Black Sea Travels – Day 4, Perşembe to Trabzon

A quick breakfast in the car after a lie-in till 9am, then off along the coast again through Ordu and on to Giresun. Drove through Giresun and stopped (after driving around through some extremely hilly back roads and then back down the coast to a very crowded otopark) to go to the castle. We didn’t get to any castle in the end, but we did find a lovely view (below) and some one-eyed cats…




Then we went back to a lovely pastane (patisserie or cake shop) we had seen (past a one-eyed man and on to a one-eyed cafe owner..) and had mercimek çorbası (lentil soup) wıth gorgeous bread, and served by a man with a squint.. Then we enjoyed 5 scoops of ice cream – hazelnut, clotted cream, strawberry, lemon and caramel. Yum. Then we wandered back down to the coast and into a little pigeon filled park, with an Ataturk statue presiding over the area. It seemed quite a popular place with the locals and there was even a a well-loved basketball hoop surrounded by groups of young lads at one end.

Then on to Tirebolu, a lovely little harboured town with a castle crowning the hill that overlooks the bay.


Although small, it felt friendly, even though the castle gates were firmly locked when we tried to open them after climbing to the top. We sat and ate cherries and grapes next to the castle gates, looking back over the town while lizards played on the hot rocks beside us, and ants tried to carry away the stones and pips we had thrown down.



Driving on we passed through Akçaabat, famous for its köfte (meatball) dish and finally we entered Trabzon, the flagship of the Black Sea region, although with its own special brand of Karadeniz thrown into the mix. Here we began a long, tiresome and stressful goose-chase to find our hotel; definitely NOT the best time to begin our stay. Indeed, upon entering the hotel (after a good hour of driving up and down steep cobbled roads, being told our map was old, dodging shopping pedestrians and finding streets that looked huge on the map were actually one-way or closed), Mark had decided that he didn’t like Trabzon.

There was then a rain shower for 30 minutes or so before we ventured out again in the hot, humid heat to find the (closed) tourist office, check times for the museum and find the Pazar (market) district.

A Walk on the Wild Side...

We really wanted to find walking boots to head into some more ‘off-road’ type areas over the coming days. Much wandering and several dead ends later found us in a hunting shop! A guy showed us some camouflage style hunter’s wellies, before shouting to his assistant regarding whether they had anything else. At this point we turned to see the assistant (again, dodgy eyes) carrying a massive rifle which he was showing to some other customers! This, we realised, was NOT Millets…

Then, probably realising his camouflage wellies weren’t doing the trick, the assistant proceeded to tell us about Islam instead, and we had an interesting time listening to what he believed. 10 minutes later, we decided we should probably go, but a great guy to meet.

DVDs and a hefty butter-filled diet…

We decided we wanted a chilled out evening, so went via a DVD shop, hoping to rent one before finding a place to eat and then watching a film at the hotel. Mark found a little place in a shopping arcade and we flipped through a giant folder to see which pirated DVDs we wanted burning onto a disk… 3 for 5TL, but we got 6 for 5TL (admittedly only one of the three we had asked for was included) because we had had a great time with the shop owner. We had a lovely chat about Arabic and Turkish, before he sent us out with a Duygu, a friend of his (young female relative – niece?) to a pide restaurant he recommended. We were instructed to either buy kıymalı (minced beef) or peynirli (cheese) so we got one round kıymalı pide to share. Quite an education. It looked like a minced beef pizza, but looking at the people around us, we saw that they cut off the top of the crust around the edge and then used this to scoop up the mincemeat (and the butter it was swimming in). This method continued until the crust was gone, and then the base of the ‘pizza’ was used to scoop up the meat. It must be said that although this was delicious, sharing one between us was pretty filling! Even so, everyone else seemed quite happy to polish off one each – even of the ‘covered’ variety, which looked more like a closed pasty version, with even more butter inside. Not for the clogged of heart…

Back to the DVD shop to pick up the ready DVD. Another long chat with the owner, Duygu and another friend (who had had a London exchange student staying in his house, apparently) before we walked to the hotel through wind and spitting rain and decided it was now too late for a film after all… Nice to make friends though 🙂

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