14 Eylül 2007 Cuma

We had planned to visit Bayburt, stay in Gumushane before going down to Giresun, stay in Unye and in Bartın on the drive back home. However, the tree which Eser thought was imbued with mystic powers prevented us from following this plan and saved us from the floods which hit those regions which we would have visited.

The scene gradually changed as we drove down past Gurle towards Yusufeli. We had our first and only flat tyre at a very scenic spot, but were too upset to take photographs.

Later, an out-of-place military check-point led us to a small town where we discovered that the flat tyre could not be repaired. This prevented us from visiting the historic Georgian church ruins on the way to Yusufeli.

Only tyres of slightly different size were available in Yusufeli. We had lunch at the recommended restaurant next to the wildly flowing Coruh river while all four tyres were being changed.

The road to Barhal was as narrow as the last 10 km. of the Camili road and almost as bad. This is a wider spot where we had to back up to allow for another vehicle coming from the other direction.

And the inevitable road construction stopped us for over an hour.

We reached Barhal just before sunset, found Marsis Pension and parked the car under two large poplars.

Had tea in the village and a pleasant chat with the owner of the place.

Eser and Emine went up towards the mountain in search of the historic church, inspite of the bear-wolf warnings. Ahmet went back to get the car and save them, only to find the car buried under a fallen tree. Eser arrived 15 minutes later having decided that Ahmet's absence did not bode well.

Eser had been seeking " divine guidance" and " divine protection" as our cousin in Newyork, Husnu, had recommended throughout the trip. And earlier, on a whim, Eser had muttered her requests while looking at a large poplar; just as the one which fell on our car. To this day, she still claims that, that is what saved Ahmet and the rest of the car.

That night, with the storm also having broken the electricity lines, the mobile telephones not working, the damaged car, the sound of the rushing water was joined with the chanting of the large group of very religious Israeli backpackers who had decided that the dining room of Marsis Pension was a good location for Friday night rites.

Rather upset with the accident, we made reservations on the 21;30 Trabzon-Istanbul flight, left Barhal after cleaning the broken glass at 6;30 am. and drove down to Yusufeli to the tyre dealer to help us with the temporary covering of the broken windows.

As usual we picked the scenic route to Rize, through Ispir, the Ovit Pass, the Valleys and down to the sea side just before Rize. The first 60 km. of this road was as bad as the previous village roads. This stream crossing is a good example of the type of the road.

Ovit Mountain was also the home of some different wild flowers and butterflies.

Near the summit of the mountain, this view brought to mind glaciers of not too distant past.

Clouds and sweeping scenery, and the fact that we had made good time, required that we take some more photographs.

A beautiful house down in the Valleys Region.

And the restaurant where Ahmet finally managed to sneak a small portion of the famous Great Northern White Beans of the area.

Left the car for repairs in Trabzon and flew back to our cats in Istanbul.