Sumela Monestary, the Hamam and Hali Abi

See photos at Dick Osseman’s photo gallery: 



Saturday 17 September

            Sumela Monastery sits high in the mountains outside
Trabzon, having been built there by some variety of Christian monks an impressive number of years ago. All the details are there in the guidebook, so I don’t have to remember them. As is typical for these sorts of monks, I gather, the place is as remote as possible, deep in the forest, high above everything, accessible only by a single door atop a flight of a gazillion stairs, which, I don’t doubt were constructed using only a nail file or some such, penitent thing. The monastery was abandoned in during WWI. The way up is through beautiful, leafy hardwood forests, rushing brooks and steep ascents, just like home. Except for the hardwood trees, even the vegetation was similar. Stinging nettle (discovered the hard way), geranium, lantana, digitalis, even a brunella . The hike from the bus stop climbs 250 meters leaving the Turkish visitors in a lather despite their healthy-looking youth. The Continue reading

In Trabzon

see photos at Dick Osseman’s website:


     In Trabzon, in a room with hot and cold running cockroaches. Still haven’t seen even a single carpet for sale. Hoping for some textiles here. Woke up at 2:45 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. Truncated yoga on the bed whilst Alisa snored.

            Mike, the fellow we stayed with in Istanbul is hurtling through life toward destination mental disorder. His obsessive-compulsiveness is so prominent you can almost see it straining on him like a thousand hands, pressing on him, pushing and pulling him so hard, in so many ways, the veins stand out on his temple, straining with the effort to maintain a semblance of normalcy.  Tiny muscles move Continue reading