4 July 2014, Friday... 

A short summary from Merrill, (RTW, Georgian and Turkey Part, by Merrill Glos )

"The first two days we ride the mountains in the north east that border the Black Sea and Georgia.  We visit three National Parks, but don’t think Glacier or Yosemite, think Hueston Woods. It cost five bucks to enter a National Park, but there’s no difference between being in or out.  There are private vendors, restaurants, souvenir shops, cafes etc inside the parks… These would be good scenic moto roads for a lighter bike, but the curves are too tight for a loaded touring rig; we’re on the brakes constantly."

Let me continue a little bit...


We wake up early again and leave teachers' house. The people working here were really sweet, and gentle, especially the administrator... we like here, especially Merrill liked all of them...


and we are heading to Ovit Mountain, which most of the Black Sea people offered us to visit. So, we are on the way... Sedat said that there was a lake here, and we'll try to find it.


After a long ride, we reach the Ovit Mountain...


Some flowers from Merrill, on the mountain..


Just like Merrill, this is the highlight of my trip... being up on the clouds means freedom to me...

after this picture, we forced ourselve to go more, but we couldn't find the lake. After some point the mountains are very similar and Merrill said that enough riding (of course he is on a RTW)... so he is right... this is his journey and I respect. Hence, we are going back to the coast again...


On the way back, while we were passing through a village, a man comes by and we chat a little bit. Then he tells that the mosque in this village is very old (older than the other one) and very beautiful. Because Merrill is a wood man, he accepts his invitation to see the mosque. 


the prayers were here with a deep silence to pray and to be alone with the god...


The wood man built here in 3 years with only three man... only using hands...

After leaving this village, we got some rain and then the weather become good again...

Our next destination is Sumela Monastery... a very famous monastery... Let's have some info from wikipedia:

"The monastery was founded in AD 386 during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius I (375 - 395), According to William Miller, Barnabas and Sophronios two Athenian monks, founded the monastery, which was famous for an icon of the Virgin Mary known as the Panagia Gorgoepekoos, said to have been painted by the Apostle Luke.

During its long history, the monastery fell into ruin several times and was restored by various emperors. During the 6th century, it was restored and enlarged by General Belisarius at the behest of Justinian.

It reached its present form in the 13th century after gaining prominence during the existence of the Empire of Trebizond. While the Emperors Basil and John II had endowed the monastery richly, it was during the reign of Alexios III (1349 - 1390) that Sumela received its most important largess: according to legend, the young Alexios was saved from a storm by the Virgin, and was bidden by her to restore the monastery. A chrysobull dated to 1365 confirms the freedom and autonomy of the monastery, together with all of its hereditary lands and dependents; exempts them from all taxes, except for one biannual tax; and restores to it the serfs the tax-collectors of Matzouka had illegally taken from it, listing 40 of the serfs by name. At that time, the monastery was granted an amount annually from imperial funds.[4] During the time of Manuel III, son of Alexios III, and during the reigns of subsequent princes, Sumela gained further wealth from imperial grants. Following the conquest by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in 1461, it was granted the sultan's protection and given rights and privileges that were renewed by following sultans. The monastery remained a popular destination for monks and travelers through the years.

In 1682 and for the following decades, the monastery housed the Phrontisterion of Trapezous, a well-known Greek educational institution of the region."

But!!! Let's hear what but means from Merrill;

"Ahmet’s front tire has a slow leak and the rubber is cracking making it hazardous.  We stop, air up and ask about a bike shop in town…. basically across the street.  The guy has one tire 110-80-19 but it’s a semi knobby like a TKC80…. It’ll do.  Ahmet buys the tire, the guy takes us to a mechanic who removes the wheel, and then the mechanic takes it to a shop to change the tire….. about an hour and half lost, less had the tire guy not left mid transaction to go to the mosque.  (It’s Ramadan)."



 Now, we can move on and go to Sumela Monastery...


 On the way, we have some rain and also we see an accident as you see... luckily the family survived from it. And they are ok...


 When we got to Sumela Monastery, that was the first time that Merrill uses his umbrella, which he carries all time on his bike since I met him...


Local musicians of Black Sea Region of Turkey...


Well, because it was foggy and rainy, the monastery didn't show up. And Merrill takes a picture of a card to show the real one...


"Cloudy, rainy day at the Monastary.  It was one of those like in Northern Greece that's dug into the cliff.  Think Mesa Verde. The ride up the steep cobblestone road in the rain was thrilling.  I was surprised at the color retention of the murals…. they were exposed but not restored."


"After 2 ½ days of mountain riding, we ride the Black Sea Coast, basically from the Georgia border all the way west.  The third night we stay at Ahmet’s friend Sedat’s private university dormitory, which is more like a new hotel, called biltepe.  It’s a first class operation.  The atrium has climbing wall, the fixtures and construction are first class.  Sedat has just restored an R80GS to mint condition and displays it in the dormitory foyer.  Ahmet stayed here on his way to Georgia and our stay is gratis… thanks Sedat"

after the monastery, we come to Sedat's place to visit him. And also, I wanted him to meet Merrill... because they had the same route from South Korea until Trabzon, they had a lot to share...

and this is the end of the 7th day...


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    DAY 1
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    DAY 2
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    DAY 3
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    DAY 4
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    DAY 5
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    DAY 6
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    DAY 7
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    DAY 12