Friday, August 30 was Victory Day in Turkey, and we had the day off of school. We decided to take advantage of the long weekend and planned a trip north to the Black Sea.
Five of us rented a car and David braved driving in Turkey. We left around 6 am to avoid as much traffic as possible, and it worked really well. Once we got out of the city it was smooth sailing. The drive was absolutely beautiful with mountains and trees. It took us about four and a half hours to get there.
Our friend helped us make hostel reservations. We called several places, but hardly anyone spoke English and if they did, it was super limited. (Surprisingly, we were asked several times if we spoke German.) We ended up staying at Deniz Motel, which was right on the beach!
Çakraz is a tiny town nestled in a cove between two bluffs. Most of the action is on the “brickwalk” area by the sea. There are several hotels and restaurants and a few bakkals. I don’t think we ran into any English-speaking tourists, though there were a lot of Turks on vacation. It was much more a vacation spot than a tourist spot. We loved relaxing in such a chill atmosphere! Our hostel even had lounge chairs for us to use on the beach.
There were several gözleme stands by the restaurants. Gözleme is kind of a cross between a crepe and a calzone. There’s different fillings you can order. We love the potato kind. The beef ones are also good – they have finely ground meat with spices and onion. Our favorite is the honey and walnut gözleme. The gözleme only cost 2,50TL and we ordered about 12 between the five of us the first afternoon.
After some beach time on Friday, we drove twenty minutes over to Amasra to meet up with some friends who had also traveled to the Black Sea for the weekend. We stopped just outside of Amasra for some pictures:
How’s this for the view next to the parking lot?
Our friend who made our hostel reservations recommended that we eat at Canlı Balık, a popular fish restaurant in Amasra.
There were 12 of us. We had a super long table right next to the sea.
The Black Sea region gets a lot of rain and is well known for its produce. This salad was as tasty as it was beautiful!
Our table ordered several plates of fish. It was all fried and included hamsi and at least one other type of fish I didn’t get the name of. Hamsi is apparently known as the European anchovy. I avoided the bones and heads, but a several people ate the little fish whole!
We walked around Amasra for a bit aftewards. Amasra was a hopping little town with plenty of shops, restaurants, and touristy things. They had some really yummy street food – we got mussels, ice cream, and fried spiraled potatoes on a stick. We’re glad we got to check it out and say hello to our friends:
Back in Çakraz the next morning, we went on a little hike.
We started on the left of our hostel and climbed around on the rocky bluff.
Then we walked through the town to get to the top of the bluff on the right.
That night we ate at the restaurant connected to Özmenler Otel. The food and service was even better than at Canlı Balık. Plus, the waiter spoke some English. We ate family style and ordered some delicious meze – calamari, eggplant with a garlic yogurt sauce, a vegetable dish, and a cheese plate. We ordered hamsi again and another fish they recommended. This time, the fish was not fried and it was so good. They also gave us free fish eggrolls and a beautiful fruit plate. The entire meal was less than 35TL (around $17 USD) a person!
Also that evening, we bought some paper lanterns from a street vendor and set them off over the water.
After the Turkish breakfast provided by our hostel, we drove back to Ankara on Sunday. We loved the Black Sea!