Black Sea coast (Anatolia 4)

Published on 2 October 2018 at 19:00

The route along the Black Sea can not appeal to us as mountain lovers. The road along the coast is busy and boring and forms a big barrier in all villages and towns along the way. Rivers flowing from beautiful valleys inland into the sea all along the coast. It is tempting to get back inlands but that means an up and down the same road while we actually would like to reach and cycle through Georgia, however "winter is coming". It is sometimes difficult to make such choices. Turkey is so beautiful. We skip the plan to cycle to a monastery from Trabzon. The plan to cycle along the coast to Georgia is also skipped. The mountains keep calling us and eventually we give in. But for about 400 km we cycle along the Black Sea coast: from Samsun to Eskipazar (near Rize) and then we are done with the Black Sea coast. 


From Samsun we cycle via some nice small roads that are suggested by route apps, but quickly we return on the boring, wide and busy D010. We cycle through two towns, both of which appear to be of considerable size (> 100,000 inhabitants). In a city named Terme we stop in front of a bicycle shop to ask if they have a tool to tighten a nut. Explaining is not so easy, especially when it appears that the nut seems already stuck. The bicycle man is once again such a wonderfully hospitable Turkish guy and takes us to the ice cream parlor across the road for a glass of lemonade. It comes with flaked ice cream and tastes delicious. The ice cream owner brings us creamy Turkish ice-cream and Roelie gets a mini bouquet of yellow mountain flowers from the vendor's wife and places it on the handlebars.


The intended campsite a bit further up next to the road is unfortunately already closed. The season is over. At the entrance we get tea to process the disappointment. We decide to cycle to Ünye. Another town that turns out to be a quiet big city. We see a guest house that lies between nice restaurants and a tekelshop for the well deserved beer. On the ground floor of the guest house is a café where they tell us that the building above unfortunately is not a guesthouse despite the enourmous sign on the facade. Roelie gets tea and Harry, to his disappointment, a Turkish coffee. A nice little lady offers her help and takes us to a guest house across the street on the coast.


The next day we cycle to a campsite that looks sadly abandoned and we decide to continue to the city of Ordu (also called Altinordu). Almost 100 km of boring D010 with the exception of the detour to the campsite. We check in at a cheap but chic hotel. And then it starts to rain a lot. Oh well, we had sun for some time during the rainy season. We do not complain.


The next morning we get a message from Warmshowers host Ramazan from Osmancik that the parcel with the contact lenses will not delivered to him but can be picked up in Samsun at a customs office. We book an extra night at hotel Ordu and travel to Samsun, about 150 kilometers back to the west, to pick up the parcel.


At first it seems the smartest to rent a car. If both Hertz and Avis do not have a car for us, we take the bus. After 3 hours in a minibus we are back at the spot next to the campsite of Samsun. Here we are familiar with and we get on the tram along the coast to the customs office. We cycled the same route a few days ago. The entrance to the customs office appears to be on the completely different side than Google indicated. Through the rain we run around and on the extensively harbor terrain. At 17 o'clock people usually stop working here and even though we are already on the road from 11 o'clock, it runs to the end of the working day. It feels like we are in a game as we are referred from office to office across the gigantic dockyard. At 5 minutes before 17 o'clock we walk out of the right office but without a package and with the promise that the parcel will be delivered the next day at the hotel in Ordu. Late in the evening we return to Ordu.


Another day at the Ordu hotel as we are waiting for the parcel to arrive. Around 14 o'clock we inform with the customs officer by e-mail whether more is known about the delivery. He has information for us. The package will still be delivered at Ramazan in Osmancik because he is indicated as a patron on the package. Bummer! Although, it is still raining, so it is not so bad to be in the chic hotel. Moreover, we see many women without headscarves and we walked past a women's salon. Roelie can use a haircut. Mens barbers are everywhere.


Meanwhile, we are in contact with Ramazan. He is willing to pay the Turkish tax (which the customs have calculated on the purchase value of the lenses) and to forward the parcel. We will of course reimburse the costs. We find a Warmshowers host in Hanak near the border with Georgia where it can be sent to. 


The next day we cycle form Ordu to Tirebolu, again almost 100 km and the next day from Tirebolu to Trabzon. Along the way we are stopped in Gōrele by motorcyclist Gezgin. Until recently he was hosting Warmshowers and invites us for tea. He tells many stories including a German couple who he hosted a year and a half ago and who got seriously injured in a traffic accident in Trabzon. Their family then stayed with him for another month to arrange their return to Germany. As so, we are warned about the Trabzon traffic.


The traffic around Trabzon is indeed a complete chaos and really dangerous to be the only cyclist to participate. We are happy to be able to get off the D010 on a detour until it turns out that this detour is passing the impressive new stadium of football club Trabzon Spor, and they are about to start a match. Normally there is probably hardly anyone on this road, but now many people are looking for a parking spot close to the stadium and the police are very busy to keep control and so are we. For us it seems insane to participate in this traffic and decide to stop at a minibus station where a strip of hotels is located. Incidentally, we have also been cycling for almost 100 km and the concentration is declining somewhat.


The next morning it is Sunday and a lot quieter on the road so we can safely cross several lanes and on and off ramps and roundabouts. Trabzon is expanding considerably. A suburb on the east side is a gigantic construction site of many mega building projects. It's all very impressing and nice to see, now that it is quieter on the road and safe to look around.


Unlike yesterday, we have a tail wind, unlike yesterday, we do not feel like cycling too much. Fortunately, there is a motivational breakthrough. With irresistible enthusiasm we are stopped at a restaurant in Sümere to take a break. After tea, mineral water follows, fries and börek follow and even more tea. All for free! They ask many questions and even make a call for us to Ikizdere, the village that we would actually like to reach today and where a motel can be seen on a photo on the internet. Although the call is not answered, according to the website you can eat fish and meat and stay over. We are back in a positive mood and are cycling towards it.


It is very hot day today. We are happy when we leave the Black Sea coast in Eskipazar and ride into the mountains. We are immediately treated to beautiful views of the rolling hills and mountains where tea grows.


When we reach the village of Izikdere about 35 kilometers inland and 500 higher up, it starts to rain a little and also has some twilight. Arriving at the motel it looks closed. A passerby says that the motel is finished. Not much later the owner arrives and finds it no problem if we set up the tent under a shelter to spend the night. We get back to the village to eat and when we return the owner opens a door for us from a motel room and gestures that we can sleep and shower there. Very nice, because it was a sticky day with a cold end. Shortly after Ahmet comes to us. He had been on a hike in the mountains and waited to hitchhike next to the motel. It's late, not many cars drive by and he gives up hitchhiking. He sets up his tent and we have a nice evening and breakfast with this student from Erzurum. We are back in the mountains! Bye Bye Black Sea.