DESTINATIONS THAT PROMISE FEELINGS TO TOUCH TO YOUR SOUL HERE AROUND A CAMPFIRE OR THERE IN A BOAT IN A LAKE COVERED WITH WATER LILIES.
Romance is undoubtedly a healing feeling for the soul and at every opportunity it connects people to their loved ones and to life. But let’s speak of the truth; it is also a matter of distress for many to make a compelling effort to live and keep this feeling alive every year, especially on February 14, Valentine’s Day. In fact, many destinations of our country, each offering more impressive experiences than the other, welcome both couples and singles. It is possible to capture a romantic moment, a warm look and an intimate conversation when we pursue the feelings that traveling embraces and beautifies. Here are the destinations that promise feelings to touch to your soul here around a campfire or there in a boat in a lake covered with water lilies.
Polonezköy is a Polish village near İstanbul, founded by freedom fighters far from their country. Today, the community living here is insistent on keeping their traditions while remembering their ancestors. Polonezköy, where hostels with valley view, restaurants with acres of gardens, and hotels with large pools take place, is a ‘holiday village’ which is now a favorite of people who go to health spas, have their weddings at the poolsides of nice hotels, love to spend time in front of the fireplace, and enjoy their barbecue while kids play outdoors, and a popular weekend destination. It is also one of the most preferred places for fresh air and walking by those living in İstanbul. See the Village Cemetery and The Memorial House of Aunt Zofia (Zofia Teyze’s Anı Evi); walk through the trails surrounded by trees. You do not have to spend the night to have a nice Sunday breakfast in one of the accommodations, most of which are open throughout the year. Leonardo Restaurant-Café with fireplace, Polina Guesthouse, famous for its Polish cakes, Stella Guesthouse with its fireplace and garden offering a rural experience, Fredi Pansiyon-Obora Inn & Restaurant are among the classics of the village. You hit the bullseye if you can come here on weekdays to skip the weekend crowd.
Winter, too, has its spring
With the effect of global warming, autumn is now shifting towards winter. Some leaves are still on branches with a variety of autumn colors. It only snows on the high hills of the Idas; rains are not stubborn. With a backpack, a windbreaker and a pair of boots, no extra effort is needed to enjoy the area. Romance accompanies you with all its naturalness. There are small hotels in the Idas among the green landscape. By breathing clean air into your lungs, roaming the flowing waterfalls and ponds around, talking with cheerful village women, tasting the seasonal herbs, learning new recipes you’ve never heard before, you can enjoy nature blissfully. You will never regret that you sat in front of the fireplace and tried the extraordinary dishes made by Erhan Şeker, the owner and the chef of the Hotel Zeytinbağı, which is famous for its food. In addition, a thousand different kinds of healing Aegean herbs bedazzle you. This season’s bonus is to take home the fresh made virgin olive oil, green olives, fresh Aegean herbs, and local cheeses. The romance in the Ida Mountains welcomes you with a feast.
It is not possible to exclude Cappadocia from this list when it comes to romance. Cappadocia is a place for all seasons. Carved into volcanic rocks, Turkey’s most amazing and extraordinary hotels are here. The options for having a good time in this area are endless. Walks in the sunset, trekking in the valleys, horseback rides in the river, balloon rides above Cappadocia… There are about 360 carved churches in the area. Every step taken in this place can be charming. Especially if it snows on the illuminated fantastic rock formations, this image may enter among your most memorable moments. Depending on the weather, it is fascinating to look at this region from the sky inside a balloon. Gamirasu Cave Hotel, located in Ayvalı, one of the most pristine villages of Cappadocia situated in a valley full of abandoned rock settlements, has a distinctive place with its gorgeous garden, breathtaking terrace especially at nights, and spacious authentic cave rooms among the other accommodations in the area. If you want to enjoy the Jacuzzi in your luxury cave, one of the most striking hotels in the region, the Museum Hotel’s 95 square meters of Sultan Suite is for you. If your dream is a meal by the fireplace, listening to Jazz, Ziggy’s Café in Ürgüp makes up for the lack of elegant places in the area. We do not know how romantic you would find eating pumpkin seeds roasted in milk over the wood fire from Beyzade Kuruyemiş (dried nuts), but they will certainly appeal to your taste buds.
The warmth of wood
I have always believed that the warmth of wood is always good for the human soul. In the heart of nature, in an environment free from pretension, for those couples who want to be alone, Turkey is a country with plenty of alternatives. Safranbolu is visited on every opportunity with its nostalgic ambiance, cobblestone streets, authentic bazaar, and mansions. It’s a good feeling to be able to touch the past here. For example, Cinci Han Hotel is noteworthy among the accommodation options. Emin Efendi Mansions with bay windows projecting towards Yeşilırmak in Amasya, built on the walls of the Roman period is also another good option. The place looks magnificent especially at nights because it is illuminated. When the place comes to life at night and the lights begin to sparkle on the waters of Yeşilırmak, there is no need to look for romance elsewhere. Nişanyan Houses, which is one of the best places to carry the spirit of Şirince, one of the most beautiful villages in the Aegean, is an important alternative for those who happened to be in Kuşadası. Options are plenty in Mudurnu, which is built in a deep valley and became lively in a short time with its restored mansions; Değirmen Yeri Ormaniçi Mountain Houses and Hacı Abdullahlar Mansion are some of them. Beypazarı is not different, the houses are under protection; the mansions are transformed into delightful hostels for those who want to sleep and wake up in history. You will be welcomed with great hospitality in the wooden mansions such as the historical Taş Konak, Hacı Bostan Konağı, and Cırcırların Konağı.
Another time in Bodrum…
Bodrum may be a rainy, damp, and quiet town in winter for those who prefer coming here in summers. You see the locals around more; the town experiences its whole naturalness at this time of the year… Now a highly popular holiday town, Bodrum, with a history of three thousand years, was the symbol of a free and simple life in the middle of the sea or on the shores of the city. It is as if Bodrum lives in a totally different dimension in winters. Now, you can find more intimacy and romance than ever in Bodrum, which is free from the summer crowd. The view of Bodrum and the Aegean Sea from the ancient theater of Bodrum, which is one of the oldest known stone theaters of ancient times, is breathtaking. Don’t miss to see the Bodrum Castle, which was damaged by bombardments in the World War I. Would you prefer seeing the skeletons of the chained galley-slaves at 3.5 meters below the ground or the medical tools and equipment of a period in the Yılanlı Tower? Don’t forget to look at Bodrum from the French Tower. In addition, the world’s oldest shipwreck is on display in the world’s largest Museum of Underwater Archeology. You should also stop by the Zeki Müren Museum. Do not skip to see the vicinity of Bodrum. Stroll around the rural roads of Bitez, visit the bazaar of Gumusluk where different designs are exhibited, walk around the stone houses of the village of Karakaya, climb to the abandoned Sandıma Village in Yalikavak, the village of spongers. Buy beads from Gündoğan that was able to keep its structure despite unplanned urbanization. See the old windmills in Ortakent’s village… Bodrum is a different place when it finds its true identity.
The lake decorated by the lilies…
The first hours of the morning… Apolyont Lake is starting a new day. The fishermen of Gölyazı are preparing to release their nets into the waters of silver, with the first lights of the sun. Fishing here is beyond being a livelihood, it is a way of life. The battle of life in boat lasts a lifetime without distinction between women, children and the elderly. The Gölyazı (Apolyont) exit to the left 30 km before reaching to Bursa on the İzmir-Bursa highway advances among olive trees on both sides of the road and it finally reaches the lake shore after 5 km. This ancient town, which dates back thousands of years, has a distinct scent of history from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. The lake that took its name after the Temple of Apollo had written the fate of the town of Gölyazı. The crayfish that live in the fresh waters of the lake along with pike, bream, and carp are the source of livelihood of the locals of Apolyont. While crayfish also becomes a source of food for the local people with its high amount of protein and calories, it takes its place on the tables around the world at the end of its journey. At the entrance of the bridge, sit in the tea house where the five centuries old Crying Sycamore is located and go to Zambak Tepe before you watch the Lake Uluabat. In the morning, the Gölyazı village on the small peninsula will be receiving its most beautiful light. Do not miss the fish auction at 11:30. Settlement in this region was founded by Milesians in the 6th century BC. There are traces of it on Kız Island, one of the nine islands on the lake. The village is actually built on an island. Over time, it is connected to the land by alluviums. When the waters rise, the location of the island becomes more pronounced. In this shallow freshwater lake, the fishermen thrust their oars in the sand to set sail. Women knit or fish with their husbands. They believe that this brings more abundance. When they return to the village, the fish are immersed in the lake in a net to keep their freshness until the auction. The largest of the surrounding islands is Manastır (Nailbey) Island. There are remains of the Temple of Apollo in Kız Island, one of the closest islands. In fact, there is this temple on the face of the coins of Roman Emperor Caracalla. It is known that the stones of the temple were used in the Haydarpaşa port in İstanbul. Traveling through the reeds by boat in the lake is a must. Especially if it is April or May, water lilies paint the lake white. If there is a flower, there is romance!