Day 35: I got Georgia on my mind
Trabzon Travel Blog› entry 48 of 260 › view all entries
I got up at the crack of dawn to take a dolmu┼č to the otogar. I think on my second-to-last entry about Turkey I should explain the concept of a dolmu┼č as well. A dolmu┼č is basically a minibus. Not all that different from the small buses that plough the roads between villages in South America, the Middle East, Asia, or pretty much every place outside the Western world.
A dolmu┼č can be anything from a converted van to a custom-built bus, but they all have one thing in common: a driver better capable of multi-tasking than any computer. A typical dolmu┼č driver will navigate traffic, count out change, have conversations with passengers, adjust the radio, operate the doors and honk and swear at other traffic all at the same time. They are quite extraordinary people. Especially when you consider they drive the same bus route day in day out but have no clue what the bus stops are called or which streets they drive in.
At the otogar I switched to a proper bus, heading to my last destination in Turkey: Trabzon. The road from Erzurum to Trabzon was absolutely stunning. We crossed the 2370m Kop pass, high enough to still be covered in snow, into the G├╝m├╝┼čhane valley, where we drove through a long canyon for a few hours before crossing a second pass, the 2030m Zigana pass.
The weather in Erzurum had been pretty bleak, just like it had been the day before. The weather on the other side of the mountains was great though, with bright sun and clear blue skies. However, once we crossed the Zigana pass into the Ka├žkar mountains towards the Black Sea it was raining again.
Trabzon is not a nice city, I knew that much, but Trabzon in the rain is even worse! I was also growing a bit impatient. I was done with Turkey, ready to move on to the next country. Not that I had seen everything in Turkey, far from it, but since it was clear that tomorrow I would be travelling on to Georgia, I had no desire for sightseeing any more. Especially not in Trabzon, which is every bit the seedy port town, with too many Russian influences for my liking. The only site which did interest me was the Aya Sofia they have here, a smaller version of the one in Istanbul. However, as this church was way outside the centre, and it was really piss pouring down with rain, I did not bother.
It may also have something to do with the fact that I was eager to leave Turkey. Not that I had had enough of this country, far from it, I would have loved to spend some more time here. But as Trabzon was my last stop before heading to the next country, I just wanted it to be over and get on with it. I was getting quite excited by the prospect of crossing into Georgia tomorrow.
While Trabzon may not be the nicest of towns, I did encounter one of the nicest Turks in the whole country here. Still craving for a last taste of baklava after the Urfa debacle, I went into a baklava shop. The shopkeeper wanted to sell me a large box, but I tried to explain to him I only wanted a few pieces. I selected a few, and asked him for his advice which he thought were the best.
One of the things I always try to do while travelling is visit a cinema. I like films and so far in Turkey I hadn't had much luck with the screenings on offer. I wanted to see the new Iron Man film which premi├Ęred a few days ago. Unfortunately Turkey is one of those countries where people are deemed stupid and films are dubbed rather than subtitled. No, let me rephrase, *some* films are dubbed rather than subtitled. Most American films are actually in their original language with subtitles, but the major blockbusters, like Iron Man, are dubbed.
Fortunately there was another film I quite fancied seeing, which was shown in English: Green Zone. A rather uninspiring speculation of what might have happened with the WMDs in Iraq. Ah well, it kept me entertained and dry. And to add to the entertainment, the film actually stopped quite a few times during the show. It was as if the film had brok, but I realised they were using digital projection, so there wasn't any film to break! After the film as I walked out of the theatre it had become clear what happened.
After the film the rain had subsided a bit, but the weather still wasn't much to write home about. On the main square there was a sort of concert happening and closer investigation revealed that this was the ceremony to honour Trabzon's football club Trabzonspor which had won the Turkey Cup a few days earlier.
The hotel I was staying at had what looked to be the most comfortable beds in the whole of Turkey and after watching the ceremony for about 10 minutes I decided to have a look if they really were. Well, looks did not deceive, my last night in Turkey may very well have been my most comfortable night in Turkey. I slept like a little baby.