Several night wees due to sleeping right next to a snow melt stream. Bit of a late start. Eat last nights leftovers.
At My first cay stop I sit and watch a man hand crafting a fishing net - its an amazing skill and one I'd love to learn.
Enjoy riding again today - perhaps thanks to no notable wind in either direction. The mountains that yesterday threaten to close up (forcing me to ride over them) open out once more. Beautiful and vast snowy mountains either side of the road - I wish I could take a picture worthy of their grandeur.
Rifle shots crackle around me most of the day - land of the hunters it seems. Its also shepherd country and with it the big dogs reappear. My tolerance for them is growing daily - though still a little intolerant of bad owners who wont train or chain them.
I lunch in the carpark of a service station. As I pack up Orhan (the restaurant owner) calls me inside. I am treated to a free feed lots of cay and some fun chatter. I leave under heavy snow - the first of the trip.
Further on, in Tercan I'm called over by a group of lads (about my age). Odd how I'd feel suspicious about this back home, but have come to consider it the norm here. I park the bike up and as a crowd gathers I'm dragged to the nearest cay shack. The explain to me it's drank in a different way here (in the East). It's something like an alcohol free Tequila Slammer. One squeeze the lemon into the cay, places sugar cube between teeth and then sip the drink through the sugar. Its nice – but I feel my teeth crumbling with each glass. Short and sweet, they go back to hanging round outside, I go back to the road.
I begin the big climb up to Erzurum but set camp early in the soft evening light. Big day tomorrow.