Abant is about 2 and 1/2 hours drive north west of our home in Ankara. It's about the same distance from Istanbul and also about the same distance from the Black Sea coast. From Ankara or Istanbul, it's a very doable weekend trip. And well worth the drive.
The main attraction of Abant, in my opinion, is the lake. It's entirely surrounded by hilly forest and meadows.
We found a gorgeous spot only steps away from the water in a little field carpeted in wild flowers and backed by pine trees.
True to the weather forecast, it did rain, but fortunately only lightly and only for a few minutes (and unfortunately, while we were putting our tents up and cooking lunch).
The trip was kind of a last minute thing so we weren't efficiently prepared. Instead we just took everything, including heaps of blankets and pillows and lots of food, most of which was bread and tea...! Although Murat, Kaya and I eat very little bread, the mother-in-law packed 8 loaves of bread and 2kg of tea leaves!!! We were only away for 2 days!
Oh, we had such a relaxing good time. Ky had a ball! He loved the fire.
He loved the tents. He loved the field of flowers.
He loved using his old "baby" potty underneath the tree. He loved the horses pulling carriages of singing visitors around the lake. He loved the sounds of thunder at night. He loved rolling big rocks into the lake..
During the first afternoon we walked to a nearby park on the lake and came across a bunch of people peacefully performing tai chi. Ky immediately joined in and as everyone lifted their arms, he yelled out at the top of his voice, "Picking apples! Picking pears!" The tranquil atmosphere was shattered as everyone laughed and laughed. I guess everyone was familiar with the well-known children's game where the kids stand on their tip-toes and reach up high pretending to pick fruit from imaginary trees while singing "picking apples, picking pears..."
We're definitely going to do this again soon.