Eymir Lake is a beautiful place, just south-west(ish) of Ankara, near ODTU forest. Snow had fallen the day before, but the day of the trip we had clear blue skies and fluffy white clouds; a perfect sky for landscapes views over the lake surrounded by snow covered trees.
It wasn't to be. We never made it to the lake. Electric failure in the middle of, well, for all intents and purposes, nowhere!
I was travelling with members of EFOT, the main photography club in the city where I live, two great people with wonderful galleries, their macro work is outstanding. Anyway, I digress. Just outside the town Emirdağ the electrics died (not the car in the photo). 90 minutes for the recovery. A freezing cold hillside, no cafe or tea house nearby. No tea house? This is Turkey!!! There are more tea houses in Turkey than..well, there's a lot of tea houses! But none here.
The scenery had been excellent, looking across to snow covered hills and rugged rocks near Sivrihisar. Patches of sun and cloud formed intriguing patterns on the slopes, with a village and minaret in the middle distance. If I'd had a long zoom with me to capture it well enough, I would have begged for a stop. A number of horse stables just off the road were particularly attractive scenes, the warm breathe of the animals catching the sunlight on the crisp morning.
Here though, at our unintended stop, the bright day of blue sky and clouds was replaced by just grey. We were further east, what would the weather have been like at the lake? Maybe more broken away from this high ground. We'd never know, it was irrelevant!
We walked from the car down to the edge of the town, the district I think is called Çilli (pronounced chilly), remarkably appropriate as that wind was whipping across the hill. A toilet was needed, as was a cuppa. I had a flask of English Tea, made with real Yorkshire Tea and fresh milk, but my friends needed tavşan kanı - the traditional strong, Turkish black tea, the colour of rabbits blood, hence the name: tavşan kanı! It tastes better than it sounds, honest, but not as good as tea with milk! The place was almost deserted. There were as many dogs, chickens and geese on the streets as people, if not more!
It's a disorganized district, lots of land with what seems to be privately built larger cottages, next to older, smaller houses with patches of wasteland between. A large power substation dwarfing many with it's towering mental soldiers that filed off, disappearing in every direction away from their barracks. Minarets rose above the rooftops too, a cami, or mosque, also suggests toilets nearby and perhaps shops and tea houses. Nope.
The three of us clicked at the street scenes; icicles, animals, a few folk that threw snowballs; anything that looked a bit interesting given that we had accepted that the landscapes and macros around the lake were not going to happen. My friends asked several times about tea houses, nothing. Around that old car, and the interesting pipes where we practiced some zoom bursts for abstracts, they asked again.
The middle aged gentleman eventually invited us in for coffee! How kind! I cannot photograph people in the street, I am too shy! Landscape and nature are more my thing, but he was one of those typical village guys with a very expressive face, and wonderful expressions when he spoke. He would have made a great subject for portraits.
The cottage, entered by steps up to the first floor, was very warm, heated by an old burner in the lounge. The coffee was hot and tasty. Turkish hospitality! Two kids sat in silence as the occupant talked with my two friends. My Turkish being nowhere near enough except to offer thanks, a pleasure of meeting, and more thanks!
"What was this weird foreign person doing in their house?" They must have thought that. Had they ever seen a foreigner in their town before? Weirdest of all was the old Turkish movie on TV. A common drama topic: love affairs with poorly staged fight scenes and 70s moustaches. Then a blonde lady standing in a black bra and panties. Eh? An old Turkish film, a bit racy, isn't it? The oldest of the two kids, a teenage, noticed it. The younger one had his face buried in something like the old Donkey Kong game...I choose to say nothing!
Out we went, more thanks given, and we carried on walking when the call came that the vehicle had been picked up. The recovery driver was ready to take us back home. I sat in the front cab with Osman Bey, sharing Turkish boiled sweets and sipping from my flask as we travelled back home. Another driver had skidded down a bank and we stopped to help and after the truck turned around to pull the stranded vehicle free, I snapped a few images out of the window. Nothing much to see, but momentos of the trip that wasn't. We didn't see Eymir Lake, but we had an adventure that was just as valuable. Eymir lake is still there and I am sure we'll try again!
We got some interesting shots, nothing for the portfolio perhaps, but this kind of incident helps you get creative with what you have in front of you! A memorable day out. Thank you to my two friends at EFOT, and of course Osman Bey and the kind folk with the coffee in the cottage!
Ever had a similar experience of a failed trip? Please share comments and photo links!
The Frustrated Photog.