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Saturday, October 15, 2011 | Across Turkey

A quiet night in Altintas. No rain and no street noise. The only disturbance is the muezzin calling the faithful to morning prayer at 5.00am. I wake up briefly then go back to sleep until 6. The distances between calls are now noticeably longer and I have to leave in the dark to make sure I arrive on time wherever I am heading.

The landscape is still very mountainous but the roads are in excellent condition. They have obviously done a lot of work here over the past few years. The tarmac looks newly laid and I drive past a lot of roadworks. Fortunately, there are no hold-ups because there is little traffic and the highway is broad. It’s light now and the sun is shining in a cloudless sky. In the middle of nowhere I stop briefly to stretch my legs. A local suddenly appears in the distance and comes over to admire the Editourmobil. He seems visibly intrigued by it all and I decide that the occasion is worth a photo. But we have to get on, and for the next few hours the vehicle makes its way through the ravishing mountain landscape. It was not until later in the day that I reached the edge of the Black Sea, which I will now be following for the next 700km or so until I reach my next objective, the border with Georgia. But that is still another 300km away and I need to find a place to stop for the night. I pull into a service station overlooking the sea. To my delight and relief there is a 24 hour restaurant on-site, and it is not long before I am tucking into one of the local delicacies, namely a kebab. During and after the meal the Editourmobil becomes the focus of attention amongst the restaurant employees and customers. I get good vibes from the place.