Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Our Black Sea Break
We just spent an amazing 3 weeks in the mountains inland from the tiny town of Pazar on the Black Sea coast of Turkey. Hubby's family reign from this area and still have several properties scattered throughout the mountains from both his mother's and father's sides of the family. Both families were (many many years ago) dairy farmers. Due to the extreme temperatures of the area, the farmers would gradually move their herds up and down the mountain from one property to the next with the changing seasons. The families still retain land from each of these grazing pastures.
In the weeks we were there, we visited several of these properties, some with the original houses still standing, others with no more than a few bricks on the land. Without exception, every place was incredibly beautiful.
Words and pictures cannot adequately describe the beauty, the atmosphere, and the smells of these places. But hopefully these photos will give you at least an idea of why I'm so in love with this part of the world.
The first place we visited was my mother-in-law's hilltop property called 'Sugidap'. Unfortunately, the original house was left to the elements and over the years the house collapsed and one by one, every brick was taken by thieves. The MIL loves this place so much that she's started rebuilding there. To maintain the authenticity she brought a 'serander' (grain storage house) from another property and is having it remodelled into a holiday house. As much as possible she intends to keep the original look of the serander, combined with the style of the original house. I'm very much looking forward to see the finished product in a few months.
Next was my father-in-law's house in 'Badara'. The home has been pretty much kept in it's original condition. It's hard to believe the colours have withstood more than 100 years.
We also stayed a few days in some other relatives' homes. This one belongs to FIL's sister's husband's family.
This one, I call the bat house because on the first day we stayed there (which was also the first day anyone had stayed there for over a year) we were "attacked" by bats! Really! I woke several times in the night to bats flying around the room. But scariest of all, early in the morning I awoke again (for the last time that night) to a baby bat on my pillow, another crawling on my leg, and one of the parent bats dive-bombing right into the bed! Ewwwwww....
We took a few day trips up the mountain to see some of the other properties. This one is called 'Cupendos'. And honestly, it is a little paradise. One of the most beautiful places I've ever seen in my whole life. Imagine this: a lush green meadow scattered with wild flowers and mossy boulders, a white-water river gushing along one side, enormous mountains covered in pine trees towering all around, birds, bees, and peace. Sound nice? Well it's even better than that!
I love this place.
Another beautiful place we visited is called 'Ayder'. Another lovely valley. This one backed on one side by the great Kackar mountains, complete with waterfalls and rainforest, and on the other side grassy hills. A really pretty place.
The last place we visited is called 'Merze'. It took two hours to drive to this plateau up above the clouds high in the mountains. The air was so clean and the air was so fresh. But I found it difficult walking around without feeling a bit dizzy.