Sinop (Turkey), 26.04.2013
Today was our Black Sea day, and we did drive along the coast the entire day indeed. Before taking off, we did some exploring in Amasra, climbing up to the top of the town’s island to enjoy the view on the sea, then back through this beautiful little town that is undergoing some construction and road works right now and therefore is quite dusty. During our walk we discussed how this town would look like were it in Italy, Croatia or Greece, since the nature is similar to what we know form these spots in the Mediterranean. There would probably be a church on the highest point of the island – here the 2 mosques are on lower parts of the peninsula. The haven’s beach would be cleaner and used for tourism – here it looks quite abandoned and is littered with trash. There would be more tourism exploitation, hotels, restaurants with terraces, more inviting cafés (at least in Italy and Greece). Here it is still a bit run down, and we found a lot of concrete, similar to post-communist Yugoslavia, also used to fix the centuries-old ruins of the old town. This place is a jewel waiting to be properly restored and cleaned up. The nature is so beautiful, the old town too, and it is perfect for swimming, sailing, summers on the beach.
After a turkish food “brunch” at noon we bought some fresh bread, packed our stuff and drove off. The first 20 minutes promised easy driving, and we were already starting to criticise the Lonely Planet comment on the bad roads and how much bigger and well kept they are in reality. But then suddenly the road works came, showing us how a small mountain road gets converted into a big expressway here in Turkey. For half an hour we followed trucks carrying stones and mud. The car got dirty again, and this time it looks a bit more like off road. Then came hours of slow driving on bad, narrow roads, full of curves. The Mini would have enjoyed this road, apart from the holes. It seems to be more of a mountain area that is suddenly cut off by the sea then a coastal area. No resorts, no beaches, no sea activities apart from a few, small fishing ports. We met cows on the road, and donkeys, and the atmosphere was more alpine then mediterranean, also when we crossed the few towns that are actually on the sea and have a beach. There is construction everywhere, the roads are being expanded and modernised (they need it). We had our first roadside picnic, in one of the few spots that allowed for such a stop.
At sundown we reached Sinop. Lonely Planet is right about the roads, but we couldn’t find the Mediterranean feeling here that supposedly characterises the city. Although we arrived relatively early, we spent 1h internetting in the hotel, and when we went for dinner almost all restaurants were no longer serving food. The Spanish timing is not easy to get rid of, and not too compatible with timing of restaurants in other places… Our first döner kebab was delicious, and we played our first round of backgammon on this trip (score: 2-0 for Boris).
Tomorrow we’ll head inland again, towards Ankara. Looking forward to it. Good night.
– Km driven: 323/5.254
– Hrs driving: 7/-
– Diesel l/100km: 9,4/10,5