Sumela monastery and road #915

Ciao from Bayburt!

Saturday ride was nice on a mountainous landscape. Scenery varied from dry hills, damp valleays to unreal moon-like surface.
Quite soon after I left from the hotel I needed to stop. Big machinery was cleaning landslide, so I enjoyed a tea offered for me by the “flag guys”. How often have you had same situation, you need to stop due to some reason on a road and you are offered tea immediately? This is really amazing!!!

After cleaning was done, I continued forward towards my destination of the day, Sumela Monastery.

At some point my bike needed a refill, so I stopped for quick fill-up. Well, I thought that it would be a quick stop, but I did not notice tourist buss at the gas station…
After paying for the fuel, I walked back to my bike noticing that there were around 20-30 people around my bike! People had lot of questions, but discussions were not really fruitfull.
After around 10 minutes of sign-language, they brought one boy who spoke good english to translate their questions. I guess it took around 20 minutes to answer all their questions 🙂

Today´s last mountain pass was so high that the road disappeared in to the cloud. Small drizzle started, so I decided to stop and put gore-layer on to keep me dry. Ordered one tea while I was putting my clothes on (no idea how many cups of tea I have had in Turkey, but there are many). One older guy checked the licenseplate from my bike and came to talk to me. He knew (based on the licenseplate) that I came from Ulm. After short discussion I was ready to pay for my tea, but this old guy insisted that he wanted to pay for my tea! Again, an amazing surprise!

Now I was already close to my target of the day. Last stretch was small road up to the hill. I decided to ride all the way to the top, because I did not want to climb up wearing my motorcycle suit and boots.
There was a small parking area on the top of the hill and a massive chaos with the cars… Seems like everyone think they have the right of way and others should give room to them… Horns were screaming everywhere, I guess they thought that sounding horn will help with the situation… I think in the worst place I had to wait 10 minutes without moving at all, because the road was totally blocked with the cars and no-one could not move an inch.
Finally the mess was solved, I found a parking spot for the bike easily and walked to the monastery.
Unfortunately the monastery was inside the cloud, so photos are quite bad. But you can easily find good ones from google.
Based on the photos what I had seen from the monastery, I thought it would be bigger.
In any case, it was nice to see this historical place!

Sunday morning was really lazy. I left from the hotel around 12. I had a rough idea where to go, but no expectations at all.
I followed really boring coastal road to Of (past Sürmene) and turned towards inland from there. I had circle a village called Uzungöl on my map, so I decided to check what place it is. Small road lead me to this nice valley. Place seemed to be really popular, lot of people doing bbq everywhere. Mosque in the valley looked to be some sort of sight in the village. Place was too crowded for me, so I decided to take scenic route to Bayburt (marked as a scenic route on my map).

If you are looking for a nice gravel road and are not afraid of hights, then you can forget Stone Road and do road #915 from Ataköy to Bayburt instead!
This road is single lane gravel road and has some constructions ongoing . Partly quite rough and slippery (due to mud and stones). Total length of the road is around 100km, so you need to reserve enough time for this road.

There were few villages along the road and I it was really amazing to see people farming on these extremely steep slopes! Slope must have been close to 45 degree angle, but still people were farming there! I saw them gathering hay from these fields and I do not envy them, it must be really really tough to get the hay down from there…
Life must be very hard here… I saw women carrying huge piles of hay on their back, I am sure I could have not managed it…
Really need to raise my hat for these people, they are tough, really tough.

I stopped quite often to take photos, because scenery and the road were really mind boggling.
Because the road was narrow and slippery, I had to take it really slowly and carefully and mistake here would cause you your life…
Deep canyon right next to the road and no safety barriers, so this is not a place to do any “show off”.

I do not know how many hairpins I did today, but there were many. I had to admit that on a couple of spots I felt slightly uneasy due to deep canyon next to me. Tight slippery corners and riding inside the cloud did not make it any easier…

The highest point of the road was around 2330m (GPS showed 2350m) above sea level. I cannot describe this road well enough with writing, so you just need to ride this road 🙂

If you are looking for a little adventure, I highly recommend this road. It reminded me a bit of Ligurische Grenzkamm Strasse in Italy.

3 thoughts on “Sumela monastery and road #915

  1. I also started to envy you, really great views! And what a great beard you have grown. 😀

  2. I am so happy to see you driving around and enjoying the view and life. You had even busload of fans surrounding you 😉
    Keep on drinking tee. I think you are going to miss that at some point of your trip.
    Keep the spirit high. We have had continuous surge of companies spelling out their opportunities in job market here in Ulm. Looks like there is plenty of opportunities, you just need to find the correct one…be patient.
    And a big thanks for interesting reading.

  3. One more time fantastic pictures, Marko. Nice description as well of course – hmmm i am eny.
    cheerio Joachim

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