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Published: September 23rd 2014
Otel Can, Trabzon
Recommended at 60TL. If you look carefully you can see our washing hanging under the fire escape on the top floor!
On the bus to Camlihemsin September 22 2014 10am
We arrived in Trabzon surprisingly fresh after a 14 hour night bus from Goreme. At the start it looked bleak: the two people in front of us had their seats tilted back and I had no room for my knees. They luckily got off at the first stop, Kaysari, and from then on Jane played 'seat cuckoo' and we had a double seat each for the rest of the journey.
We had elected to come to Trabzon, Turkey's fourth largest city on the Black Sea coast, as a stop off between Cappadocia and the Kackar mountains and also to find Jane some new sandals as her Merrells had broken at the big toe thong. Trabzon is close to the famous Sumela monastery high up in a local valley.
Whilst being functional Trabzon was a friendly city. As soon as I step off the bus an old chap asked if I was German. We stayed at the Otel Can, four floors high and very narrow. This was a good central base and we could use the breakfast room/kitchen for making our own lunch as
Getting my trousers repaired
See Coordinating in Cappadocia blog
well. We found a super cheese deli and the local bakery gave us the chance to try the local corn bread.
Finding good 'outdoor' sandals turned out to be more of a challenge than we thought. It is clear that this is foot ware Turks just do not wear. We had an internet reference for an outdoor store and it turned out after a lot of searching that this had closed down two years ago. After asking at local shops in the centre we took a dolmus to the New Forum shopping centre (this was lucky as my google map reference was in the opposite direction!). We could have been in Philadelphia or anywhere else in the Western world. There was even an M&S. We think it was based on Bluewater in Kent. There were lots of smart sandals and flip flops but no Tevas or Merrells or Turkish equivalents. Finally in a shop called Flo we found some boy's school sandals which are perfect and even match Jane's blue outfit. 20TL.
We went back to the centre and walked down to the main bazaar. There were lots of shoe shops and we even
found two pairs of men's Tevas in a hunting shop. It was clear most Turks would not be seen dead in them.
The next day we took a tour to the Sumela monastery. Whilst this gave us two hours at the monastery which was ample you did not get the chance to walk up the valley; the sight of the monastery clinging to the valley gorge rock face being the most spectacular aspect. If going again I would do it by dolmus.
On the tour we did meet Simon and Anita (www.unwindontheroad.worldpress.com). They were doing an overland trip to Australia. Their furniture had left England and they were using the 16 weeks it took to travel to Sydney. Simon had been in senior political PR for the EU and was now a freelance with an interest in tea and coffee cultures (follow him on #fancyacuppa on Twitter) and cinema. We found we had quite a bit in common. Simon had been at Sussex University in the year after me and Anita was an occupational therapist.
We decided to meet up in the evening and follow Simon and Anita's plan to go to the cinema. We saw a formulaic US teen film 'Shall I Stay'. In the middle they just stopped the film for a ten minute break. There was no ice cream lady or film reel to change. It did not stop one audience member taking a call on her mobile in the second half.
We had dinner in a local buffet restaurant and swopped travel plans and blogs. It was a pleasant evening with kindred spirits and we wished them well.
The other job we achieved was to send a collection of oddments back home to lessen our load. We had found a shop with brown paper and tape and carefully wrapped a parcel in our room. Simon and Anita had suggested based on their experience in Saffronbolu that it might be an arduous process. In the end we were directed to a special counter, paid our money and that was it. All done in a minute. There was no customs declaration or anything like that. It will be interesting to see when it arrives. For reference the 1.4kg parcel cost 43TL (£12).
We now head for the Kackar mountains. Let's hope the weather holds.
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