Last October was a harsh month. It was full of ups and downs which I will probably never discuss on this site. Some stories shall stay untold. I will only reveal one thing. The more tired I was, the itchier my feet were getting. One evening I was curled up in my bed daydreaming about future trips I could take. And I mean future trips from Yerevan, which is not always easy. Airplane fares to any destination that isn’t located in Russia are usually extremely expensive. Two out of four borders are closed. Iran isn’t exactly a place where you go for a weekend getaway. After some time in the Caucasus you just don’t fancy Georgia anymore. Where to go then? Where to go to travel on the cheap and by land?
There is always Turkey. I know, I know. It’s probably better no to get too close to the Turkish-Armenian border. This is where Georgia comes in. Georgia and her cheap bus connections to numerous Turkish cities. Because of health issues at that time I couldn’t take a long ride which made me literally google random cities across the border. I wanted this trip, I needed this trip. Just for the sake of change and baklavas.
I’ve known nothing of the city of Trabzon but there was a daily overnight bus from Tbilisi and the name had something nice to it. A simple google search introduced me to the Sumela Monastery. I saw the picture and I knew that was it. I had to see it.
I did as I said. I arrived to Trabzon too early in the morning. My hotel was full. An armchair in the reception served me as a bed till breakfast was ready and the first shuttles to Sumela were taking off. At 9.00 I was already in the bus. I was so excited to finally see the monastery that I forgot how sleepy I was.
Sumela’s walls have certainly seen a lot. This Greek Orthodox monastery is more than 1600 years old. It is located outside of Trabzon in the mountainous Macka region. I’ve heard it is built on and surrounded by rocks, which I can only imagine because on the day of my long awaited visit everything was veiled in milky fog.
Sumela’s walls have not only seen a lot. They also tell us a lot as they are partially covered in beautiful frescoes portraying Biblical scenes, mostly from the lives of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary.
People I met on the way were telling me they were sorry for my bad luck. You should have come in summer, they said. But I loved the fog. The place didn’t feel real. It was like a fairy tale seen from afar, like a story with the plot nearly forgotten but never gone. I was equally cold and charmed. If someone ever asks me if it’s worth it to go to Sumela in off season, my answer will certainly be yes.