Trabzon…over a month late…

Time flies when you are having fun! I just got back from over 3 weeks in America and it was so much fun, but more on that later (hopefully not another month later…)! The weekend before I went to America, I went to Trabzon to see Cengiz who had gone out there a week before and to experience village life. His family lives in a small village up in the mountains above Trabzon, and in the summer time they move even further up to escape the heat. It’s a good idea for these next few years as Ramadan falls in the summer time, it is easier to fast when it is cooler.

Cengiz is #10 out of 11 (8 older sisters, one older brother and one younger brother). Yeah I know. So his parents are older (Cengiz is 32), in their late 70s. I have to say communication was tough, they pronounced words a lot differently, and just had a way of speaking that I couldn’t understand. His dad worked in Germany for 30 years and kept speaking German with me, which really didn’t work. I really appreciate them being so open, kind, and hospitable to me, I know I’m not a Black Sea girl; my traditions, habits, manners, and religion are different from them. I have no idea how to milk a cow, and I don’t have the stamina to carry things on my back over mountains like his 78 year old mother can. And living up in the mountains without internet can be beautiful and romantic for a few days but a whole summer…wow! Anyway, I think you’ll really enjoy the pictures, I have one word for you: GREEN!

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We hiked up to the Sumela Monastery, a Greek orthodox monastery built into the mountain in about the 13th century (the structure we see these days anyway). It was used until 1923 when the Ottoman Empire collapsed and the Greek/Turkish population exchange occurred.

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When we got to his family’s house, this was the view from my window:

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And the same place the next morning:

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This is Cengiz’s oldest sister, and we’re about 5 minutes from his village summer house.

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Inside of the house

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That’s his sister on the left, then his niece, and his dad and mom.

Just as a comparison to my family:

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Going for a walk in the mountains:

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It was a long walk but the view was worth it! They were all fasting so I couldn’t complain. But my butt hurt for the next few days!!

After staying there a couple of days we headed back down to Akcaabat, just outside the city of Trabzon and where Cengiz went to school and it’s also famous for its meatballs.

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There is a nice “boardwalk” along the Black Sea. A good place to pass time before the iftar – the dinner to break the fast.

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The restaurant we ate at is a famous meatball place (Cemil Usta) and I do recommend it. They also had a nice setup for the iftar dinner where everything is already laid out so once you hear the mosque you can dig in!

It was a nice trip – Istanbul had been so hot it was nice to get cool, fresh air. Also it was nice to get to see where Cengiz grew up and get to know his family more because that can really shape a person and help you get to know them more. I wouldn’t be able to stay there all summer but one weekend is perfect. I would recommend visiting that area if you come to Turkey because it is so different from Istanbul but so nice and beautiful.

Esin – I know you have been to Trabzon. What things did you do? Do you recommend tourists visit there? Did you eat any special food? People say that people from Trabzon are different. Do you agree or disagree?

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