Short ride from Sanliurfa to Mardin with temperatures hovering around the 44c mark hahaha, road works and traffic through the towns meant slow going. I stopped to fill up along the way and could not leave until I had answered a million questions using Google Translate and had a cup of tea inside with the guys. There is a significant military presence in this area with checkpoints entering and leaving towns and armoured cars stationed at various points inside the towns as well.
Filling up in Turkey is different to anywhere else I have been. All service stations are attended, you cannot fill up yourself. First the attendant notes your Plate number and enters it into a terminal at the pump, next he fills up the vehicle, next he prints off a receipt and hands it to you and you take it to the counter and pay with card or cash and get two receipts which you take back to the attendant and give him one receipt and you get to keep the other cash receipt and the petrol receipt hahaha. This is big brother at work, every time I fill up my location is recorded.
Mardin – an ancient city perched on a hillside with a commanding view of the plains. I came here to visit friends who were the perfect hosts and took me sightseeing over the weekend I spent there.
Deyrul Zafaran Monastery or Mor Hananyo Monastery
From the monastery we drove to the Syrian border, both sides of the border are inhabited by Kurds so its quite safe except when its not hahaha, there was conflict here a few years ago.
Next we drove to Midyat stopping along the way at a river picnic spot, very nice. After that we went to a pizzeria in the bush run by a group of Assyrians who have created their own little township here called Elbegendi. On the return journey we had to go through a checkpoint and I was asked a few questions about where I had been in Turkey etc, usually the police do not speak English.
Dara – an ancient city of Mesopotamia.
Diyarbakir – A stop at a viewpoint on the way to Diyarbakir saw us witness a couple of weddings, here for their photographs.
Absolutely fascinating! Bravo, Chris, ride on! Thanks for allowing us all to travel vicariously. We miss you, and hope your travels will bring you our way soon.