Though our blog may appear otherwise, I promise our life is more than travel excursions! Things have been crazy here as we prepare to close the school year and our time in Turkey. I’ll try to share some of that soon, but our travel photos are a lot more fun and I want to write about these memories before I forget the details.
We had a long weekend the first weekend in May. David and I traveled with three friends to the northeast region of Turkey on the Black Sea. (The area is called Pontus in the Bible and is mentioned in Acts 2:9 and 1 Peter 1:1.) It was an incredible weekend away in the mountains. We love to explore cities when we travel, but there is something so refreshing and special about the countryside, especially in Turkey.
We left Ankara after school on Thursday and stayed the night in Trabzon at Anıl Hotel. Another thing I love about Turkey: there is always someone looking out for you. We booked two rooms for the five of us. When we arrived, there was some confusion about sleeping arrangements. They apologized not having the correct room configurations. After some back and forth in our limited Turkish and their limited English, I realized the hotel man was trying to put the four girls together and David in another room (which would have been fine if a 4-person room was available). I told him David and I were married, and all was made right. It was sweet of him to consider our virtue.
Even though Trabzon has over 1.2 million people, it was not a super modern city. We didn’t spend much time there. After breakfast at the hotel, we drove to 30 miles south to Sümela Monastery. The drive along the Altındere valley was gorgeous. We loved all of the green and the mountains!
The Greek Orthodox monastery was first built into the cliffside in 386 AD. The hike up the mountain was just over a half a mile long with a rise of 820 feet. Whew! Entrance cost 15TL or was free with the Müze Kart. Only a small portion of the monastery was open to the public. The views were incredible and the Rock Church frescos (dating back to the 1300’s!) were amazingly well preserved. After exploring the monastery and hiking all the way back down, we drove up a winding road to a lookout point.
After Sümela, we drove back through Trabzon and then east through Rize towards Ayder.