VAN. Or: The wish is the father of the mountain.

 Distances are long in Anatolia and the landscape is big and wide! Natural cinemascope.

 Power lines, oil pumps and heaps of wheat.

 Autumn had coloured the poplar trees golden.


In the mountains huge herds of sheep and goats were driven down to the villages. In Europe we normally don't see how pigs are produced, but we can imagine it. This pastoralist way of meat production in muslim countries certainly seems more natural.
The effects on the vegetation are disputable.

And then finally, after hours and hours of driving: this high snow-capped volcano:  
Mount Ararat. 
And the blue waters of lake Van.

Following the lakeshore one approaches the city of Van. Container homes give shelter to thousands of refugees. Most come from the northern coast where an earthquake last winter destroyed the town of Ercis. Some come from the kurdish villages along the iranian border. PKK fighter were supposed to be fighting from there and so the villages were bombed and the population driven away.

The fortress of Van is an incredible place: built on a ship-like rock on the lake shore it controlled
Eastern Turkey for thousands of years. Or rather: the Urartans, Assyrians, Skyths, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantians, Seldschuks, Mongols did it from here. The list is incomplete but gives one a feeling of how multi-layered history is in these places.

 We found a nice, new ApartHotel in the main street of Van.

 Next morning on the fortress again.

Trying to make out into which direction we were going to head next (towards Dogubeyazit) we got a little confused. Our road clearly was taking us farther away from Mount Ararat instead of getting us closer. We turned the road map into all directions and finally came to the conclusion that we had been looking at the wrong mountain all the time: what we supposed to be Ararat was really Mt. Süphan, 4058m!! Ararat was still nearly 100km to the east and of course you can't see it with lake Van in the foreground. Quite embarrasing for a geographer!