Our school year had a painful drought of vacation this year from the beginning of February until the end of April. At the midpoint, we couldn’t take it any longer, so we rented a car from Istanbul on a Friday and set out on a UNESCO-inspired roadtrip with a couple friends. The first night took us to Safranbolu, an ancient village on the UNESCO World Heritage list for it’s well-preserved collection of Ottoman-era wooden buildings. After exploring the old city the next day, we continued north to the Black Sea coast and the beautiful outpost of Amasra. Together, the two cities made an incredible escape from the madness of Istanbul. Here are thirteen of my favourite moments:
We were pretty pleased to pick our bottom-tier rental car and find ourselves upgraded into a zippy little Aston Martin. It saved us a LOT of highway time! And the stereo was booming.
Not getting out of Istanbul (traffic!) until about 7pm, it was well past midnight when we finally arrived in the UNESCO village of Safranbolu for the night. Thankfully, we’d booked a wonderful bed and breakfast in advance, so we ditched our car and bags, grabbed some libations, and headed out to explore the town in the dark before bed.
The old wooden building housing our BnB was stunning in the morning light.
The owner’s son was a cellphone gaming fiend. Here, he exausts my friend’s battery while we sit and digest a farm-fresh breakfast.
The old village was incredible. We hiked through the crumbling streets up to a cemetery for a nice viewpoint.
The view from the cemetery. Safranbolu is a UNESCO World Heritage site as the old town down in the valley has a large number of Ottoman-era buildings which are well preserved. Really, the whole town is just stunning. Our next stop was the bottom of the hill to explore the marketplace before continuing on to the Black Sea.
This coppersmith had a whole building filled with his detailed work.
Sales were brisk at the glass-blower. The guy has the right idea, though. It’s impossible to just walk by this!
Our next stop was a resort town on the Black Sea Coast! In our enthusiasm for a road trip, we’d forgotten just how off-season we were; it was deserted. The water was VERY cold.
Shipping on Turkey’s Black Sea coast.
Finally, we arrived in Amasra, our last stop for the weekend. It was a stunning coastal village built around the ruins of a Byzantine fortress and church. The little island in the photo is called Rabbit Island, but we couldn’t see any rabbits from here.
Amasra was a cute town for an evening drink and wander – a great escape from the bustle, noise, and madness of Istanbul life!
We took our last photos of the scenic village the next day and carried on our way home. Back to work with only a few weeks to go before the next vacation!