Day 1
Just returned from an incredible afternoon at Ani, the very atmospheric former capital of the great medieval Armenian kingdom.

Despite the best efforts of marauding Turks, the Mongol hordes, neglect, decay and earthquakes, in the soft afternoon light set against vast rolling views, it really was magical.

Recently written about by Jeremy Seal in the Saturday Telegraph, the extraordinary thing is why there are so few visitors, but watch this space, Eastern Turkey’s star is rising, and not just because the PKK are putting away the guns.

Day 2
Rare, clear views of the iconic Mount Ararat.

Day 3
A day of learning about the Urartians (9th-6th century BC), eating pearl mullet from Lake Van (the only creature able to hack the lake’s high salinity), meeting the bizarre Van cat with their love of swimming and mismatching coloured eyes and a visit to the 10th century Armenian church set on charming Akdamar Island.

Day 5
One of the great natural attractions if travelling in Eastern Turkey is the contrast in landscape, no better demonstrated than yesterday.

Biding farewell to dazzling turquoise Lake Van which had held us spellbound with its beauty for the last three days, heading due south dropping down through a series of tight gorges we left the rolling grasslands of the Anatolian plateau behind and entered an entirely new world.

The transition from plateau to cultivated lowlands became complete as we crossed over the Tigris River and entered the ancient land of Mesopotamia. Long had I hankered after seeing this river and the lazy green water sliding underneath us which will continue on through Syria and past Baghdad certainly didn’t disappoint.

Mesopotamia, the ancient land and cradle of civilisation between the two great rivers of the Tigris and Euphrates. Babylonians, Assyrians, Mongols, Medes and Persians are but a few of the multitudinous host of peoples who have passed through over the millennia and the richness of history is all but tangible as I stare out across a sun bleached biblical land.

It’s also damn hot down here and becoming alarmingly difficult to track down a cold beer.

Day 6
2 days ago I was in Mardin only 16km from the Syrian border with a heavy Arab/ Kurdish population. The town’s architecture was stunning, but what really blew me away was being introduced to Parkour and the local traditional in Eastern Turkey of teaching pigeons to do somersaults.

Day 7
Extremely remote to reach even today and set at 2,200 metres with commanding views all around, King Antiochus’ delusions of grandeur when he conceived to build a funerary tumulus for himself on top of Nemrut Dagi 2,000 years ago were plain enough as we staggered up the last 600 metres. In our quest to reach the famous statues though we had failed to register the brooding storm clouds amassing to the north and the ominous rumble of thunder.

By the time we were leaving the eastern terrace the rain had started and I was thankful for the goretex jacket and extra jumper I had been firmly urged to bring along. By the time we reached the western terrace, no more than 200 metres around the side of the hill, the full wrath of the gods had been unleashed upon us and I was now deeply regretting leaving my hat in our vehicle below. Hailstones peppered like bullets scattered us like starlings forcing us to take cover behind expedient rocks. This certainly wasn’t part of the itinerary I mused, crouched down against the lashing storm getting progressively damper by the minute.

But every cloud has a silver lining, as the worn adage goes. Poking my head gingerly above my impromptu shelter squinting through the ongoing deluge, where previously there had been a throng of camera toting visitors clustering around the charismatic statues, the place now resembled the Marie Celeste. And so for five precious minutes as a rainbow appeared we three hardy souls had this magical site and its incredible views to ourselves.

Living on a small damp island and being used to the odd downpour at last had a serendipitous use.