Beyond Ararat: A Journey Through Eastern Turkey
Bettina Selby's latest journey takes her to the cradle of civilization, where the Tigris and the Euphrates rise. It is a corridor of ancient invasion fought over by Persians, Armenians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Turks, Arabs, Kurds and Mongols, with today's survivors living uneasily together under Turkish rule.
The journey begins along the strange and beautiful Black Sea coast of Turkey, the path of Xenophon and the Ten Thousand, of Jason and the Golden Fleece. From the Russian border her way leads south, up through rugged mountains to the ghost town of Ani and to Mount Ararat, the legendary resting place of Noah's Ark. From this fabled centre of the world she cycles down to Lake Van and the supposed site of the Garden of Eden, past robber castles and vast ruined palaces. Riding through Kurdistan close to Iran, Iraq and Syria only weeks after the end of the Gulf War spelt danger: kidnapping was rife, comforts few. It was a hard journey through some of the most magnificent scenery in the world - and some of its least predictable people. A lone cyclist never knew whether to expect kindness or stones and bullets.
Travelling alone and by bicycle offers unique relationships with both land and people. Bettina interweaves her account with insights into the problems of an area re-establishing its position as the bridge between East and West. She brings alive the historical background so vital for understanding this troubled part of the world.
Since Bettina Selby discovered the worth of a bicycle in exploring the wilder places of the world, she has pedalled thousands of miles and visited many countries.
She has served a brief spell in the WRAC, followed by a career in photography and seven years as a teacher. She is also a graduate of London University, where she obtained an honours degree in world religions as a mature student. Bettina began travelling and writing when her children grew up and left home.