Impressions and photos by Kim Gould from the H3A trip to Bolu in May 2017
We expected torrential downpours and cool weather but our raincoats and umbrellas remained untouched as the rain thoughtfully fell when we were in a restaurant or on the bus.  During the three days we saw some of the breathtakingly beautiful lakes in the Black Sea Region around Bolu; every one of them alive with a chorus of mating frogs and toads.  Everything here is on a grand scale – towering dark green pine trees interspersed with bright green birch and beech, massive rhubarb-like marsh plants and the giant edible Turkish snail.

Abant and Gölcük are lovely serene lakes with paths and walkways, bicycle, pony and phaeton rides.  Most of us chose to circumnavigate at least one of them on foot.  The highlight though was Yedigöller, a much wilder place altogether with dense forests, snow melt waterfalls and seven lakes. Here all manner of birds, animals, trees and plants live.  Our Milli Park guide routinely sees bears in the winter.  The drive there took us through communities of tin and rustic wooden houses. These yaylas were largely uninhabited, their occupants yet to return to the high pastures with their livestock now that the snow has melted.

After a beautiful walk from lake to lake on varying levels and under a canopy of green with damp fallen leaves underfoot we ended our tour with a barbecue picnic at the edge of the forest where the resident mangalci grilled our sucuk (spicy Turkish sausage) and poured us tea brewed on a wood burning stove.

Thanks go to Selçuk and Camille, Gülsen of Novitas Tourism and our driver Abdullah for his skilful negotiation of countless hairpin bends and a particularly perilous section of unmade road.
Photos and text by Kim Gould.


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