Giresun is tucked along the Black Sea coast, climbing several steep hills along the shore. As a tourist destination it has little going for it except the incredibly friendly and kind people who call this town home.
Turkey is a conservative Muslim country. Alcohol is heavily taxed and many restaurants don’t serve it. Our Georgian day’s of wine tasting are over. It’s hard to find a beer in a grocery store to spirit back to our room. Men dominate the cafes where they smoke cigarettes, set the shisha pipes burbling and stare. Women gather in their own places to sip tea, relax and chat about important matters. We follow their lead.
On our first morning our mission is to buy as many of our onward bus tickets as possible. We’re in the homestretch now and all the visits to various bus stations are getting a bit tiresome. We ask the young man at our hotel’s reception if he could tell us where there’s a bus ticket office. He can, but does one better. He calls the chef out of the kitchen, leaves the chef in charge of the hotel and goes with us. The first place we try is closed. The second place says no. We are headed to another place when Pat spies a KamilKoc office. We travelled with this bus company on our previous trip to Turkey and found them very good. The three of us go in. The man at the desk speaks no English. That sometimes isn’t an impediment to communication as many people have an innate sense of the gist of things. This young man had no innate sense of anything so thankfully our man from the hotel……… stayed and translated as we bought bus tickets for five more long distance bus trips. Giresun – Goreme – Konya – Antalya – Bodrum – Soke.
This task complete we released …… from service and walked south along the sea front for about four kms. We walked out on the harbour breakwater and watched a fish boat come in. There is much interesting literature about the overfishing of the Black Sea and we saw this in action. Kate Harris (BC author) describes the garbage infestation along the Black Sea coast in her book “Lands of Lost Borders.” She does not exaggerate. There were several stretches of sand but all too dirty to walk along. We had lunch – a cheese burger that contained cheese and the usual fixings but no meat. We washed it down with water – it was water or coke or an energy drink – not a beer to be found within several kilometres – then walked back to our hotel.
We’d spied a little restaurant doing a roaring business – women obviously welcome – just across the street so that’s where we went for dinner. We were greeted like VIPs by various staff members including the chef. They seemed really interested that we were from Canada. I don’t think too many people from Canada show up here, especially in November. The chef told us he had worked in New York for twelve years. His Brooklyn accent was a dead give away.
The next day we walked up to the town’s castle and view point. First we walked up the wrong hill – the town has many of them. We were navigating through the dense shopping crowds and traffic without using our navigation app as we needed to keep all senses on the road. Property hot and thirsty at the top of the correct hill, we stopped at the restaurant for a drink of tea. Tea it has to be because of course they sold no beer. They also didn’t serve food. Why would a restaurant serve food at midday? Some ladies at the next table kindly shared some of their picnic bread with us. Our return trip into town was much easier and quicker.
We returned to the same restaurant as the previous evening for dinner and ended up having tea with the manager – Nadia, head waiter – Adman and chef – Yosef. As we left we were presented with gifts of hazelnuts and other snacks for our bus trip. Giresun is known for its hazelnuts. We’ll remember it for its friendliness.
We took a taxi to the bus depot and very soon were climbing aboard the comfortable KamilKoc night bus for a twelve hour trip into the heart of Turkey – Cappadocia.
The configuration of these buses is two seats on one side of the isle and one seat on the other.
The seats are wider and deeper than normal and they recline quite far. Don’t be thinking we slept much. The bus stops at quite a few places, but it wasn’t as uncomfortable as some buses we’ve been on.
As we rolled into Goreme at 7:30 the next morning, the sky filled with hundreds of hot air balloons. Oh my what a sight.