Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's blue, not black

The Black Sea has many, many colors, but black is not one of them. That's what I observed as we drove along it's edge for about five hours today. The range of blues and silvers and purples is more staggering in reality -- photos never show exactly what the real thing does. Regardless, here are a few pictures that show some of the faces of the sea that I saw in the last two days. 

This first photo and the following one are taken from the botanical garden in Batumi, Georgia. The garden is very large and hugs the coast line on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the sea. Katherine and I walked through part of it while waiting for James to arrive from his village yesterday. The garden has a forgotten, wild, unkempt beauty about it; Katherine called it the "Miss Havisham" of botanical gardens. Perfect description!! There are many overlooks onto the sea, and around every turn, the look of the sea was slightly different, slightly more blue or more gray from the last view.

This morning (Tuesday) I got up after a good night's sleep, and we packed up, had breakfast, and loaded into the marshutka before the sun came up. We wound our way back down the dirt road, picking up people on their way to work as we went. The sky lightened as we drove, and the steel-gray water changed to steel-blue as the day grew brighter. We got into Batumi before 9 a.m., and Mindea (our driver who we stayed with last night) took us directly to the bus station. He came into the terminal with us and got us on a bus to Trabzon that was just getting ready to leave. We thanked him profusely for everything. He told us to let him know if we ever needed a place to stay again. And we were off to Turkey.

If you look at a map, you'll see that the road from Batumi through northern Turkey runs right along the edge of the water. The road is actually cut into the side of the mountains in some places where the mountains rise right out of the sea. We went through several towns nestled into the valleys where rivers run out of the mountains to the sea. In each town, bridges spanned the river and brightly painted apartment buildings lined it. The blues from the sea bled into the river, all the way up into the snow-capped mountains, and to the clouds above.

Every time the sun went behind a cloud or mountain top, the blue disappeared out of the water, leaving only grays and dusky purples behind. But with the sun shining fully on the water, the blue reappeared.

I could only shoot from the moving bus, so I'm not entirely happy with my photos, but they show at least a little glimpse of the area and the drive.

The Black Sea was black at one point today.....at night when we flew into Istanbul!

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