- ODO 5636
- Location Dogubayazit
- Weather 8-25 Strong head wind
The sight of the dark stone of Mount Ararat – the highest peak in Turkey – stirred in me a deep fear and excitement. A tightening of the sphincter I’ve only ever experienced by looking down in deep clear water to see I’m floating tens of meters above the sea bed with life going on deep deep below. Or a sudden moment of awareness while Paragliding. Looking over from my harness to take in the world from 5000 feet. There’s something primal about the power of these most grand parts of the world. It’s the shear size of the thing. I’ve never seen anything bigger. The more you look the more massive you realise it is by every detail, valley and glacier. A small spec on a continuous mountain.
The Ishak Pasha Palace is a real jewel. Sitting nestled between mountains ridges on three sides and looking out over an expansive valley below. You can see the remains of the town surrounding its foundations. I wonder if the inhabitants of the town used to look out at the exposed valley floor, spread out of hundreds of kilometres to the next craggy range with the same wonder that I did.
Coming back from the palace at sunset on a Saturday night and setting up in a Pide cafe on the Main Street I watched the locals with interest. This is not a tourist town. The streets are open and muddy and vans and cars jostle with three wheelers and hand carts for space. Nobody giving way without a fight. The main thing I noticed on the high street after sunset is that it’s full of groups of men and only men. The younger men stand outside barbers all dressed up in sharp shirts and jeans. The older men sit hunched on their haunches sipping chai and playing cards. Groups walk arm in arm and kiss hello and goodbye. The sense of the male community here is very strong. Everyone is too enthralled in their own circles to notice the foreign onlooker getting a rare genuine window into life in this Turkish town.