Monday, August 18, 2014

To the Black Sea and back over the mountains (09.08.2014 - 10.08.2014)

From Tokat we headed further north and finally reached the Black Sea near Ünye (after climbing the local fortress/ruin). We had "planned" to spend some relaxing days on the coast but alas the Turks had other things in mind.
It seems they have concentrated all their effort and development on the south/Mediterranean coast. All along the north coast is an ugly highway, not much of old sea side towns left. This way we headed to Trabzon for the night and turned south again the following morning. On the way we visited an old monastery up in a side valley, supposedly one of the must see places in Turkey... Was okay-ish.
Afterwards instead of backtracking to reach the main road we opted to take the direct route over the mountains. :D
Did I mention I don't like to take the same route/road/way twice? ;) Anyway, the road wasn't too bad. At first at least ;)
For navigation we have a 1:1'100'000 map of whole Turkey (useless for these small roads), my Nokia maps (quite good actually, just not on this particular stretch...) and some (by chance) offline Google maps on Gentis phone.
The dirt road started to climb and climb, there was less and less traffic and then finally, the first little river to cross ;) Soon there was nothing, not even a street. Just some sheep and a Sheppard ^^ So we tried to decipher what was an actual road and not just some cow tracks... We continued on: passing cows, sheep and through tiny villages. It started to get colder and colder  (12°!) until we reached the mountain pass at 2700 meters above sea! (Keep in mind we had left at sea level in the morning!)

The descent was as tricky and endless as the ascent and we soon saw black clouds on the horizon... Knowing we would be terrible stuck in our tiny car on these road conditions in the rain we pressed on, just in time to reach paved streets when the down pour hit! After asking around we finally found our way to the highway and continued to Erzurum. Phuu, what a ride...

Out in the middle of nowhere