Cycling in Trabzon?

When cycling started to get popular in England and France in the late 19th century, people were stuck in the cities.  Transportation to the countryside was expensive, but the bicycle offered a relatively cheap alternative.  There was an extensive network of back roads beckoning the cyclist to explore.

I see a parallel in Turkey today.  There’s an incredible network of deserted back roads, deserted partly because cars and petrol are rather expensive.  People don’t travel around in private cars like in North America.

DSCN1076 by bryandkeith on flickr

Another similarity is the outfits many women wear in the cities.  The Victorian England costumes are every bit as ridiculous as the ugly heavy raincoats that are forced on many Turkish women.

In Britain and France women wanted to cycle too, and it started the revolution of “rational dress.”  Wow, Turkey could certainly use such a revolution.

Can I hope for a bicycle revolution in Turkey?  In Trabzon I spotted bike racks, quite a rarity in this country.

Bike racks are a very rare thing to see in Turkey by bryandkeith on flickr

What?  How’d I end up in Trabzon?  Every once in a while my bicycle takes me to the city.  Actually I’m going to try and blame this one on friends.  Kurt’s arrival and departure got me to İzmir and Antalya.  Sage’s arrival and departure got me to Ankara and Erzurum.  Ferda pulled me to Trabzon to spend ramazan bayramı, the holiday at the end Ramadan, together.

DSCN1299 by bryandkeith on flickr

In addition to the city center and the 900 year-old Ayasofya church, we headed to the relatively nearby tourist highlights of Sümela Monastery and Uzungöl.  In Trabzon itself (merkez) I liked the downtown pedestrian area.  The city had a relaxed feel and a pleasant climate.  I felt quite comfortable.  It was perhaps my favorite Turkish city.  Much smaller than Antalya, Trabzon had a similar vibe, but a bit more seriousness about it.

DSCN1208 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSCN1197 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSCN1201 by bryandkeith on flickr

At the end of our stay we visited Ayasofya, not to be confused with Ayasofya in İstanbul.  Complete with a seaside backdrop it reminded me of the old Spanish missions in California…

Ayasofya, Trabzon -- reminded me of a California mission by bryandkeith on flickr

There probably aren’t too many tourists who make it to Trabzon and don’t head up to see the cliffside Sümela Monastery.  The site is unfortunately low on information, and the paintings have been heavily vandalized.  The Greeks built it, but why?  My best guess is for seclusion like in Athos.  Also unfortunately, since no one’s offered to pay Zane to fix the wordpress-flickr portrait photo plugin, the following three photos I chose probably won’t load for you.

DSCN1223 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSCN1243 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSCN1259 by bryandkeith on flickr

From Sümela Monastery Ferda and I headed directly up to Uzungöl where we celebrated the official bayram.  Uzungöl is a holiday destination full of young Iranians on rented bicycles.  I saw more signs in Arabic script than I’ve seen anywhere else in Turkey.  Ferda and I spoke with a Kurdish Turkmen from Iraq who studied in Copenhagen and spoke Arabic, Turkmen, Turkish, English, Danish, and Kurdish.  The setting here was also spectacular — these are the Doğu Karadeniz Dağları after all — but oddly for a holiday destination there wasn’t a beer to be found in the entire town.

I saw more Arabic script in Uzungöl than anywhere else I have been in Turkey by bryandkeith on flickr

DSCN1289 by bryandkeith on flickr

Food.  How ’bout some food to end with?  Haha, three more portrait photos!

Fish, kaygana, and kuymak -- Trabzon specialties by bryandkeith on flickr

I stopped to fix a flat tire and was treated to lunch by bryandkeith on flickr

The peaches have been fantastic in August by bryandkeith on flickr

DSCN1202 by bryandkeith on flickr

This entry was posted in Bicycle touring, Turkey and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Cycling in Trabzon?

  1. armin says:

    great photos, and I was surprised to see the paintings on the walls, but maybe it’s better to see paintings, than the bricks

  2. Zane Selvans says:

    Okay okay, I got the portrait oriented photos fixed… if you want them to show up in the posts that have had issues in the past, you’ll need to “update” them, as the API only generates the flickr embed code when a post is submitted. Also, I got your new banner images uploaded.

  3. sage says:

    I particularly like today’s banner posting : )
    and realized i should have sent you a new knife- not a popcorn pot!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.