Thursday, August 2, 2012
The turbulent waters of the river swooshing at our side dissolves in it the iron oxide carrying earth of the surrounding landscape into thick red swirls of mud. Dramatically, the mountains on the other side of the water are the colour of dark rust with sometimes an almost violet tinge. Their lower slopes are softly rounded, the dark earth covered by the down of tentative green these early days of spring. On this side the rock wall rising behind us is of different, surprising shades of light colours from the pureness of arterial blood to something verging on orange. Thick greenery in the form of pine trees and shrubs grows here and there on the slopes in a starkly beautiful contrast. Three dogs accompany us as we walk along the deserted road in the already descending evening light.
We finally get a lift.Two religious men take us to the following village of Alucra. There, we rent a room in the local Teacher's House for the night. When taking a walk through the village at night after dinner, Daniel gets stopped by police. More surprised than suspicious about the presence of foreigners, they want to ask him a few questions. Not able to express himself in Turkish he waves me over. Compliantly I relate we are tourists, on our way to Erzincan. I withhold the actual destination, that keeps the conversation short.
The next day, in the icy morning air, we are on the road again. We travel under a bright blue sky with large, impeccably white clouds drifting in it. Each single one of the villages we pass is lovelier than the other. With a backdrop of snowy mountains, although made up of modern cement houses, these are all painted in different, bright colours, like building bricks assembled by a child to make a city. Usually the settlements are surrounded by slopes grown over with tall pine trees or poplars aspiring to the sky, rivalling in this only the mosques´ minarets.
Right at the entrance of one of these villages, we have been dropped off this time, and have been waiting for twenty minutes, as a family stops for us. The car is already full, but with the utmost naturalness, as if it was a matter of course, a young man clears his seat in the back to fit in uncomfortably as the second person on the front passenger seat, and the pair of us manage to squeeze into the space he just vacated next to two women and a small boy. "The man who just dropped you off here is my brother. He told me I should pick you up if you are still there. My family and I are going home from a family visit. We live in the next town", the driver explains to me. He points to the denuded hills composing the landscape: " Two years ago, the military bombed the hills here and put the woods on fire. There are PKK fighters in these mountains sometimes, although everyone who lives in this area is Turkish. Why cannot people just live like brothers? "
We are on our way to Dersim again.