Taking the less used pathway from A to B; getting out of the car and venturing into the unknown usually brings rewards far beyond the anxiety of arriving on time or the risk of wondering exactly where you are. There is only one road to Ulu Dağ, so it doesn’t really count as a back road; getting out of the car and wandering off along animal tracks into the forest does.
In a similar spirit, J and I went many miles out of our way to take a back road on our journey from Bursa to İznik. I don’t know if wild flowers and wild snails turn you on, but they certainly do me! The forests of Ulu Dağ are splendid, in direct contrast to the ghastly ski resort at the top. If this is Turkey’s premier ski resort it is a bloody disgrace! Getting off the road led to the discovery of thousands of Fritillaria pontica, three different crocus, scilla, great swathes of Muscari latifolium and a number of, as yet, unidentified flowers along with one of the finest snails it has been my privilege to meet!
Turning off on to a back road to İznik we drove through countryside festooned with wild dog rose; met an old man, his son and grandson who farm pears and peppers. The old fellow was amazed that I wanted to photograph ‘weeds’ and told his son that foreigners were very odd (or words to that effect). Stopping to find a bush for a pee, led to the discovery of beautiful clumps of Iris germanicus and a solitary Orchis lactea.
Alan Fenn, İznik