Our overland journey through Turkey was three weeks of rollercoaster emotions, proper sightseeing, a Northern Ireland football match and then we got dumped off a morning bus in the cold snow in the city of…”Dog Something!”, “Doggy”, this is Dogubayazit and is as peculiar as they come.
We couldn’t remember the name of the city but thanks to my Turkey Lonely Planet, we knew there was a hotel there called the Hotel Tahran (their spelling for Tehran possibly). The name of the town is Dogubayazit and we nicknamed it “Dog Something” and later “Doggy”. I have to admit on my entire travels, this is probably the weirdest town I have ever been in (well OK along with Austenasia, Uzupis, Stepanakert and Kwan Tzu Ling). There is so much crazy stuff going on here in “Doggy”. Half finished buildings, a ridiculous cow mural, the Iran border down the road, a bus station nowhere near the town centre, no women on the streets (like zero – except for Panny), gorgeous backdrop of mountains, parts of the road dug up. Snow meets sunshine. It all felt surreal.
Dogubayazit is famous because it is near the Ishak Pasha Palace and also a pretty easy access point for the Turkey to Iran border which was our next port of call. Here are five things I liked about the Hotel Tahran.
Initially I didn’t like the location of the Hotel Tahran as it seemed to be about 3 kilometres from the bus station and we walked it alone, reluctant to pay a rip off taxi driver. However once we got checked in we learned that it’s right in the town centre and also only a short walk from the buses to the Iran border from Gurbulak. There are lots of small restaurants nearby for cheap food too.
In these parts of the world, you don’t really ever expect decent WiFi. Dogubayazit is in the middle of nowhere so I assumed they wouldn’t even have WiFi. They did and it worked fast even in our room.
3. Random Belfast Traveller!
I headed up to the upstairs lounge and there was a guy sitting there blogging away on his laptop. I made myself a cup of tea and sat down beside him. On being introduced to each other, it turns out to be Belfast Traveller, Patrick Burke!!
Yes, the man who hitch-hiked from Belfast to Beijing. I met him half way through his journey here. The weirdest thing was I had met him before a few nights prior to this, I thought I overheard an Ulster accent in Trabzon. We said our goodbyes the next morning, Patrick and I but we were both heading to Iran. There I was standing at the peak of Alamut Castle in Gazor Khan and Patrick turns up!! Crazy crazy!!
4. Upstairs Viewing Lounge
On the top floor of the Hotel Tahran is a magnificent viewing lounge. It doubles up as a place to do your blogging and cooking. We ate out but I enjoyed tea and coffee up here with excellent views!
5. Cheap and Cheerful
I can’t remember the exact price but a double room was no more than $20 US, including WiFi and a free cup of coffee. Not too bad. It was a decent base for the night before we crossed the border into Iran and headed onwards to explore Tabriz, Kandovan and Lake Orumiyeh.
Here are some videos from my time in the Hotel Tehran in Dogubayazit, or “Dog Something”: