Sunday 23rd October
My body clock was screaming at me in the morning. "Okay so we're now operating two hours ahead of UK time but does the alarm really have to go off at 6am?" Well, yes actually. We had an early start for the one hour drive to the Sumela Monastery. Prior to leaving the ship (at 7am) we went onto the upper deck to watch her dock at Trabzon, on the North East Turkish Black Sea Coast.
Sumela is a Byzantine monastery built onto a cliff face well into the mountains.. It is currently under going restoration. The coach could only get so far before we had to transfer to mini buses. And then after a while we had to abandon them and head off on foot along some steep and winding paths through the hills. Yet more photos taken to add to my burgeoning collection.
Back to the ship in time for lunch and then a general tour of Trabzon including a working mosque (shoes off at the door), one of the homes of Kemal Ataturk and St Sophie, the church the last Byzantine emperor built before the empire fell to the Ottomans - at which point it was converted to a mosque (it is now a museum with the original wall and ceiling paintings and iconography undergoing restoration).
Back to the ship again. Instead of eating in the main dining room, we had booked the Yacht Club, the restaurant on the top deck. On our last cruise on the Discovery, we had planned to eat in this restaurant but never got round to booking it. This time we are a bit more clued in so we booked the restaurant on Friday for Sunday evening and as we had such a good meal we have booked it again for this coming Friday. Tonight the meal was Far Eastern - mainly Japanese and Korean. This coming Friday it will be Italian.
The ship left Trabzon at 7pm to head for Batumi in Georgia. And unfortunately, the clocks went forward another hour. The maritime network still can't cope with emails (it happily does texts - and David keeps texting me from the other end of the ship when he can't find me!) so I wrote this originally on my blackberry last night (Sunday evening) only to find the damned thing still sitting there hours later. But I have at least got internet access on the ship to update the blog directly. And at 10p a minute, blogging has suddenly become expensive! (Meanwhile the phone network in Georgia I discovered this morning won't deal with emails either!)