The Turkey Georgia bicycle route and what I experienced on this route, which proved that my luck was as much as my indecision, remained in my memory as I laughed when I should have actually thought about it. Welcome all of you to my Turkey Georgia bicycle route story that I knew beautiful people from each other until I arrived at the Georgia border crossing from Kars, and that I went from Georgia, where I probably stayed for a month, and that I went back to Kars on the same evening.
Turkey Georgia Bicycle Route and Various Adventures
After completing my journey on the Eastern Express in 26 hours by bicycle, which started following the Bilecik Ankara bicycle route, the excitement I experienced when I landed in Kars cannot be explained. Because Kars was actually the beginning of the part of this road that opened up to abroad. The evening I arrived in Kars, I went to the House of Oguz and Oguzhan, who agreed to welcome us. During my time in Kars, I had a very good time with friends I had just met.
Kars’s weather is obvious. And when questions like Where to go to this cold, which way to choose, whether to take the bus or how to find the bus were added, I stayed here so long that one evening when I started going to the internet cafe to play lol and counter, I realized that it was time to decry this situation. Kars is a small place. At the end of 1 Week, you learn enough to not disappear from the city and take care of your affairs. Actually, there are not many places to visit, especially in winter. Because the air is very cold. Maybe it seems to me that I’m not used to this cold until now, but I guess I’m not exaggerating. Because it’s so cold, when it snows, it freezes directly and remains ice for weeks. Now guess the rest.
Places To Visit In Kars
If I said there’s no place to go, not so much. Because the center of the city is small, there is little inside the city except for old houses and buildings that preserve its enormous architecture. But let me remind you immediately that outside the city there are redoubt famous for their dark tunnels, which are said to extend from Kars to Russia, and Ani Harabeleri (Ani) with beautiful old structures from each other. Kars Kalesi (Kars Castle), which attracts the most attention in the city, is the only place I see because of the weather conditions.
It is not lie if I said the castle was too close to the city, or even inside the city. To get to the castle, you need to climb a path of about 10-15 minutes. And when you go up, you can watch the entire city from one point. It goes without saying that the castle is beautiful, but the bad thing is that no care has been shown. Not only the castle, but you can see that some buildings with descriptions written on the signs in front of them are almost about to collapse, as they are supposed to be historical monuments on the road leading to the castle. The huge gate of the castle, which you can’t take your eyes off at under normal circumstances, is full of thick pencils and love letters written with a technique I call scraping.
In addition, let’s add the campus of the Conservatory Department of Kafkas University, which is decidedly my favorite, to the list. This is to the left of the road to Kars Castle. You can easily find it when you follow the creek. I’m sure you’ll recognize it when you see a structure at the foot of the mountain, with a stream flowing next to it, not missing the green from its garden.
Click here to read detailed Kars Travel Guide.
How Did I Get From Karts To Georgia by Bicycle
During my stay in Kars, I thought about different alternative routes. Actually, there were two options in my plan. Either I was going to go from Kars to Igdir or to Agri. After talking to my friends who had done that route before and people who knew the road around, I gave up our plan to go by cycling because of what was said. And when the bus was included in my plans, things changed a little. It was shorter to go to Dogubeyazit via Igdir, but since the buses to Igdir were small, there was no way I could fit. Ağrı road was further away, but big buses were going. After long road plans, I decided to enter Georgia, both because I was afraid of the stories I heard, and because I thought I could take my chances while I was here. I planned to cross from Georgia to Armenia. In fact, my heart also wanted to stop in Azerbaijan, but I had to skip it this time because they wanted a visa during land crossings.
Turkey Georgia Bicycle Route
14 November 2016- From Kars to Arpacay
I made our way to Cildir lake by saying goodbye to Kars. After pedaling 37 kilometers, I set up my tent at a gas station in Arpacay. The weather wasn’t very cold, but it was extremely important for me to find the place where I was going to stay until 5 a.m., as the weather began to cool significantly after sunset. The roads were good, but there were a lot of dogs in these areas where livestock was intense. Fortunately, I have not had a bad moment with these friends, who are more aggressive than I have ever seen and have vowed to protect the area in which they are located, but it is worth paying attention. Because when about 5-6 dogs started running towards me when I was passing through a place, I am not very sure if I would have said the same thing if a small van hadn’t noticed the situation and helped me by coming between me and the dogs.
15 November 2016- Arpacay Cildir Lake
In the morning, I set off from Arpacay and drove along Lake Cildir to Atalay’s place at the forty-fifth kilometer. This is a beautiful fish restaurant at about 2050 meters, which admires me with its view by the lake, providing electricity with wind and solar energy. Because I’m a vegetarian, they made me a table that I called “everything but fish.” And when I asked if I could spend the night here, both big brother Atalay and other friends who worked take me under their wings. I fed and set up my tent. All evening, I warmed up at the head of the stove and had a long conversation thanks to the beautiful conversation of big brother Atalay and big brother Hafiz . And at night, I looked, as it got colder, I took my sleeping bags and mats and curled up next to the stove. And in the morning, I had breakfast with big brother Hafiz and left.
16 November 2016- Aktas Border
After Cildir, I had another 25 kilometers to the border. It seems to be very gratifying news, but I realized that the first 10 meters were a amply dimensioned climb that day. Here I have reached our highest altitude ever. 2159 meters! The rest of the road is fortunately a landing. After landing, you encounter the last village before coming to the border, Kenarbel. There is a small grocery store in the village here, and unfortunately it is also the last place you can shop. There’s nowhere else to shop, including the border crossing. Even so, because the door is new, even officers working at the border get their needs from a mobile grocery store that comes once a week. So there are only people here who are crossing and officers on duty. Of course, if there is any innovation after I pass through here, it is separate.
By the time I got to the border crossing, the weather was getting dark and cold. I didn’t mind darkening because I was told there were places to stay here in Kenarbel. But after I operated and passed my passport through the Turkish gate, I realized that this was not the case at all. There was no place to stay here, and there wasn’t even a place to sit properly. One of the officer friends said there was a masjid inside the building and I could stay there for the night. Taking advantage of the lack of people, I locked my bike in the cleaning room next to the Masjid and slept well in the warm Masjid.
17 November 2016- Crossing Georgıa, Ahilkelek
When I woke up in the morning, everywhere was white! It snowed up to wrist level, if not too much. I was trying to decide what to do because they said the road on the Georgia side was so bad. Fortunately, when I was going to cross the Turkish border, the officer on duty spoke to big brother Ihsan, who passed by bus thanks to a friend, and agreed to take me with him. Big brother Ihsan was going to wait for me on the Georgian side. It was a while before I got the bike ready and arrived. I was worried if he was gone or something.
As I stamped my passport across the Turkish border, I looked away, and he was waiting for me. When I checked in the Georgia section, I saw that big brother Ihsan was gone. I said what to do, and I operated our passports. After I crossed the border and went 500 meters, I was glad as children when I saw Ihsan’s brother waiting for me at the gas station.
Aktas Border Gate
At the Aktas border crossing, Turkish citizens can enter Georgia with their identity by filling out a simple form the size of an envelope. It is very important that they do not take this card away from them during their time in Georgia. It is also possible to pass by passport. I chose to pass with my passport instead of passing in this way.
By the way, I’ve heard from people that Georgia is very sensitive about drugs. They don’t take any drugs without a prescription. I don’t know how true it is, but a lot has been told, from the story of people in prison for a crappy baby aspirin. I also had almost all of the over-the-counter medications I took, just in case I was going to go a long way, even though I don’t normally use them. Officials on the Turkish side said that Georgia has a list of drugs, and does not introduce drugs other than that list without a prescription. But I didn’t want to deal with it, and I threw my medications in the trash when I entered Georgia, thinking that maybe they would cause trouble for no reason.
On the Georgia side, after operating our passports in the transit section with vehicles, they called us to the side to put our belongings in the X-ray. 3-5 officers were smoking at the time. They had a little chat with the officer who called us in and told us we could turn around and pass. So we crossed the border without being searched.
Ahilkelek Village, Georgia
Big brother Ihsan and his friends big brother Muza and Yavuz, who were service drivers like him, went together to Ahilkelek, the first district after the border with Georgia. After wandering around here for a few hours and getting myself a phone line with the help of Yavuz’s brother, who knows Georgian, for a possible 2-3 weeks to spend in Georgia, I started looking for a hotel where I could spend the night to drive to Tbilisi the next day.
At that time, when I was chatting with big brother Ihsan, I actually said that I wanted to go to Iran, but because I was afraid of what was said, I would go through Georgia. At that time, big brother Ihsan made two suggestions. He said that when there were passengers, he was serving between Kars and Tbilisi and that he would probably go to Tbilisi for up to 2-3 days, because the car was empty, he could take me. Another proposal was to arrange a place for us when the company he worked for made a trip between Tbilisi and Iran. Either way, big brother Ihsan and I were going to return to Kars in the evening. We sat down to think, and somewhere we all ate together.
By the way, when I told me why I entered Georgia by abandoning the original plan, as people who went down that path almost every day, they said that the Dogubeyazit Road was not as terrible as we were told. And so I went back to Kars. After a day or two in Kars, I decided to hitchhike to Doğubeyazıt. Read more of our journey to Iran here.
Let’s talk about the Cildir Lake. The lake freezes in the cold, which reaches about -40 in winter. As well as fishing in the frozen lake, there is a very colorful festival. Traveling on ice in horse-drawn carriages was also an activity that attracted a lot of attention from local and foreign tourists. In addition, it is also rumored that locals perform acrobatic movements on the ice with their cars.
Be sure to stop by Atalay’s place to see all this alive. For those wondering about the Cildir Lake, we also have a gold-worth of advice. You can access the amazing landscape photos taken by big brother Hafiz, who is waiting here at night, on the @ozdemirhafiz instagram account. If you look at the account, you won’t regret it. You can see the four seasons view of Çıldır Lake, sunrise, sunset, migratory birds and many more through the lens of big brother Hafiz.
However, crazy Lake is quite suitable for camping around it, both in terms of geography and, as we are told, in terms of the reliability of the people around it. But if you want to camp here in winter, it is very important that you bring appropriate equipment to it, taking into account the cold in which the lake in question freezes. At the same time, camping in the middle of summer may not be very smartly, as it is unlikely to find trees by the lake. And if you want to camp here, full equipment is also very important to come. Because if you don’t have a car, it can be difficult to find a place nearby where you can shop and find water. Click for Tabriz article, which is a continuation of the article.
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