Talking of returning to Istanbul, Ashley and I will be back here sooner than we'd originally planned...in one month's time to be exact! Our visa application for Iran has been dragging on and on since we started the process in Vienna a million weeks ago! We've since amended our proposed itinerary to avoid both the election period and the capital city Tehran in the hope that it might improve our chances of being successful, but all the noises coming from the agency that we are using to obtain our 'letter of invitation' have been pretty negative. It would appear that most tourist visa applicants are being rejected until after the elections have been completed on June 14th. The likelihood is that we'd not hear until much later than that date and we have to consider how these delays will impact on our trip further down the line. Both Ashley and I have found it very hard to maintain our optimism towards a country that presented, during the trip-planning stage, the most intrigue and interest. So, after much soul searching and chatting, we decided to take the tough decision to bypass Iran and fly to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on June 16th. After overcoming the initial feelings of disappointment, we both feel happier that we have gained some kind of control back on the trip.
Ash had the unenviable task of heading to Kathy's flat (our Warmshowers host), packing our panniers and (somehow) getting both bikes to the hotel. Fortunately for him, Kathy is a bone fide angel and offered to ride my bike into the city with Ashley, to save him having to make two journeys...which would have taken him until the wee small hours of the morning to complete! He is currently thanking her with the help of a cold beer!
Love and hugs. X