After my lovely stay in Ordu, where I could have stayed on in my comfortable hotel room which such friendly staff, I moved on to Trabzon for my second couch surfing experience! The first one was hard to beat! Travelling along the Black Sea coast line was amazing. It is mountainous on one side and the other one the green blue sea. The weather was perfect. It was a short and pleasant drive. I rang my new host, Temel, and we agreed where I would be picked up. Apparently my confirmation which I wrote in Samsun had not gone through! Oops! May be switched the gadget off too quickly? Temel had just picked up Mina, from South Korea, who was also staying for three nights. Which was just great! She was funny and sweet and we had the best two days together. On the first day we visited the Sumela Monestary. About fifty kilometres out of Trabzon, high up in the mountains is a monastery cut out of the rocks. It is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. The bus dropped us off as far as it could and would wait for our return at three o’ clock. There was a lovely girl from Hong Kong, an English teacher who had been a year in Turkey, teaching and her student, who was Turkish. Then there was Mahmood from Iraq,an engineering student, who spoke terrible English. The five of us had a lot of fun on the long walk up. Having a native Turkish speaker was also helpful as , when we reached the Monastery, we had to wait over twenty minutes. The museum only allows so many people at one time, which is a great idea as you can at least SEE the place!
The Greek Orthodox Sumela Monastery of the Virgin Mary, is one of the biggest highlights near Trabzon, and indeed, of the Black Sea coast! The Monastery was founded in the 4th century AD and abandoned in 1923 when the Turkish Republic wAs established. The best part was the main church with absolutely awesome frescos, most of them deliberately damaged in the past. One can just imagine what it must have looked liked when it was first created with the frescos inside and out! Sumela,whose name is derived from the nearby MT Melat, clings improbably to a sheer rock wall, high above the ever green forest below. It is an awesome, awe inspiring and mysterious place, especially as the mist was hanging low above the forests, I could hear the call of a mosque hidden out of sight. Shame it was so busy with tourists, not having my own transport I have to rely on public transport, and of course the buses provided only go on the busiest tourists viewing times!
I was mightily impressed and took hundreds of photos. On the slippery way down Miet, from Hong Kong and lovely Murat from Turkey took care of me! So sweet, little old lady needs looking after! But after two near falls, I was glad they stayed nearby! It was actually Murat who had the bad fall, showing off to his teacher, he jumped onto the low wall, which was slippery with wet leaves, and fell off! It was an absolutely magic day! Now I know much of my days are like magic, some some are even more than magic. Definitely a highlight of my Turkey trip so far.
The next day I had decided to go to the Aya Sophya, indeed, same name as the large mosque in Istanbul, this was a little church, which had been converted into a mosque and then became a bit of a museum although it still functions as a mosque! Which is a shame as the fabulous fresco inside the large dome is partly covered up, if they would only work out that if they uncovered it they could charge entrance fees! The guide was lovely and showed us around, he had taken photos of the dome before it was covered
Up and he offered for me to take photos of his photo. Was a good idea but didn’t really work well. Not to worry I used my imagination, which can work over time at places like this. From the Aya Sophya we caught a dolmus, mini bus, back to the otolaryngology, bus station, to see if we could find our way to the Trabzon museum. I don’t think Mina was I to musea, but hey, she didn’t have to come! As it was I saw the museum sign while the bus was driving, got exited and to,d the driver to drop us off at the museum? Confusion arose. Luckily a lot of Turkish people speak German, and although my speaking German is atrocious, I can understand everything. Unlike my Spanish, which I speak perfectly well, but I can’t understand a word when people talk to me! Anyway this Turkish German speaking woman helped me out, giving the bus driver directions and instructions how, what and where to drop us off. As it was they were both wrong, but where he dropped us off, we found a sign telling us where to go. The museum is I. A lovely statuesque house, with enormously high ceilings, which are lovely decorated and had huge chandeliers hanging fro them. Another very fruitful day!