Ersan’s house towards Sümela

The collection of large, seemingly randomly scattered, receptacles in the house were revealed to have a clear purpose when a huge thunderstorm swept in during the night. The ceilings began dripping or even running in some cases, and both I and my kit got pretty wet as we braved the night in the kitchen. Fortunately for them, Alex and Ant were sleeping in the bedroom and blissfully impressed as to the waterproofing of our residence!

With the storm continuing in impressive fashion for most of the morning, and with no set meeting points until Baku on 20th August, we left at about 11am and headed straight to the Aya Sofya museum 55km down the road, previously a Byzantine church and for a long time a great example of the frescoes of that era. Three weeks ago, it was appointed as a functional mosque and much of it is now covered up and not visible to visitors, but I particularly loved the outside and the view!

We then squeezed into a taxi to take us to Maçka, a town due south of Trabzon and not on our route, but the start of a beautiful valleyed ascent to Sümela Monastery along a lively river. We are now camping just off this road, about 5-10km from the Monastery and heading there in the morning.

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