November 24. Van – Hoşap [N38°18´28.1”, E043°48´82.2”]

Google maps doesnt work here. İf you copy paste this to the last google maps link in the last post you should be able to find me:
38°18´28.1”, 043°48´82.2”


Km today: 93

I sleep until 8 today and after wake up check internet and change some money. I have enough time as it is not far to the Iranian border. I saw a hospital and many tents from red half moon (like red cross) yesterday so I go there as I believe they know where to bring the chocolate I took for the children. Again nobody understands one word but showing them what I want works. Anyway it takes many chai and a meal at the hospital before they bring me to some tents where some families live who lost their homes. We have a really nice time at their tent even though we can´t talk. But similar to the experiences I made when I did not talk at all this year I recognize nobody needs words to understand each other (if you are just willing to…) Everybody here loves my colorful pants from india. I think about taking a few hundred with me on the way back. During this a lot of snow is falling so I don’t mind the time it takes.

We drive a little to go to the camp and the children there are happy as can be as they get chocolate. Their smiles are simply amazing. Again we drink chai and of course I have to stay a little. When I leave Van it is very late already. I see lots of military in the streets again. It´s foggy and still snow falling – suryananda is very slow again but when I check the gps I find out we are nearly at 2000m again so it´s just the steepness of the road why we are soooo slow. We go up a mountain valley when suddenly more and more snow is falling. Evening is coming too and when I drive down the road to a small village I recognize children sliding on the street just beneath an amazing castle on a rock above the street.

I pass the village and suddenly there is all full of snow on the street. It´s just 50km to the next town, half an hour before sunset so I decide to stop there for the tonight. It becomes harder and harder to find the street as nearly all is completely white. Sky, street and surrounding… I recognize to trucks next to the street putting snow chains on their wheels when climbing a hill. Suddenly we stop. Wheels are still turning but suryananda is not moving. One second I am afraid I am stuck and have to spend the night here.

But then I try to turn around as this place is far too dangerous to stop. When I go down the hill again I start sliding but I am able to keep control and soon drive back to the village very very slowly. Street gets worse and worse and I am afraid it might not be possible to reach the village which is around 5km back. I am stupid enough to pass a petrol station as I prefer to sleep in the village but lucky again I arrive there 2 minutes later.

As soon as I stop I am surrounded by a lot of friendly people. I get a lot of chai, food and they even offer me a place to sleep (all for free they do not accept one lira) – even though we can´t talk to each other at all! It takes me some time to find out it will be no problem to reach Iran tomorrow. I show them the Internet sign in the no words dictionary and no problem. Internet yes but no wifi. No problem as I have usb pens with me. After having food with musd who speaks a little englishI go to suryananda to write the blog and after go to internet. Musd gives me his phone number and says he believes there will be no problem reaching Iran but if I need any help I am welcome to call him any time. I really appreciate this. By the time I see big trucks on the street cleaning the snow. People make me understand it will be no problem to go to Iran tomorrow as street will be ok until 10 o clock. They suggest to take a look at the Kurdish castle in the morning and I definitely want to do this.