Seasons touch our souls… All four seasons welcome us along with different colors. April is quite different. The spring might come with a bit of a feign reluctance but April has many promises to make one feel warmer and forget about the winter’s cold. The spring comes with its herald and colors. Each color takes us on a journey towards the rainbow…
ONE THOUSAND AND ONE COLORS OF THE TULIPS/İSTANBUL
Emirgan Grove, Yıldız Park, Gülhane Park, Sultanahmet Square… These are the landmarks that must be in the list of the person who wants to make the best of İstanbul. However, our lives go on and eventually end… But İstanbul does not and this list ever-lengthens… These locations are especially in their most beautiful appearances in April thanks to the tulips. The tulip, being a significant symbol of the Turkish culture in terms of traditions and culture, animates the streets, gardens, parks, and squares in April. The city is colored in one thousand and one different tones during the Tulip Festival. The 1453 square meter Tulip Carpet, where for the first time 564 thousand tulips were used in making, created a magnificent view within the scope of the İstanbul Tulip Festival at the Sulthanahmet Square in recent years. Emirgan Grove is the leading location of the greenery and forests swarmed by the city dwellers, especially on the weekends to escape the chaos of İstanbul and to take shelter in nature. The garden, which was given to the Iranian Emirate Gün as a gift by the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV, changed hands many times and finally enacted in 1940. Yellow, pink, white mansions, the names of which come from their colors, as the place to eat in the grove, are dated back to 1871 and 1878. The grove, which has a view of the Bosphorus, turns into a place of even more interest with tulips in April. Culture, art and music events, live performances of paper marbling artists, photography and art exhibitions throughout the Tulip Festival bring vitality to the city. Millions of tulips are planted in hundreds of different types in areas such as Emirgan Grove, Göztepe 60. Yıl Park, Gülhane Grove, Yıldız Grove, Beykoz Grove, Büyük Çamlıca Grove, Küçük Çamlıca Grove, Hıdiv Çubuklu Grove, Bulbous Plants Park, Fethipaşa Grove, and Sultanahmet Square.
THE WHITE OF ALMONDS/ DATÇA
Datça’s April has no match. The most beautiful spring winds of our geography begin to blow here. When spring says that I am coming, it does not spare any color. It becomes even impatient, the harbingers of spring jump into action as early as February and March. The earliest spring flowers are seen in Datça Peninsula. Foliation begins; plenty of rain, warm air, a little Mediterranean and a little Aegean climate are the best for the health of the soil. Almond flowers almost paint the sky white and pink. Towards the end of March, almonds show their faces green. In March and April, as the soil absorbs spring rains, they are painted in daisy-white and poppy-red. April does not stop, as it gives its hand to May, daisies reach the human height, coastal carnations appear. Anemones bloom yellow, purple, blue, pink. Colors and scents are respectively dizzying. Orange and lemon flowers cover everywhere. Datça’s palm dates and orchid varieties make their debut. The 6-million-year-old Gebekum fossil dunes keep up with them; endemic plants, insects, moles, chameleons also take advantage of the spring and show their faces. What about the clarity of the weather, the blue of the sky? Residents of Datça also bloom. Trekking tours are organized, bicycles are ridden, and an armful of herbs is picked to cook in the evening. You cannot even name them all; hibiscus, thistle, watercress, sorrel, morel, mountain mint, sage… Thyme and rosemary are always on the side of the stoves; locals call them the mother’s smell.
THE CRIMSON OF THE SUNSET/ASSOS
The number of those who walk down the cobblestone streets among the houses of red andesite stones and those who take a break at the village cafe is few in winter at the Behramkale Village, which begins to wake up in April. While the wood stoves are being lit for the last time, the renovation begins at small hostels. The village is located on the acropolis of Assos, an ancient port town located at the Behramkale Village of Ayvacık district, 87 km south of Çanakkale. While you travel down to the port of Assos from the village, look to your left and observe the perfection of the city walls from the Hellenistic period. Stone blocks are to be admired. This used to be a wealthy agricultural city and a center for learning philosophy. According to the inscriptions, in the Hellenistic and Roman times, there were very good lawyers and judges who were educated here. In Assos, also known as a center of education, Aristotle, the famous philosopher of the First Age, had established a school of philosophy and carried out important research on zoology, biology, and botany. An important part of the city’s four-kilometer walls is still standing today. As it is climbed down from here towards the sea, the agora (bazaar), the gymnasium (intellectual and physical education center), the bouleuterion (city council building) and the necropolis (antique cemetery) are lined. As the columns rise to the sky, one can only wish to reach the Island of Lesbos. The crimson color of Edremit Bay at the sunset is the biggest visual feast here.
THE BLUE OF THE REEDS/DALYAN
Both the weather and the ambiance are great in April in Dalyan, the quiet settlement of the South Aegean. 5.5 km long İztuzu Beach, the breeding ground of the endangered turtles Caretta Carettas, has earned a reputation among the vacation goers. However, Dalyan has a greater charm with the frogs hiding among the reeds, the rustle of the leaves and the sparkling of the water. Dalyan is a place where naturalists from all over the world study its natural life with surprise. Take your place on a boat and sail in the blue waters embracing the reeds. Life on both sides of Dalyan, which is a natural canal that connects Köyceğiz Lake and the Mediterranean, is unique. The shore of the canal is full of reeds and natural life. The 4th century BC rock tombs in the temple style located on the slopes of the mountains at about an 80-degree angle from the sea are also among the beautiful images of Dalyan, especially when illuminated at night and reflected in the water. These were indications of the power and wealth of the ancient city of Kaunos. Dalyan, called Kalbis in ancient times, is a Special Environmental Protection Area today and it is similar to a natural labyrinth with its reeds. The delta is carved almost like lace. The 7.5 km long canal sometimes turns into a strait and sometimes a lake. Nearly 154 bird species were confirmed living in Dalyan, which is also famous for its blue crab. Another place where birds attract interest is the ancient city of Kaunos, which can be reached by boat. It is a unique experience to watch the blue and the curves of Dalyan from the Acropolis.
THE MEDITERRANEAN GREEN/ THE LYCIAN WAY
Would it be more appropriate to call it the Mediterranean blue instead? We still have eyes on the blue but the green landscapes of the Mediterranean should not be underestimated. Especially if you are walking on the Lycian Way. We are talking about the Lycian Way which was selected 15th among the World’s Top 50 Trekking Trails by the British magazine Country Walking and among the Top 10 Hiking Trails by the Sunday Times in the past. Starting from Fethiye ending near Antalya, Turkey’s first walking path marked by international signs is the Lycian Way. It is also one of the world’s longest 10 hiking trails and it is 500 kilometers. April-May, September-November periods are great times for hiking. It takes 30 days to walk all the way at once. The landscapes vary from the seaside to the Tahtalı summit at 2,366 meters. 19 of the 52 Lycian cities are passed through during the walk. The founder of the Lycian Way (www.lycianway.co) and then the second hiking trail in Turkey St. Paul Way (www.stpaultrail.com), Kate Clow recommends routes with green landscapes. You can camp along the way; you can stay in the village lodgings; you might not come across other people for two days between Demre-Finike except other trekkers; you can sleep under the stars on a boat anchoring different bays every day. It is not difficult to walk the Lycian Way, if it is well planned. If trekking is divided into 1 week-10 day periods, it should not be difficult to complete. The courses are 4-5 or 8-10 hours. There is no sound other than birds’ and bees’; the scents are more prominent; the weather is very nice… Yaylakuzdere-Tahtalı-Beycik-Ulupınar-Çıralı-Olimpos-Adrasan-Kekova-Letoon-Minare Village (Pınara)-Kayaköy-Ölüdeniz-Ekincik-Dalyan route is possible to walk in 1 week.