Mount Ararat is a volcano in eastern Anatolia near Armenia and Iran. With its 5,165 meters, it is the highest mountain in Turkey and one of the few free-standing five-thousand-meter peaks in the world. According to the Bible, Noah landed there with his ark.More
Berlin - Istanbul - Van
After last year the summit addiction had taken possession of us, we wanted to tackle Mount Ararat in eastern Anatolia. The altitude data are contradictory, sometimes 5165 m, somewhere else 5137 m are given: No matter, let's discover something new 🙂. The outward journey is always annoying. Since we were traveling in a larger group this time, we took hotel in Berlin a day early to meet the first fellow adventurers. The flight left early and so we landed more than 2 hours later in the huge Istanbul airport. Here we were complete as a travel group. How big Turkey is, we realized when we flew a little later almost as long again to the east of the country, to Van. Hectic, loud and damn hot, these were our first impressions.
Our guide Firat welcomed us here, a young, funny and very eager Kurd. In the hotel we got first impressions that the clocks in Eastern Anatolia ticked a little differently. Some didn't have a shower, others had used laundry from the last guest in the room. And there was no beer at all in the hotel, a Muslim country, my neck hairs stood up. But all were very eager and we anyway flexible. Therefore, Firat led us after the longed-for meal a few kilometers further into one of the rare bars where alcohol was sold. Good mood came up. The host tried to cheat us at the end, so that we bought beer in the supermarket the following evening and drank it in the room. But the good mood should accompany us the whole trip. Before climbing Ararat, we planned to get to know Eastern Anatolia.
After the somewhat meager breakfast, we drove to the huge Lake Van and there we crossed over to the small island of Akdamar. Here is a small Armenian church, which is an important place of pilgrimage for Armenians. The relationship Turkey - Armenia is a difficult story of its own. Anyway, we enjoyed the boat ride, the view of the lake, went swimming and sat for a long time in the cafe, in the shade of the trees. I wondered while bathing that my hands and feet felt so streaky, later I learned that Lake Van is a soda lake. The largest soda lake on earth, by the way. It is highly alkaline, so has very high pH levels. Burned for a while in various places, but nothing that knocks you out 🙂.
On the boat trip to the island and back we had a lot of fun, Firat and 2 Puerto Rican girls made the mood with Turkish music and dance interludes. After a fine lunch and the first beers of the day, we drove to Van Castle. A mighty site, built about 900 BC. The settlement history here goes back several millennia further. Very well preserved cuneiform tablets can be found in a closed area. Absolutely worth seeing, if it were not for the scorching heat. Therefore we went afterwards still into a cafe. There we met 2 women who had just climbed Ararat. It had hit them hard there, in the snowstorm they fought their way up as a rope team. Until now our weather forecast looked good on the other hand.
On the return journey with the shuttle Ballermann hits ran, with best mood and loud singing it went back to Van eat and destroy few beers 🙂. Before departure the next morning we visited a breeding station of the local cat breed. The white Van cat often has one yellow and one blue eye, but the coat pattern is supposed to be characteristic. Well, the poor animals looked a bit mangy here and to breed a characteristic is also a matter of taste. But like many things, this is subjective, objectively it went now in the direction of Ararat 🙂.