We started the morning in Besıkduzu on the Black sea coast. Breakfast was the standard bread with meat and cheese and jam and boiled egg breakfast, we all crave toast and vegemite. Down the road an hour and then a cuppa in a men’s club (as all the coffee bars seem to be) in a small town. We cause total chaos with local dignitaries coming to welcome us and give us a lovely welcome. We find our bill paid already on departure. Then up to an old monastery (SUMELA) literally hanging off the cliffs and I stupidly decided to climb a small staircase that had me hanging over the valley 1500 meters below and found it quite a challenge to descend again, I thought I was going to die for a few minutes.

Over lunch in Macka, I was given a bracelet by a young woman I had spoken to, a Turkish bell was placed around my neck by the blacksmith and just now on the way down the street I was given tea and a chat by a group of old men at the coffee bar. The ‘call to prayer’ is heard resonating around the villages and towns several times a day and the mosques are a real community centre, I even love the sound at 4am.

Bikes are crusted in mud from the motorways and we had a good laugh when two of our group waterblasted theirs only to get covered again. Met a former Wellingtonian in Gıresun, Azmı Met who still has children in NZ, again wonderful hospitality. Small town Turkey is where you want to be.

xx Jo

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