Headed out early Saturday with twenty other travelers for Lake Abant, a picturesque, freshwater lake about halfway between Ankara and Istanbul. The lake’s altitude is over 4300 feet. An hour or so after departure, our bus pulled over for a “bio-break” at one of many businesses found along roads throughout Turkey which offer tea, dining service, toilets, and small stores (I have yet to see a bus, public or private, with a toilet). The usual 15-minute stop almost always stretches to 20 or 25 minutes but no worries, we weren’t working or driving that day.
High overcast skies and a brisk yet warm wind greeted us as we disembarked the bus. Off I went on a four kilometer walk around the lake. Part crushed stone, part wooden walkway and mostly packed dirt and rock, the path passed a few hotels and restaurants as well as picnic areas. Some of our group rented bicycles and others rode horses.
After the walk, I sat and people-watched before lunch. Many families were picnicking and a few large groups such as ours jockeyed for table space. Lunch was prepared as we relaxed–grilled vegetables and three types of sliced meat heaped on a large bun. The sun came out partway through the meal; a nap seemed in order. Instead, I took a carriage ride around the lake. Four adults and one child plus driver in a decorated carriage pulled by two steeds. Lake Abant video We were pleased as punch at the beginning of the ride
but a bit shaky as the driver urged the horses to get up a short hill. It seemed like the horses were moving at a gallop but that could’ve been fear taking over as we watched the one-inch wheels (I’m not kidding!) wobble over the rocky road. I was leaning in, a friend seated kiddy corner from me was leaning the other way, and we were holding onto each other and any bit of the carriage we could reach. The resulting photo shows how we really felt.
We then drove for an hour to a smaller lake which had a two-mile walking path around it. My walk will have to wait for the next visit as the most energy I spent was deciding between tea and Turkish coffee as refreshment. Home before 11pm; a very good day.