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The 16 Erzurum days
Monday, 11 September 2006
We got our Iranian tourist Visa on the 15th day after we applied for the Visa at the Iranian consulate in Erzurum. It was quite a wait but it was not in vain. We got 3 months to get ourselves into Iran and 30 days excluding a possible extension to travel around.

In the meanwhile we’ve roamed Erzurum for a bit and it’s surroundings. There’s some info further down for anyone who’s also planning to try and get the visa in Erzurum.

Looking back the Erzurum days been a nice time – mainly because we’ve found a few nice places to stay and got some rest after the drive through Turkey.

The first thing we did in Erzurum was going to the tourist information office to find a place to park our truck. There are no real campsite anywhere in or near Erzurum in September 2006. We got a map of Erzurum with two options; park behind the tourist information office or head to a petrol station with picknik garden 17 Km’s towards Dogubayazit.

We found the petrol station and decided to go for the tourist office parking anyway. The site is quite busy and it’s not possible to stay inside the garden with our truck. Next it’s too far from Erzurum. So we parked behind the tourist office, topped up our water tanks and stayed 3 days upto Monday to submit the Iranian visa application. It’s a good spot for eating out, going to the centre, internet and take Indra out to a field further back.

The visa application went pretty straight. More info about this below. Because we got no further reason to stay in Erzurum we planned for a stay up North.

After refilling our supplies at the big Migros supermarket near the trainstation, we headed for Yusufeli – a 150 Km ride through very nice mountain scenery!
Yusufeli however was to small for our truck to get to the only campsite there. It’s ok for smaller campers though. The Tortum lake was our 2nd option and parked next to a fish restaurant on a small island. Although it’s said to be free to park – it’s of course expected to eat some there. We stayed for a nice 3 days before heading back for Erzurum again. We ate no fish but we paid some for the nice spot.

Parked behind the tourist information office we spend a few days using the Internet connection of Metro Internet Café on the road upto the consulate. A good ADSL connection even for Skype telephone calls including tea! There are more terminals upstairs for more quiet internet time.

Just to find a different spot to park our truck in Erzurum we tried our options at the airport because we knew it has a TTwinet WIFI hotspot. Just 2 km’s before the airport we found a Gulf petrol station / picknik garden / Camping / Hotel. After checking out the WIFI hotspot, which was OK - even for Skype, we parked at the small parking inside the picknik garden behind the Gulf petrol station.

Özmar campsite is a pretty nice place to stay. It’s quiet at nights but can get busy in the weekends. They have water, electricity and some supplies at the petrol station.
In fact to us it was the best place – also because of the TTwinet WIFI hotspot at the airport. The café overlooking the runway is expensive though!

On the 10th day we checked our visa application and got told to make a € 50,- / person deposit at the Oyak bank on Monday. With the deposit receipt we got our Visa on Tuesday which was the 15th day.

Refilling our supplies again at the Migros supermarket and checking out the Erzurum Bazaar we headed for Dogubayazit.

Oh yes, Cashing traveller cheques in Erzurum is costly. Expect at least 10 % commission for cashing into Euro’s or Dollars. Changing into YTL’s can be commission free at the AK bank but don’t rely on it. Shop around for a few. There are many banks and at least two AK bank offices. The one near the Bazaar doesn’t change traveller cheques at all.

Iranian Visa Info: Click here.

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