Road Trip to Turkey Noruz 1401

Finally, after two years of the borders being closed due to the restrictions of COVID-19, I decided to make a land trip to Turkey for this year's Eid holiday "Nowruz 1401". Although I had an air trip to Europe, I missed a land trip during this time.

We started our journey on the first day of Farvardin 1401 and headed from Tehran towards the Bazargan border.

 

Based on past experience, we had breakfast at roadside accommodations in the Abyek or Hashtgerd area, and we planned to have lunch in Zanjan.

 

We arrived in Zanjan for the afternoon prayer, and after praying at one of the mosques, we went to the Sadaf Restaurant, which is one of the best in Zanjan for lunch. Unfortunately, the restaurant was fully booked for an event, and we couldn’t have our lunch there.

 

We were very disappointed because we had previously included lunch at this restaurant in our travel plans, having experienced the quality of their food multiple times. It would be great if the restaurant management also considered an alternative for their walk-in customers in such situations.

 

In short, one of our travel companions went to an Iranian insurance branch in Zanjan to renew our car insurance, and after finishing the paperwork, we asked the responsible person, who was a resident of Zanjan, for the address of the restaurant.

 

In order of priority, they recommended: Sadaf Restaurant > Polo Restaurant > Grand Hotel Zanjan. Without delay, we went to the Polo Restaurant, but unfortunately, it was also closed. I think it was due to the coronavirus situation. Eventually, we went to the Grand Hotel Zanjan.

 

The food quality and the atmosphere there were good, and after having lunch, we headed towards the Bazargan border.

 

During sunset, we stopped in the city of Sofian for the Maghrib and Isha prayers, as well as for dinner, and most importantly, to exchange currency (Turkish Lira).

 

Sofian has a currency exchange called “Koobari Exchange” which I have known for several years, and I or my friends often buy foreign currency from there. The manager is fair and friendly, and also due to its proximity to the Turkish border, their rates are much lower than Tehran.

 

Previously, they used to operate 24/7, but this year I found out that they don’t stay open past 11 PM.

 

From Sofian, we continued our journey towards the Bazargan border.

 

Upon reaching the border and entering the customs hall, we noticed a new instruction called “Fuel Receipt.” Previously, this was only applicable to people traveling outside the country by car for less than 3 months. But we found out that from now on, everyone had to pay this receipt.

 

Therefore, as the first step, we went back down to the “Customs Entrance Gate.”

 

Unfortunately, in a section of the customs area filled with mud and clay, there was a small room that we had to reach, and all our clothes and shoes became muddy and dirty.

 

After entering that room, we realized what a nightmare we were about to experience!

 

They were measuring the car type and calculating the equivalent volume of the fuel tank, which had to be paid to the oil company. For example, they calculated 82 liters for my car, Nissan Murano. I told the attendant to take my car and see if they could fill it with 82 liters of fuel on their own!

 

I have been driving this car for a while and I have never been able to put more than 60 liters of fuel into it, even with the fuel indicator light on.

 

As usual, the responsible person said it’s a system and they have no choice but to follow it.

 

In the end, the receipt came out

Image of fuel receipt

Finally, after completing the administrative procedures, I entered Turkey.

Because two other cars accompanied me with my relatives and they were tired, I couldn’t go far. We took a hotel in the city of Dogubayazit and rested for the night.

The next morning, we headed towards Erzurum and had lunch in Aghri. We had lunch in Aghri, and I had a small task to do with my friend, which was accomplished. After lunch and afternoon prayers, we moved on and reached the city of Erzurum at sunset.

Usually, I go to Erzurum by car for short trips to Turkey, to buy household items, clothes, etc.

Erzurum is one of the major cities in Turkey and is located approximately 400 kilometers from the Iran-Turkey border.

Due to the economic problems in Turkey, inflation had risen and the prices of most items had multiplied several times. However, except for gasoline, which was available at various stations for 19 to 22.5 lira, the rest of the food items were tolerable and even cheaper than in Turkey.

For example, the doner sandwich, known as Döner Dürüm, used to cost between 3 to 5 lira, but with inflation, it had reached 20 to 25 lira. That means with the exchange rate of 1930 tomans per lira, a doner sandwich, which had become four times its original price due to inflation, was calculated at 40,000 tomans. Considering that prices in Iran also have very high inflation, we don’t have a chicken or meat doner sandwich for 40,000 tomans in Tehran anymore, so it was still good for us.

Erzurum has many tourist attractions.

Ataturk House, Mount Eruzurum, Historic House of Erzurum, and other places are available for sightseeing and exploration.

If you go there at times other than the high season, for example, in the months of Azar or Dey, you can get significant discounts from the shops.

However, during holidays or in summer and January when there are many Iranians there, prices are usually high and fixed.

The hotel prices start from around 300 lira for a twin room and go up to 800 lira for 4-star hotels.

Palandoken neighborhood, which is near Erzurum, is adjacent to a mountain of the same name. There is a famous ski resort there, and tourists and skiing enthusiasts visit it every year.

Palandoken has several hotels, ski slopes, cable cars, chairlifts, a place for horseback riding, ski lessons, as well as sledding.

Usually, Erzurum is colder than other regions of Turkey, and in the months of Azar and Dey, the temperature drops to -25 degrees.

In this trip, our cars were equipped with antifreeze, special windshield fluid, winter tires, and also wheel chains and wireless walkie-talkies.

لاستیک مناسب برای یخ و سرما

By the way, one thing I need to mention is that all speed cameras and road violations in Turkey are active on Iranian transit plates. If you commit a violation during your journey, when returning to Iran, you must first pay the fine in order to be allowed to exit Turkey and enter Iran.

According to Iranian customs officers, someone had come a while ago and had a fine debt of 12,000 lira.

As I mentioned in previous travel logs, since I had a car, I stayed at a hotel on the outskirts of the city. Therefore, I was able to find a hotel with a price of 200 lira per night for a twin room.

There are many shopping centers in Erzurum, all known as AVM, pronounced “avmeh,” which is an abbreviation for the term “alışveriş merkezi” meaning shopping center.

One of the shopping centers that has been open for several years and has almost all brands is Forum Erzurum.

فروشگاه فروم ارزروم

This year, I noticed that a bigger shopping center called MNG has been established in Erzurum, which is worth seeing. But unfortunately, in the design of the passage, more attention has been paid to the appearance, for example, the toilets do not have paper towels, and there are no chairs or sofas in the corridors and floors for resting and sitting, while in the upper shopping center there are all these facilities.

فروشگاه ام ان جی ارزروم ترکیه

Less than 2 weeks ago, we were in Erzurum, and it left us with great memories. There was heavy snowfall, something we had missed for years in Iran. The sunshine on some days and the intensity of the cold created icicles measuring 4 to 5 meters on tall buildings.

This prompted the municipality and fire department to work tirelessly to clear the streets and, most importantly, remove the icicles. They were constantly providing their services. In short, it was an incredible experience.

This prompted the municipality and fire department to work tirelessly to clear the streets and, most importantly, remove the icicles. They were constantly providing their services. In short, it was an incredible experience.

Among all the beautiful places, the Palandöken Sports Complex and Ski Resort were the most stunning. We all went there on a sunny day.

پیست اسکی ترکیه
سفر به ترکیه نوروز 1401

The ski resort offered all the necessary sports facilities at a very reasonable price for rent. From skis, boots, and skiing gear to sleds equipped with steering and brakes, as well as regular sleds for children.

Additionally, besides the cable car and chairlift, there was a conveyor belt similar to an escalator without steps (a smooth surface) installed in the middle of the slope. With a 20-lira card, you could use it along with your sled and ski equipment to enjoy the thrill of snow play even more.

Finally, on the last day, we headed towards the Bazargan border. In the middle of the journey, we enjoyed delicious Turkish cuisine in one of the passing cities and continued without any stops.

بازگشت به ایران

Although the car’s fuel indicator was on, based on my knowledge of the car and the amount of reserved fuel, I decided to return towards the border with the headlights on and reached the border with the lights still on.

There was a small queue at the border, and we stayed in traffic and the car queue for about 2 hours until gradually passing through the border.

Fortunately, none of our cars received any driving fines, and we returned to Iran with peace of mind.

Immediately after crossing the border, fortunately, the Bazargan gas station was open, and I refueled the thirsty car with gasoline before heading towards Tehran.

That’s all.

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