Day 180 – In Refahiye


I have had inklings for a while that there were cheaper rooms (less than NZ$10) at most of the hotels that I have stayed at so far in Turkey, so last night I inquired if there was anything cheaper. I was shown a 5 bed dorm room, which is perfectly OK for me, for NZ$7.

It turned out that the four others sleeping in the same dorm room were Kurdish builders, staying in Refahiye for five days to do some work on new apartment buildings being built in the town. One of them was Ilhami, a carpenter who spoke fairly good English. He invited me to the builders’ headquarters for breakfast along with the other builders.

Kurdish builders in Refahiye, Turkey / クルド人の建設チーム(トルコ、ラファヒエ町)

The HQ was a three minute drive from the hotel, so we all piled into his Renault diesel car. The car obviously disliked being woken up so early on a cold morning, needing some persistent turn overs to get the engine to fire into life.

The HQ was a well built canvas tent next to the building site. The rest of the crew had already finished breakfast, so we got stuck into the remaining food. Fresh bread heated on the coal fueled pot belly stove, black olives, soft cheese, hazelnut spread, honey, and plenty of tea. Thank you very much guys!
Ilhami later showed me his work on the buildings.

Ilhami, a Kurdish carpenter in Refahiye, Turkey / クルド人のイルハミさん(トルコ、ラファヒエ町)

The kindness and generosity of these Kurds went in complete contrast to what every Turk that I have met has told me about these people. The Turks apparently greatly dislike the Kurds, and even the very nice owner of a restaurant in Posof in eastern Turkey said that the Kurds are unwanted and certainly not needed in Turkey. It appears that the Kurds are one of the biggest ethnic groups of people on the globe that do not have a nation state of their own. According to that Wikipedia article link above, the Kurds have fought Turkey, among other nations, for recognition. Must be where all the anti-Kurd sentiment is coming from in Turkey I guess…

The rest of the day here was spent updating the website, and checking up on the progress of other blogging cyclists on my links page.

Tomorrow I head north west towards Amashye.

I leave you with an image that I far too frequently see here in Turkey. I have seen more of these in Turkey than in any other country. It makes my stomach churn to see a man’s best friend like this.

A too frequent sight in Turkey / トルコでよく見る光景


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4 thoughts on “Day 180 – In Refahiye

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Carl, the biggest dog you'll ever see in darkest Surrey, apart perhaps from those really big great danes. Still, fairly small skip too. As for the dogs, I reckon I have worked them out. They are actually girly flacid blouses with lacy trim. Show them some aggression (an bare your teeth when no one is around to see), and they back off fairly quick. It's only the really bad punk dogs who have been emotionally tormented since birth, and have a big spikey collar that you need to unleash some aluminium pole action on.

  • Aunty Jenny

    So Rob, who does that kind of thing to the dogs? The scenery looks absolutely fantastic! You must have found it very difficult fixing a puncture in that cold weather. You obviously managed to get the patch to stick! Still got your fingers left? Once again I have a little furry animal in my arms, smothering me with affection. For some reason, Ajax likes licking peoples' noses! I'm going to miss the wee guy as Lil moves out next weekend. Thought we might at last have a spare bedroom, but things have fallen apart with Mel's boyfriend, so she has now moved in with us! I think Nigel and I will have to leave the country if we want some space from our respective children.

  • carl w.

    I've seen a few big dogs in my time but never a midget skip, even had a hell hound, farmyard sharkdog. Chewing feverishly at my leg which while interesting, I can't recommend as something to do on a saturday night. If you growl and make some really mad barking noises they tend to back off, but then so would any normal person perhaps even crossing the road. It's all part of life's great pecking order as I see it, in a country where life is harder than here and you only have champers and pate 5 times a week. It's considered ok to kick the dog around the yard, this probably stems back from cavemen times. However I've always found that the humble dog has always found a way to get his own back. As when your not watching they'll be busy licking all the bits and pieces that are not normally on the menu in polite society. Then when your guards is down they'll come round being all friendly and nice…. and lick your face UUURRGGHHHHHH!!!!!

    all the best from darkest surrey