Blogs from Trabzon, Black Sea, Turkey, Middle East


Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Trabzon September 22nd 2014

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 ... read more
Getting my trousers repaired
Sumela monestery

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Trabzon August 5th 2014

The Hazelnut is something I normally only dwell on during the winter holidays. Usually as part of the one pound mixed bags I buy at the grocery store for Thanksgiving. I have one of those lacquered wooden 'Tree Bark' bowls that I park on the coffee table like my Mom used to. Hazelnuts are easy to open, compact little brown spheres that crack into perfect hemispheres between my molars. It is the poor-man's Macadamia. I'd never given them much thought until now. It's Saturday morning and scurrying around me are a half-dozen, chattering women who look as if they've just stepped out of a 1910 Ellis Island 'new arrivals' photo. Loose fitting clothing, head scarves framing beautiful open faces. We're all tending to Ramazan cooking chores. Working together in the outdoor kitchen. Hacer ministers to an ... read more
Hacer Tending The Stove
The Source
Morning Chores

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Trabzon April 30th 2014

28th April Suse and Nat left at 06:30 for the trip into Trabzon to the Iranian embassy while we waited to hear from them whether we'd have to follow them in or not. Breakfast was a lazy affair next to the truck with Alex huffing and swearing at the dog. Having slept under the verandah with his clothes outside his swag, the dog had obviously gotten bored in the middle of the night and strewn his clothes all around the damp camp ground. My flip flops were found other than where I'd left them outside the tent and Alex returned them before I got up and was still annoyed with the dog when I arrived for breakfast, each giving the other a wide berth. After the phone call to say we weren't needed, a few of ... read more
Sumela Monastery
frescoes from the beginning of the 18th century in the Rock Chapel
Rock Chapel frescoes

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Trabzon April 27th 2014

23 April What an incredible start to today. And incredibly early. We arrived at Kaya Camping yesterday afternoon and set up our tents along a perimeter wall with views of the Rose Valley in the near-ish distance. Steph, Quinn and I were on cook and made leek and potato soup, followed by pasta with a salami and tomato sauce. It turned out really well but I thought the stock cubes were gluten free and they weren't. Even using five stock cubes between two dishes made to feed eleven people each plus seconds was still enough to send my stomach into spasms and give me a severe headache. I finished dinner and went to my tent, not even able to sit up with the other five to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones. Alarms could ... read more
Watching our balloon getting ready
Up in the air with 99 other balloons
Goreme and surrounds

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Trabzon » Yomra September 28th 2013

Woolly says – This is ridiculous I was woken at 6.30am on a Friday morning!!!! I mean, REALLY! Don’t they know I need my beauty sleep? At least I managed to fit breakfast in which was a bonus. Ollie blinked sleepily at us as we climbed in and Ian checked his fluids, all done and we were on the road for 8am. Much though Woolly might have moaned we wanted an early start after yesterday’s lack of progress. We had an eight hour drive in front of us and hopefully a campsite at the end of the journey. We flew through the mountain roads with Ollie eating up the miles, past the town of Malatya where we had previously planned to spend the night and back into the mountains again. Woolly says – the views were ... read more
Inside Sumela Monastory
A Monk's Eye View
Ceiling Fresco

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Trabzon August 12th 2012

Bacon excluded, I've never been a fan of the other white meat® which is pork in case you don't remember the ridiculous advertising campaign from many years ago. After traveling in Russia for almost 2 months where pork features prominently and in Armenia where it is practically unavoidable, it was a pleasure to arrive in Turkey where the other white meat® is thankfully nowhere to be found. The alternate title for this blog is "Where There Is No Atkins Diet" owing to the piles of bread served with every meal. No problem for me as I was never a proponent of the Atkins Diet and Turkey arguably bakes the best bread in the world. $US ≈ 1.78 Turkish lira (TL) Accommodation and food On the bus from Batumi, Georgia I met Kash from Japan and we ... read more
Sumela Monastery

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Trabzon » Yomra July 11th 2011

After visiting Sumela Monastery, we drove back to Trabzon and it was early afternoon so we decided to use the car to see Aya Sophia before returning it. On the map, it looked like Aya Sophia was further away than it really was. It is actually in the city, just 3km from the city center. It sits on a hill overlooking the sea and is pretty easy to spot. We found free parking close by, totally by accident, and walked up the hill. We had to walk around to the back to get in (3TL). Aya Sophia was built between 1238-1263 and its original name, Hagia Sophia, means Church of Divine Wisdom. This church-turned-mosque is well-preserved and has beautiful frescoes and a mosaic on the floor that was once stunning, but has clearly had pieces removed. ... read more
Aya Sophia Gardens
Side Entrance

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Trabzon June 21st 2011

Přesun autobusem z Karsu do Trabzonu nám trval celej den. Večer jsme dorazili na autobusák a zavolali Bünyaminovi u kterýho jsme měli bydlet. Sehnat ubytování v Trabzonu nebyla vůbec žádná legrace, protože je to univerzitní město a to znamená, že na konci června jedou všichni domů. Náš hostitel naštěstí přes léto pracoval na místním letišti a proto výjímečně nikam neodjel. Cesta k němu vedla do strmýho kopce, hornatostí to připomínalo San Francisco. Ale kromě hornatosti tedy už ničím jiným. Nikde žádná stará tramvaj, o číňana by tu člověk nezakopnul a žádná automobilová honička s autama co skáčou jak ping pongový míčky se tu taky nekonala. Benjamin se naučil jazyky dílem ve škole a dílem v německu. Německo se na něm dost podepsalo paříklad tím, že byl tanečníkem disco. Údajně si odskočil z Reichu na jednu noc ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Trabzon August 17th 2009

We arrived in Trabzon with only a vague idea of where we were going to stay. The bus from Rize dropped us off at the bottom of a market which climbs uphill towards Ataturk Square. The driver pointed us in the right direction and we climbed up through the market, our rucksacks attracting many gazes, to the top where we found several hotels. As we walked past one, a voice said "nice room 40 Lira" so we went and had a look. It was really nice so we booked into the Evim Otel for 2 nights. We had feared it was close to the red light district but we didn't notice any illicit activity at all and it felt perfectly safe. Trabzon itself is nothing special at the moment, but they are trying hard to make ... read more
Trabzon's old houses
Fortress and Mosque

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Trabzon November 17th 2008

There are some places for everyone which you feel a belonging without knowing really why and Black Sea region of Turkey is somewhere like that for me. Ok my father is from this region and when I seek my ancestory,which ever branch I look for at my fathers side, I always end up somewhere in eastern Black Sea but still I spent a very little time of my life in this region and I was in my end twenties when I first have been to eastern Black Sea. However I always felt a feeling of belonging and longing both to this region and colourful people of it. Maybe there is really something like a genetic memory. I had one week holiday left for 2008 and I really felt tired. Last few weeks the humid air of ... read more
Plateau houses
A village house

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