December 18th, 2008 – by: siobhanmccomb
Having had a little too much of the beach/party/tour group crowd I felt the need for a little more challenging travel. I hopped on a plane and flew to Van near the Iranian border. This city is wonderful and the people were incredible.
I went to see many sights around the city including the Armenian church on an island in Lake Van. The trip from Van to Hassankeyf provided some of the challenge that I had been looking for. Not quite the 12 hour ride in the back of the truck with chickens and a diaperless baby on my lap of past trips but still interesting. Having bought a ticket to Batman
(not a great place but how could I not at least travel through such a place) I was left off part way there with the bus driver waving down a Dolmus (mini-van) for me and paying the driver to take me the rest of the way.
The bus was really comfortable and air conditioned (very important in the 40+ degree C temperatures) and the Dolmus was not. I did get a little nervous when they put the very scared looking goat in the back with my backpack (cleaning my backpack was first on my to do list when I checked into my hotel that night). One more transfer and a stop at a restaurant where I got ill later I arrived in the stunning town of Hassankeyf. If the dam project goes ahead (not to be mistaken with the damn project) this town will be under water. It is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever visited. Mardin and Urfa also did not disapoint.