Istanbul is a beautiful, fascinating city – and so large that I could spend a whole month within the city walls and never run out of things to see and do. But there is much more to Turkey and I am so glad that we have had the chance to explore other areas: Cappadocia, Ephesus, Pamukkale…
Yesterday, we took a day tour of the Black Sea.
If you look on a map, you’ll see that the Black Sea is bordered by Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, and Turkey. Our day trip involved going only about 50 miles or so from Istanbul – but it was a different world!
We took a bus tour, because driving in this country is something that I personally NEVER want to experience. There seem to be no rules. Two lane highway? Ha! Vehicles make their own lanes – sometimes three or four, and pass other vehicles on the shoulder of the road. Unexpected lane changes are par for the course. I’ll leave the driving to others! Our bus was a nice, air-conditioned Mercedes, and the driver was amazing. I couldn’t help but think of Sandra – she would have surely been kicked off of the bus before we had gone 50 feet 🙂
The coast line of the Black Sea is spectacular.
We stopped at a little fishing village called Sile’ – which has been a fishing village since 700 B.C. During the summer months, the population of about 13,000 swells to over 35,000 as it has become a get-away destination for “rich” people from Istanbul, who have built holiday homes there. I can understand why – it is an absolutely beautiful area.
There are some beautiful beaches along the coastline. Our guide warned that because of the undercurrents, the Black Sea is a dangerous place for inexperienced swimmers and people drown there every year – so “be careful!” Some of our group decided to spend a few hours swimming; others (Wes, Jess,and I) strolled through the village, checking out the little shops lining the streets.
Sile’ is also known for Sile’ cloth, a crimped-looking, light, see-through cotton fabric made on the Şile’ coast. I bought little Henry a cute shirt – hope it fits the little fatty 🙂
A 150-year old lighthouse, still in use
After driving along some more coastline, we stopped for lunch at another quaint little fishing village and dined on fresh fish at an outdoor cafe.
After lunch, we took a leisurely boat ride down a beautiful little river that flows from the mountains of Istanbul into the Black Sea – the Goksu River. Dale would have liked this♥
Our tour guide, Sulleyman, and one of our group, Eduardo (from Brazil)
A 700-year old tree 🙂
Our requisite self-portrait 🙂
We took the forest route on the way home, stopping for tea at a little village cafe in the forest.
On the ride home, we ran into a bonafide traffic jam. It took 3 hours to go about 3 miles. I’ve never been involved in anything like it. The turkish people actually make it fun! Always entrenpreneurial, vendors started showing up, pushing carts of “simit” (a fresh-baked pretzel-like bread with sesame seeds) and bottled water through the small spaces between the chaos of cars. Many drivers gave up trying to go anywhere and decided to wait it out – they pulled over, spread blankets in the dirt next to the road, and watched.
This is about an hour into the traffic jam
Two hours later
We finally made it back to our neighborhood around 11:00 p.m. – stopped at Kebab King for a cup of tea before heading up to our apartment. ‘Twas a good day♥
My favorite shot of a day – a little girl in her doorway