Oh, do you remember a while back when we told you we were taking you on our East Turkey road trip? We even asked you if you were ready. Well, quite obviously, we weren’t ready because we’ve still not done it. Well, all that is about to change. We have a new determination this week – maybe even a daily blog post – which will take you on a journey covering a sizable chunk of the vast and fascinating space that is Turkey’s eastern frontier.
So, just to refresh your memory, you can click the following link which will take you to our map showing our East Turkey road trip route and the places we will be writing about. And if you ever fancy doing a road trip around that area yourself, here are our 10 driving tips for East Turkey. And, those tips are straight from the horse’s mouth because I was the driver.
Point A to Point B: Patnos to Muradiye, East Turkey
Muradiye was to be a quick stop off on our road trip – it was en route, and our friends just wanted us to see it. We were in ‘just-obey-and-follow’ mode (it’s easier that way, sometimes) and we’re glad they decided Muradiye was worth the stop off.
This is the first sight that greets you as you arrive, and you can get a rough idea of the size of the waterfalls when you look at the people in the bottom of the shot, taking photos.
Patnos to Muradiye falls is a perfect drive because, as you can see in the route map we linked to above, you have quite a drive along a section of the northwest coast of Lake Van. Big excitement for us as this was our first sighting of a lake we’d wanted to see since our first ever visit to Turkey in 1998.
For our friends, this is their getting-from-A-to-B road, but then they’re living around these parts. We were the tourists, and we were very happy tourists at that.
It was Spring, the harsh winter had subsided, snow was still stubbornly wedged into the crevices of the mountains, the beautiful Süphan Dağı (Turkey’s second highest mountain) was watching over us, and fresh, green grass, poppies and other wildflowers were colouring the whole scene before us.
Muradiye falls are around 60km to the west of Lake Van, road signs are thin on the ground and new side roads are popping up all the time, so, despite having been here in the past, our friends had to stop to ask some road workers which way we needed to go.
The type of tourism done by those of us who don’t hail from around these parts is not fully established and Muradiye is an area for locals to come and picnic. It’s their local recreational space – they don’t need road signs. We did.
So, after parking the cars, we walked across the suspension bridge that gives us the view above. This is one of those bridges where everyone on there thinks it’s amusing to bounce up and down while taking photos of each other, the river gushing by below us.
And it’s one of those bridges where I get my photos as quickly as possible and head straight for the other side to terra firma!
Our friends are a bit disappointed. Apparently, Muradiye waterfalls are usually brilliant white rapids. Today, after heavy rainfall through the night, they’re muddy.
We don’t care. We follow the pathways, enjoying the constant spray that fills the air from the falls. Picnicking locals are dotted about the forested areas, some are sitting at the small cafe drinking çay.
A couple are perched at the edge of the bridge, waterfalls as a backdrop, having wedding photos taken.
And we’re having photos taken, too. This was the moment we realised you can’t go on a road trip with Turkish friends and not take countless people pics in various poses. This was the road trip where the Barry-and-Julia photo count more than doubled. Maybe even trebled.
So, this is the first stop off on our East Turkey road trip. Not a bad place to stop, is it? But we’re en route to another place that has been a longtime ambition for us to see.
The next leg of our journey is Muradiye to Doğubeyazıt – this is the place where we finally get to see İshak Paşa Sarayı – and we’re just itching to get there.