I mentioned yesterday that we’d driven past the deserted villages in the Ara valley, most notably the village of Jánovus. Today we decided to back track a little and go and cycle through the valley to see a little more of it firsthand.
The whole area has been blighted for nearly 100 years since it was first proposed to build a dam here, and just about every government since has seemingly had a hand in denying the people of the area the ability to lead a peaceful life. It’s worth reading the full account over at From Other Time just to see how unsavoury things have been.
The inhabited villages are about as basic as they come, probably not helped by the constant blight on the landscape, but there are signs of change and investment.
Also, there is a campaign to reinstate Jánovus with work already underway of restoring the school building, but it will be a long hall. There is no road to Jánovus, just a mile or two of very rutted track, a sign of what life here would have been like 100 years ago before investment and modernisation stopped. I particularly like the street sign measuring distance in time rather than kilometers – 10 minutes up the hill to the church, two hours to the next village.
As for our own circumstances, the bike ride was good bit hillier than I hoped with a good dose of frosty and frozen roads thrown in for good measure. The ford which houses Mel standing by was frozen solid – a good 4-6 inches of ice. I’d got there first and teetered across on foot and quipped to Mel as she approached to cycle across but she spotted my ploy! It was only once we were both across it was apparent you could have driven a car across it!
Life Chez Motorhome took another interesting twist last night when we realised that the water pump was leaking slightly. Just a drip, but not what you want. A strip down and clean didn’t help matters, so we are currently considering a replacement if a patch up job is not possible. Trying to explain that you want some gasket at the local car repair shop was entertaining, we managed to get across what we needed but alas there ain’t much call for it around there parts, so we are starting to consider relocation towards more civilised parts, or possibly getting one shipped from the UK if we can identify a campsite we can be at for a few days. If anyone fancies being a courier for an overnight trip (or two) that might be a laugh!