Ordu

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Built in the shadow of a huge hill called Boztepe, Ordu is a good base from which to visit the glorious yaylas (highland plateaus) that rise up farther inland. Its selection of budget hotels is limited, however, and apart from a restored Ottoman house cum ethnography museum, there are few’ sights to speak of: a fire destroyed the old town in 1883. A leading world producer of hazelnuts, Ordu hosts the Golden Hazelnut Festival (Fındık Şenliği) in late June and early July, which includes folk music and singing contests.

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BEETLEMANIA

Some things are universal. The Turkish word for Volkswagen driver, “VosVoscuimplies a certain friendly openness. Started five years ago by Beetle fanatic Enis Ayar, the long-haired, energetic owner of Ordu’s Ayşığı Cafe, the July festival brings VosVoscu together in Ordu’s beautiful countryside. Though it varies from year to year, the general plan of each year’s festival is the same. After congregating in Ordu, scores of Beetles, which Turks call Kaplumbağa (turtles), come from all over the country, and sometimes as far as Greece, and proceed to the highlands, where they camp, hike, and drive in a large loop that takes them inland to the 3100m lake, Karagöl, and then back to Giresun. The festival offers fantastic opportunities to relax, hike, eat fresh trout, meet dozens of friendly peopie, and ogle Mr. Ayar’s four converted Beetles; one normal, one jeep, one pick-up truck, and one limousine.

TRANSPORTATION

Dolmuş (line #2) run to and from the otogar ($.30), 1km east of the city center. To walk from the otogar to the city center, turn left and follow’ the highway for 15-20min. Most buses stop in the city center. Metro (214 12 30) and Ulusoy (214 16 54) buses run to: Amasya (6hr.; 5:30pm; $9.50, students $8); Ankara (9hr.; 4 per day 9:30am-9pm; $17.50, students $14.50); Bursa (15hr.; 5 per day 2:30-7:30pm; $25.50, students $22); Diyarbakır (18hr.; 5:30pm; $21, students $19); Erzincan (12hr.; 10am; $19, students $17); Erzurum (8hr.; 2pm; $16, students $14); İstanbul (14hr.; 5 per day 6-8pm; $27, students $22.50); İzmir (18hr.; 3 per day 4-8:30pm; $29, students $24); Konya (12hr.; 1, 5:30pm; $24, students $21); Malatya (12hr.; 5:30pm; $17.50, students $15); Rize (6hr.; 11:30am; $7, students $6); Samsun (3hr.; every hr. 9am-9pm; $5.50, students $4.50); Sivas (11hr.; 5:30pm; $13, students $12); Trabzon (4hr.; frequent; $5, students $4); Tokat (7hr., 5:30pm, $13).

ORIENTATION AND PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Ordu lies along the coastal highway Atatürk Bul. From the Atatürk statue in the city center, on the waterfront, Hükümet Cad. runs inland toward the PTT and the museum. Boztepe, a majestic hill 8km away, overlooks the entire coast. Forest and sea meet at Kiraz Limanı, a harbor 2km west of the city center.

The helpful tourist office, 117/A Atatürk Bul., is in the city center and has an English-speaking staff. (223 16 08. Open M-Sa 8am-noon and l-5pm; in winter closed Sa.) Next door, Çotanak Tur Seyahat Acentası, 112 Atatürk Bul. (225 20 54; fax 214 15 49), sells THY tickets and other travel services. Banks with ATMs arc on Hükümet Cad. Other services include pharmacies on Hükümet Cad. and the hospital (225 01 80; open 24hr.). Internet access is at the six-computer Comuf Internet Cafe, Süleyman Felek Cad., 58 Kayserilioğlu Sok., along the highway, about 200m west of the city center and opposite the Pikola Cinema. (»24163 88; fax 225 29 94. $1 per hr. Open daily 8:30am-midnight.) The PTT is 100m up Hükümet Cad. from the coast. (Mail services 8:30am-12:30pm and l:30-5:30pm.) Postal code: 52100.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Ordu’s hotels arc an uninspiring bunch. The best value, Otel Kervansaray , 1 Kazim Karabekir Cad., in the middle of the town square, offers 38 basic rooms, most with bath. With your back to the Atatürk monument, walk left; the hotel’s sign is to the light, across the street and behind the municipal building. (214 13 30. Singles $5, with bath $6.50; doubles $8, with bath $12; triples $9.50, with bath $14.50) About 200m farther east along the coast lies the better quality, 64-room Turist Hotel , 134 Atatürk Bul. Sunny rooms overlooking the sea suffer from the noise from the coastal road; a recently renovated section offers quieter choices. All rooms have bath and TV. (214 9115; fax 214 19 50. Breakfast included. Singles $13; doubles $22; triples $30.)

FOOD

Across from the Atatürk Monument, all-purpose cafe-bar-restaurant- art gallery-cinema II Ayışığı  (223 28 70), 1 Atatürk Bul., serves delicious local specialties such as Boztepe kebap (chicken and köfte with peppers, potatoes, garlic, and yogurt; $3) and sauteed mushrooms ($1.40). Run by charismatic Enis Ayar’, founder of the Volkswagen Beetle Festival, the restaurant proudly declares “aile salonumuz yok!” (“We have no family room!”). On a pier across from the Turist Hotel, Midinin Yeri (Midi) Restaurant , 55 İskele Üstü, offers sea views and a wide selection of Black Sea seafood, including alabalık (trout) with salad from $4. (214 03 40. Open daily 8am-1am.) Bulvar Cafe , Atatürk Bul. No. 98, just west of the main square, offers a wide-ranging English language menu. (3-223 02 76. Spaghetti $1.50; pizza $2.) Two restaurants dish out the favorites on top of Boztepe. Boztepe Çamluk Restaurant (a- 229 00 22) is a picnic restaurant take your food out-side and eat in a large garden. The other restaurant, across the road, is a more formal dining option. Both sport unbeatable views of the coast below. Ordu is world famous for its hazelnuts and chocolates, exported from its Sağra factory to the rest of Europe. At the Sağra Nuthouse 0, 95 Süleyman Felek Cad., you can sample the delicious sweets (hazelnut chocolates $5 per kg).

SIGHTS

The Ordu Paşaoğlu Konağı, an impressive 19th-century mansion, is home to the Ethnography Museum ( 223 25 96) and stands out clearly from the other, more drab houses along the road. The first floor contains the standard assemblage of carpets, swords, and traditional dress, while the second floor has been decorated in traditional Ottoman fashion. Turn right at the town center, pass the PTT, and turn left into Selimiye Mali., at the intersection of Taşocak Cad. and Erkoçak Sok. (Open daily 9am-noon and l-5pm. $1.50, students $1.) Saray Hamam, Hükümet Cad. No. 49, between the PTT and the Ethnography Museum, offers kese for $1.25 and bath for $2. (223 30 43. Open daily 5am-llpm, women only Sa 10am-5pm.) The Belde Hotel, Kirazlimanı Mevkii, 1km west of the town center, opens its pool to non-guests. (214 39 87. M-F $5, Sa-Su $6.50.) When night falls, settle into the rhythm of the Black Sea and stroll along the Kordon (shoreline), where vendors sell boiled corn, sweets, and nuts. There are rock tombs 10km inland from Ordu, in Bübenköy and Delllkkaya. Dolmuş run 8am-3pm.

DAYTRIP FROM ORDU: ÇAMBAŞI AND TURNALIK YAYLAS

 A visit to Ordu is not complete without a stop in the pristine mountain highlands of Turnalik Yayla and its larger neighbor Çambaşı Yayla (1850m), 2:Ahr. south of the city. A seemingly endless skyward climb through broken mountain roads leads to this cool, misty paradise with flowering alpine pastures, rocky crags, and icy mountain streams. At 3000m, the weather can be unpredictable: warm, sunny sides can disappear instantly under a blanket of thick fog. When the sun does shine, however, it is hard to be unmoved by the verdant landscapes. Yaylas have tiny populations, and services are very limited. Both these yaylas are comprised of only one main road with the barest of restaurants and shops.

Çambaşı has a number of cheap, basic hotels along the one main street; try bargaining, since prices are sometimes inflated for Western tourists. Otal Doğan  has four clean rooms, orthopedic beds, a shared shower, and squat toilet. (844 23 03. Singles $3; doubles $6; triples $9.) A much better option for Çambaşı is to follow’ the signs at the end of the main street for 3km to Ertaş (214 19 69 or 844 20 10), a restaurant, campground, and trout fishery set in a spectacular valley. Ertaş provides three person tents for $8 per person (price is the same if you have your own tent) and serves up fresh trout with style ($4 per kg).

If the weather is bad or if you don’t fancy camping, try the comfortable Turnalik Dağ Evi , in Çelikkıran, just outside Turnalik. This six-room, two-floor lodge is owned by the Belde Otel in Ordu and has some of the most stunning views in the area. A sends bus makes the 2hr. trip from the hotel in Ordu ($32), but a much cheaper option is to take the minibus heading to Çambaşı and ask to be dropped at Turnalik Dağ Evi. From the drop-off point, a signposted 1km duty’ road leads to the lodge. The lodge is surrounded by some of the best views in the area, including mini waterfalls. Ask for directions to the nearby fish restaurant. (»214 39 87. Breakfast $3. Singles $8; doubles $12.)

Twenty-five kilometers beyond Ertaş lies a huge crater, Karagül, at an altitude of 3100m. The trip takes about 2hr. by car, but may require a 4D vehicle and partial access by foot. There’s not much to see at the crater itself, except for a number of small stone settlements. Herders move to Karagül in the summer; in winter the area is covered in snow. (Three minibus companies have service from Ordu to Çambaşı (2hr., 6:30am-7pm, $2.50) and Turnalik (1hr., 6:30am-7pm, $1.50), of which the best is Çambaşı Seyahat (214 47 02), on İsmet Paşa Cad. Çambası and Turnalik are separated by a 20min. drive down sleep, winding mountain roads.)

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