Sinop to Safranbolu (Black Sea, Turkey)

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I wake in the lovely large apartment with an amazing view of the Black Sea out the windows. Even on an overcast day it is gorgeous out there. I am glad I didn’t sleep in the car somewhere on the roadside or try to set up the bivy in the rain. This is a far nicer waking experience. My plan for today is to drive to Safranbolu where I will spend a few nights before I head to the airport in Istanbul. It’s going to be a long drive but that’s okay … I have two rest days once I get to Safranbolu.

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I start my day by heading out to a nearby place on the Black Sea that is said to be like a Turkish fjord. It’s very beautiful where the rough sea water enters a small bay and swamp. I bet that it would be more amazing if it were sunny instead of drizzling. There’s a short walk and a huge flat muddy area where people can park and take in the view. I decide not to go on the walk because it is so wet and I have a long drive ahead of me.

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I decide I cannot leave Turkey without going to the northern-most point of the country. So I follow some narrow rural roads twisting my way past farmland. The shepherds have their sheep on the move everywhere in Turkey right now. They are shifting from the high summer pastures down to the warmer lowlands where they will spend the winter. Herds of cattle, sheep and goats just meander along the road as if they own the place. There’s no concern that it might inconvenience traffic because this is Turkey where little appears to occur in a hurry.

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Inceburun (the lighthouse) at the northern-most point of Turkey is wild and isolated. Apparently the same family has lived here for centuries tending to the lighthouse. I cannot imagine such an existence. Winter is coming to this part of the world and already it is cold and blustery. But oh so beautiful too.

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There’s a geocache hidden here near the lighthouse so I make my way almost as far north as I can go without getting wet from the waves and find the cache. The log is soaked through and I don’t have a replacement so I take a photograph of it to prove my coming here and then replace the cache as I found it.

Safranbolu is over six hours from the Inceburun. The highways are in good condition but the going is slow because there are frequent 50kph (31mph) and 70kph (43mph) zones to contend with and the maximum allowable speed is only 90kph (55mph). That’s not to say that the cars around me are sticking to the speed limit. They either drive well less than 50kph or well over 100kph with almost no middle ground. It’s crazy.

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I stop part way to Safranbolu for a short rest and notice that there should be a geocache hidden nearby at Boyabat Castle (spoiler – the geocache has been muggled). The castle stands atop a cliff-lined castle in the town of the same name. It was used and modified by generations of warrior kingdoms including the Byzantines and Ottomans but now lays in ruins.

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It’s almost eerie walking around here. Not for ghosts like yesterday’s historic prison but because there is a sense of neglect and plenty of rubbish everywhere.

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But, of course, the Turkish flag flies proudly on the old turret.

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And there are gorgeous views down over Boyabat village.

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The views of Boyabat might be gorgeous but the reality of driving through it are not. The streets are narrow and cobble-stoned. Turkish drivers seem to think double parking is okay if you turn on your hazard lights and there is no such thing as a no standing zone within the first few meters of a corner. At one point all the streets leaving town are blocked by double parking and at another I need to have help from a local pedestrian to maneuver the car around a corner lest I brush (crunch) against two parked cars (driving on the other side of the car really wreaks havoc with my sense of where the car is).

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But I got out of the village and arrived at Sari’s Pension in Safranbolu a few hours later. Here I was greeted by Sari and her husband who welcomed me warmly. I was shown to my private apartment (I booked it on Air BNB and paid about $AU28 a night) with separate bedroom, living area, kitchen and bathroom. It was absolutely gorgeous and set in a true Ottoman era building. I unpacked, relaxed and enjoyed the delicious hot lemon, mint and honey tea that Sari brought me.

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3 thoughts on “Sinop to Safranbolu (Black Sea, Turkey)

  1. The scenery looks incredibly British there; the grey seas and sky, lonely castles. Looks wildly beautiful too. And the driving, that sounds all-too-familiar to me being from Malta.

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