Across Continents

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Out of season

It was gone nine. Tired of my frequent banging on the hotel’s front door, the night porter had eventually risen from his couch and let me in. He shuffled off, I hoped, optimistically, to prepare breakfast of sorts. I’d arrived late the previous night into the small Black Sea town of Turkali.

There was just one place to stay, a collection of seaside holiday apartments dotted around a small hotel. It wasn’t expensive, but I still felt a bit aggrieved. Nothing worked. My efforts to complain resulted in shrugged shoulders. The few other residents seemed equally lethargic, wrapped up in their jackets and woollen hats to fend off the indoor chill.

I’d left the warmth of Alapli the previous day, making steady progress to the large industrial town of Zonguldak. Grim. I’d decided to leave the main highway, instead following the smaller coastal road towards what I hoped would be some lovely seaside towns and villages. What I found was impossibly steep climbs and plunging descents, amidst endless urban sprawl. I stopped briefly in Catalagzi which, like the railway marshalling yards along its length, seemed much neglected. It would soon be dark, no choice but to continue along the valley in search of the coast. It was this that had brought me to Turkali.

Breakfast, when it eventually appeared, was the establishment’s one and only redeeming feature. The bill settled, time to move on. I’d heard that the fishing port of Amasra, sixty or so kilometres along the coast, was definitely worth a visit. It could only get better.

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