Since I feel a little nostaltic this week, I don’t want to withhold the following travel report from you:
Two years ago I flew to Trabzon, a Turkish city at the Black Sea, for my birthday. I still remember how I left the airport and was questioned by the guy from the car rental why I as a woman wanted to drive around alone. But as I always relax as soon as I sit behind the wheel, I soon forgot my anger and decided out of the blue to first drive to Rize, a city that is famous for two things: The first are the green tea fields. The second is that Rize is the hometown of Turkey’s present president. I went there for the first reason. The second one though was clearly visible. There were flags with his larger-than-life face everywhere. I did not take any photos of those. But if I neglect this dubious kind of worshiping a politician, I did like Rize. The city center wasn’t any different to all other Turkish towns; like everywhere there are a city museum and an Atatürk house. Instead of spending much time there, I took a walk that turned out a lot longer that I had expected. I saw all those green hills behind Rize, and just started walking up there.
Ways uphill are much curved, which I hadn’t really considered. I had only my small handbag and my camera with me. It was warm enough at the end of May to walk around in a T-shirt. But walking through mountains made me sweat. At least I was clever enough to buy a bottle of water in a small shop, just before the city ended and the tea fields began. They are stunning! The verdurous color is there as far as the eye can reach. In some places there are purple orchids. There were also many people working in the fields, most of them picked tea leaves. I also saw many heaps of those leaves gathered on the side of the road. Growing tea there is the main industry of the city. The kind of black tea that is grown there is even called Rize Tea. It is mainly used for Turkish tea. Even the package in my kitchen cupboard says that the tea derives from Rize.
I can’t tell you anymore how long I walked, but eventually I reached the top of a hill overlooking the city, called Dağsu. And there were several cafes and restaurants. I still remember how I was in heaven because even though I didn’t want to give up my walk, it was still nice to be close to civilization and a real toilet. I chose Dağhan, which offered a huge brunch buffet. Tea of course was included. And all the time I could see the Black Sea, Rize and all the lush green tea fields from the window. Just a general advice: You can also drive up there. I’d recommend that.
The way down was also long, but again beautiful. I talked to several women, who were curious about why I walked around there (I absolutely regret that I was never brave enough to ask all those people if I could take photos of them). Goats and their yeanlings ran around. And then the village atmosphere ended, the streets became better, and I was back in the city. In Turkish cities that are extending all the time, this passage is fluent. On the one corner there are still old single-family houses, on the other they have just started building another apartment complex. After my walk I also paid a visit to the Rize Castle, from where you have again a wonderful view at the city. Afterwards, I continued my trip and went to Uzungöl [here].
To me Rize is worth a visit, or rather the tea fields just behind the city. I could imagine to stay there for a few days, stroll through the fields and enjoy multiple cups of tea. Actually, once I have finished writing this post, I am going to brew myself a pot of Turkish tea. And with it I am going to eat my freshly baked pide bread, which is still warm from the oven.