Monday, June 28, 2010

The Black Sea Coast

Four girls. Four days. Four loungechairs on the beach.

The day after our last day of work, four of my girl friends, Olivia, Shauna, Wowie and I, headed north for a Black Sea vacation. It was my final Turkish roadtrip with Shauna and Wowie as they are leaving Turkey to move on to new countries and adventures.

The drive up to the Black Sea involved a lunch stop at Safranbolu. We noted how U.S. roadtrips usually involve lunchstops at fastfood restaurants, but we got to stop for lunch in a UNESCO World Heritage town, both ways. Here's the view from the restaurant of the cute little town preserved in its Ottoman style

After Safranbolu, the drive to Amasra reminded me of New Jersey. The forests were verdant, lush, and created a green archway over the winding country roads. The Black Sea region gets more rain than any other part of Turkey, and even though I saw the Black Sea last year when I visited Trabzon in the eastern part of the country, it was still very exciting to arrive at our first glimpse of the sea.

We stayed in the town of Amasra for two nights. This port town used to be called Semasus, and was mentioned in Homer's Iliad. Our pansiyon was located inside the old citadel walls, and overlooked the sea.

For a mere 2.50 turkish lira, we rented side by side beachchairs and enjoyed the sunshine...

...until the rain came. But then it got sunny again. And then it rained again. And then it got sunny... The beach attendants laughed at us as they set up umbrellas and we huddled up under our towels, and then soon after moved our chairs in and out from under the umbrellas as the weather oscillated between blazing hot sun and a cold drizzle. Seems the current trend of daily thunderstorms in Ankara followed us to the Black Sea, but I was happy because I got to whip out my favorite Snoop Dog joke (Why does Snoop Dog always carry an umbrella? ... fo' drizzle!).

Not many foreign tourists travel to the Black Sea. The weather is temperamental (thank goodness, because that gives it its green color), so unlike the Mediterranean Sea, there is no guarantee for endless hours of sunbathing. But since this is a true vacation spot for Turkish people, and even a more conservative lot than you'd see on the Med. where some foreigners sunbathe topless, there was a very different feel to this beach. For one, as Westerners we were totally intrigued by all the women who were swimming in their headscarves and totally covered.

The local foods Amasra boasts include a tiny fried fish called hemsi, and a beautifully arranged green salad.

Our next stop was Cakraz, a smaller town 15km east of Amasra. We arrived on an overcast day, and the weather turned cold and rainy so we never even got in our suits in this town. But the beach was smaller, less crowded, and even more beautiful. Our hotel rooms' balconies overlooked the sea, and the sound of crashing waves provided the lullaby for a great night's sleep for all. This beach reminded Canadian Shauna of Nova Scotia and Filipino Wowie of the Phillipines. I love how Turkey has the potential to remind everyone of home, as every single ecosystem is present somewhere in the country.

On our last night, we walked in the rain up to a fish restaurant overlooking the sea.

This last supper was a great ending to a relaxing beautiful trip with good friends who are leaving Turkey to move on to new adventures.

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