The Amazing Awesome Anatolian Roadtrip Diary.

Copyright 2011 Brendan Mackie

Smashwords Edition 1.0

Day One: Trabzon and Sümela Monastery

A year ago me and my girlfriend moved to Istanbul to plunge into what we imagined would be lives of oriental adventure. But during the school year we plodded through our jobs as elementary school teachers at a plodding nine-to-five pace. On the weekends we would sometimes muster the energy to explore the great city of Istanbul. But after twelve months, we had become jaded with the mosaics and the palaces. We had seen it all before, and taken pictures before, and read the information plaques before. The smog-filled sticky heat of summer laid over the city, and we were listless. Last Friday finally, school ended.

We rented a car and gathered a trio of friends recruited from Wisconsin, Istanbul, and Arkansas. We will see the country—all of it—or as much of it as we can manage. We met in a hotel in Trabzon late Saturday morning, excited and hopeful.


Trabzon is an ancient port on the Black Sea, founded in the 8th Century BC. Once known as Trebizond and a key part of the Roman Empire, the city has stood while Empires have surged and crashed around it. From Alexander to Augustus, from Justinian to Mehmet the conqueror to Ataturk, each has laid his own claim to the city. And when he left, the city remained behind, facing the blue sea as always. The streets follow a tangled course, jumbling around squares and apartment buildings, rising and falling and overlapping. Through these arteries cars weave around each other brazenly, avoiding accident again and again at the last minute.

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