Saturday, 3 September 2011

Trabzon - the last stop in Turkey

Trabzon from above
Sunday, 7th of August
Here I had a special host –  Ihsan, an eye surgeon!! And  I’ve always had problems with my eyes so I was really happy when he accepted my request. By the time I got in Trabzon, I had an eye infection again so he gave me some medication and advises as well (which I probably wont follow as usual J). We also went to play ping pong and thats how he looked after I smashed him:
Destroyed
Well, we got even after playing backgammon and play station, he was so much better than me. My second night I cooked for dinner and he was so happy – its amazing what the good food can do. And so easy to make the guys happy J!
Trabzon is nothing special, I guess it has its charm but I wasn’t impressed at all. Its on the Black sea but the beaches are not beautiful at all, they were all empty and later they told me why – lots of people have drowned there...The highlight of the city is Sumela Monastery which I couldn't visit but I thought I would see plenty of monasteries in Georgia and Armenia. The mountains are not bad either if you really wanna go for a hike. Ihsan who is originally from Istanbul really didn’t like it there. The worst thing was that I got there the first week of Ramadan and Trabzon is a really conservative city so people were really religious. 
People queuing up for free food
Many of the restaurants and bars were just closed during the whole time (30 days) but only until 8, then everything revived again. It was so strange seeing the cafes full of people sitting at the tables but no one was drinking or eating anything. Just empty tables!
The empty tables
No food, no drinks

The thing about Trabzon is that is on the way to Georgia and whether or not you wanna stop there, you end up doing it. And the good thing is the Iranian consulate there. It is a real deal. No other Iranian embassy or consulate in the world gives you the visa almost on the spot – you just need to go to the bank, pay the fee and go back and get your passport and the visa. No LOI, no time wasting. In Ankara and Istanbul you have to wait for 10 days, in Bulgaria they want LOI and takes time, in Spain also takes forever, in Tbilisi a French guy I met had to wait for 3 weeks. So I paid 80 euro (a little bit more than what it usually costs but it was worth it) and the next day I was free to leave.
Next stop Batumi, Georgia...It turned out that the bus only takes you to the border, although you pay for a ticket to Batumi...and then when you cross the border and wait for the bus, you just see how it passes without stopping. So, yeah, they just run away to the closest petrol station, fill up the tank (cos petrol in Georgia is cheaper) and then go back to Turkey. So don’t  travel with Luks Karadeniz from Trabzon to Batumi. It’s not a big deal, cos there are taxis and “marshrutka”s (Marshrutka is a key word in Caucasus ). And it costs only 1,50 lari (0,70 cents) but still its not nice when you realize that your bus has just abandoned you at the border of a country that you have never been to. So Georgia didn’t have a good start but then...oh, later...


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