The extra night in Goreme served us well, with a log-like 9 hours of slumber we all felt refreshed and ready for a proactive day ahead to continue on to the Iranian border. This was more a functional day than sight-seeing; Turkey still had sighs to be seen, but with 2 days to get to the Iranian border, it was best to make up for the mileage and make sure we had plenty of time. So onwards to Erzincan. After another great breakfast from Jasmine House, we packed up Mickey the Micra, now considerably lighter due to the departure of the documentary cameraman, Omeed. Took the time to pack the car properly so as to free up room in the back for sleeping, and the Iranian tour guide to-be.
Heading out, we passed the remnants of a lake; now slated around the outskirts and quickly diminishing, this vast body of water North East of Kayseri looked like a giant painted eye on the landscape with a deep blue iris. The road in this section was surprisingly smooth with few if any hills to climb; a welcome relief from the mountain ranges we had been ascending in previous days. With less kit weighing the car down we were also able to pull away that much quicker for passing lorries and tractors on the road.
We stopped in at a service station just passed Sivas and pulled in the WiFi for researching and booking a hotel. A team slightly ahead of us had recommended Otel Berlin – cheap accommodation just shy of Erzincan’s central square, but on digging through the Internet, nothing could be found for contact details or a website. We decided it best to carry on and make it in good time to book in before the hotel lobby shut for the night.
Erzincan welcomed us in with bright lights, big hotels and you guessed it – police blockades. A live Turkish government broadcast in the square that evening had prompted more security than we had seen in Istanbul – each major crossroad heading into the town was cordoned off with 2 police cars and road cones. We weighed in our options; was Otel Berlin safe enough with such an event? We headed back to the larger hotel and asked in about secure parking and room availability. The Grand Semay Hotel came to the rescue, with a 3 bed room and secure parking on hand at a reasonable price. We booked in, dumped the necessaries into the room and headed into the town for food and drink, taking care to avoid the crowds from the public broadcast. We also resupplied with nuts and snacks via a supermarket on the way back to the hotel.