Sunday, January 13, 2013

tiny piece of Turkey

Opted for a few days in Turkey to break up the trip from Munich to Armenia. After searching every possible route, it was cheapest to fly from Germany to Trabzon, in north east Turkey. Waiting in the airport, I couldn't even read or write, it was like the words were in another language. Could have been the haze from all the German beers the previous days, the confusion about how to travel without Elisa after spending every waking moment together for 2 months, the fact of leaving not just one country for another but one chapter of life to start a new one. Before I knew it was in Istanbul having a nice (and much needed) coffee at the airport before setting off for Trabzon.

Arrived in the main square there to be promptly met by Basar, my local Couch Surfing host. I'm pretty sure I scared him when he offered a hand shake and I went in for a big hug. What can I say, it had been a long day. Him and his flat mate are both engineers, and as he had to work early the next morning he slept after a bit of us chatting at his place. I followed suit and passed out on the couch, only to be woken up in the middle of the night by music/praying from the nearby mosque. I had forgotten all about that custom, guess I haven't been around mosques since Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia times. Sounded so hauntingly exotic to me at that point I didn't even mind being woken up!

In the morning made my way to the Sumela Monastery, a Greek Orthodox monastery founded in 386 AD, built into the side of a huge cliff. The bus ride was so sensational - winding through the mountains, little towns and mosques all along the way, houses of all shapes and sizes dotting the hillside. What a stark contrast from where I had just been! 

There are rooms for the guards, the students, a bakery, a kitchen and a library 

Some colorful frescoes in the Rock Church as well

Beautiful views

Great walking in the area

Back in Trabzon, enjoyed just walking around - there are shops, markets, bazaars and stalls everywhere! My first time at the Black Sea as well.

Basar showed me a great coffee place, Edward's Coffee, all decked out with an Americana theme. Also, the delicious dish cig kofte (finely ground bulgar, tomatos and a red pepper paste, wrapped in lettuce).
A very pleasant quick trip to Turkey as a transition to the Caucasus!

"Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the Universe." - Anatole France


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