemason and painter of that time.
And then the beautiful landscapes, sometimes only bare mountain ranges, then again green landscapes with vineyards or lush mountain meadows. Armenia is wonderful…
And 3. Sisian, here we actually stay as Marianna has already warned us, in a Russian block. But the people are super friendly, we got a good room and got a good dinner. Tomorrow we will do a guided tour to the rock paintings of Ughtasar. This should also be a very special magical place. Tomorrow morning at 9:00 o'clock it goes off on over 3000 m, we are already strained.
Hasmik (Jasmin) manages the hotel and will guide us through the volcanic landscape today. Your son accompanies us. We were already worried about the weather, but we leave on time.
Sisian is at an altitude of about 1700 m and we are going to a volcano that is 3300 m high.
The landscapes are simply gigantic and the driver as well as the vehicle master everything with bravura.
We drive through beautiful flower meadows, then see the first hardened lava flows, walk with Hasmik through the beautiful nature, talk until the car collects us again. Then we come to the first petroglyphs that shepherds first discovered. These old drawings were studied in cooperation with the University in Halle. More than 7500 drawings have been registered and explored. They are probably all made by people who lived in the region. There are hunting scenes, animals such as the ibex, the big cats, the beasts of burden and often men and women. Again and again we discover new drawings on the stones.
And then we continue to the first volcano crater. Water has collected in it.
Then comes a volcano, from which the magma slowly flowed out, ca. 150 m per day. The magma cooled down and closed the crater. Now we see excellently the cooled stone river.
But it's still steep uphill, because we will also have a look at the volcano at 3300 m and have a picnic. The car stays on top and we walk to the crater lake. A glacier surrounds part of the lake. A really fantastic landscape. Especially since bears, snow leopards and of course the ibexes are still running around freely here. Unfortunately we did not discover any.
Thank you for this nice tour.