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Published: August 20th 2009
Crossing the border from Georgia to Turkey was quite easy. The Georgian side was incredibly smooth, especially after we were told to go to the front of the queue! The Turkish side was slightly more problematic. We had to show our passports to the border guard only for them to say “you need a visa”. They wouldn’t listen to us when we said it. Then we had to carry our rucksacks a few hundred metres to the office where we bought our visas. Next we had to carry everything back to the same border guard who stamped the visa. Then we had to walk past the office we had just been to, show the passport with stamped visa to someone else and walk through to Turkey.
Our next mission was to find some transport to Rize. Almost immediately a taxi driver offered to take us for 15 Turkish Lira each which, at £6 each, we thought to be a bit steep. That turned out to be a mistake as we then walked up and down and almost completely away from the border area and back again without finding a bus. Eventually we found a dolmus
which was going to Hopa
and would transfer us onto another one to Rize for 12 Turkish Lira. So we saved £1.50 each by faffing about so much!!!
Trying to keep things as cheap as possible, we then looked at several hotels in the centre of the city. There are not too many to choose from so we looked first at the Efes Hotel who wouldn’t reduce their prices from 70 TYL. Next up was the Milano who came down from 80 to 55. This was still more than we really wanted to pay so we went to Otel Kent which was only 20 for a double room. Despite the price we didn’t take it. Security wise it didn’t seem the best place to be and Trish felt less than safe. So, the Milano
it was, and what a delightful hotel it turned out to be, with free wifi too!!
There’s not a great deal to keep you occupied for long in Rize. It is the centre of Turkey’s tea-making industry so we went to the Rize museum but the tea museum next door appeared to be closed. Next we walked up to the Tea and Botanical Garden, high above the city. It
was a bit of a trek but worth it just to stretch our legs. It was packed! We couldn’t get a table so we walked around and admired the views before trying again, this time with success. The tea was strong and bitter, but refreshing. It could have done with a slice of lemon (how decadent!) but that doesn’t seem to be the way tea is drunk there.
In the evening we walked over to the seaside boulevard where we found the wonderful Öz Balık
fish restaurant. There we feasted on a variety of meze
and fresh fish which we think was sea bream. It was fabulous! Afterwards we strolled along the front and saw a couple of wedding parties in action complete with 50 people doing a hokey-cokey type dance but instead of putting their left arms in and out, they jiggled their shoulders up and down!!!
And that was our day in Rize. The next morning we left for Trabzon but we felt it had been worth stopping off.
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