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Kaçkar Daðlari, North Eastern Anatolia: A Hiking Trip

by libralady (1/18/2009)

Part 3

Day 5 – Avusor to Çamlýhemþýn

Breakfast was soon assembled; we were getting used to the format by now, and were greeted by the villagers and more tea.  The boys appeared outside, playing and trying to attract our attention, and the village puppy, that insisted on biting everyone that passed it.  He was such a playful thing and took delight in his new found friends, nipping ankles and bottoms at will.  It was so relaxing to rest here.  Everyone in the village had their role, from small children with their mothers, hitting the bottoms of the cows with a stick as they were herded back to the mountains.  The older men seemed to be in charge of hospitality, with the older women most probably prepared any food require.  The young boys did what young boys do; play football, whistle, throw an old tennis ball, and just generally mess around.  And while I edit this page, I realise that we did not see any little girls playing like the boys.


We packed up all our belongings and restored the tables and chairs inside the hut to their original position.  We sat out side, watching the boys play and trying to stop the naughty village puppy from biting!  The puppy was a delight – he wanted to play just like a child, I don’t think he was used to all the attention and was revelling in it.


Before long, the Dolmuþ arrived, with the front panel lifted to stop the engine from over heating.  One thing we did not know, due to the cloud, was how far up the mountain we still was or how steep and precarious the journey down was.  We loaded our bags and jumped on the bus, a young boy hung to the side and the boys we played with were waving to us, as we began the next leg of our journey to Çamlýhemþýn and the Otel Doða.


We loaded ourselves onto the bus, and off we went.  A most precarious journey one could describe, but a wonderful one at that.  I keep saying about the scenery, but unless you see it for yourself it is very difficult to describe to give it the emphasis on its beauty that it deserves.  And besides, it would make this essay even longer.  It is suffice to say, wooded mountain side, cascading water falls, awe inspiring beauty!


After some time we reached Ayder, the modern beginning for the seasoned hiker, with a few shops, cafes and a completly different atmosphere to the village we had just left high above us.  In the Rough Guide it tells you that this is the highest permanently inhabited settlement in the Hemþin valley.  It is no longer a genuine yayla (village), but revels in commercialism that comes with the hiking tourists.  Despite this slightly negative view it was a welcome site, to see the Efes signs hanging from the cafes.  But our journey was not over yet, and we reached our destination, Çamlýhemþýn and the Otel Doða, in a short time with the Dolmuþ driver taking us to the “doorstep” for a small fee.


The Otel Doða is described in the Rough Guide as “rambling and somewhat institutional”, well rambling I can confirm, with something like gords growing all over the bank of the river and washing hanging trying to dry in the spray.  But institutional? not really, I considered it to be friendly and welcoming and we were able to make the terrace over looking the river “ours”!


Unloading our bags we were greeted by the Turkish owner, proficient also in French and English.  Tea arrived and we rested for a short time and then were shown our rooms.  Basic in UK terms, but all the more welcoming, with shower and bed!  What more could a weary traveller want.  The water of a fast flowing river, similar to the Çoruh River, was rushing past us at an alarming rate, which was just a few steps from our rooms.  We soon found our way to the rivers edge and the little sandy beaches.  Out comes the medieval fishing rod (a stick with a bit of line and hook) and an attempt to catch dinner was now being undertaken.  The fishing being rather unsuccessful, a trip to the local fish farm was the order of the day.


We spent the evening on our self-styled outdoor eating area, me attempting to cook dinner.  A really strange experience when you are not used to the equipment. All the same it tastes good and we soon ate our dinner including a bottle of raki, and time for bed and the beginning of a long journey home.

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