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Necessity Is The Mother Of Adventure

. . or words to that effect!

When J and I wandered back down here to Okçular we never dreamed that weeks later we would still be here feeling locked in by the bitterly cold weather that has hit the country. I mean, this time last year we were having a whale of a time playing the backwoods man (and woman) and building stone walls and then more stone walls! We were working outside in shirtsleeves and waking up at the crack of each beautiful dawn.

About the middle of January we made a run for it as a minor blizzard set in but we were soon back enjoying every moment of life in the mountains.

This year the polar north winds set in a couple of months ago and are showing no signs yet of moving on. We huddled around the fire in our centrally heated house and worried about how things would be up at the cabin – then we worried some more. With temperatures regularly in minus double figures up there we worried about what temperature wine, beer and home-made marmalade freezes at and the after-effects. Well, you would, wouldn’t you!

Photos appeared from friends who live up there in the mountains – photos that caused us to admire their toughness and fortitude but did nothing to stop us worrying about the wine and marmalade! Here are a few from friends Emine and Armağan . .

The days passed with little change and we remained huddled around our fire devoid of any spirit of adventure but well reinforced with spirits of a different kind! You could say that the spirits were willing but the flesh was weak!

More days passed until suddenly an ashen-faced J stood in the doorway, shoulders slumped. She had just been to the wine store only to find that ‘There are only a few bottles left!’ It was crunch time. The thought of running out of wine and having to pay retail was altogether too much. An emergency run to our favourite winery up in the mountains was a must. When push comes to shove (and it very well might do up there) there is only one thing an intrepid mountain man (and woman) can do – go for it!

With absolute faith in Turkey’s ability to keep its roads open we set off the next day just before 7am. Now Turkey, for some obscure reason decided to stay on summer time this winter so it was pitch-black and even down here we were seeing temperatures below -3C! Sensible and cautious driving was called for.

As usual, the roads were amazingly clear and despite a -7C at one point we made good time to our supplier in the back of beyond. By then the sun was shining in a clear blue sky and once loaded we decided to stick with the main roads and head to the cabin for a quick recce and damage control.

As we climbed over the last ridge that brings the lake in to view we were astonished – it had disappeared behind a grim layer of grey cloud and everywhere looked bleak.

Not the usual view we, or you, are used to seeing from the cabin

even the pine-needles are frozen solid

Sami’s pide (pizza) place on the beach

Now, as it turned out, everything was fine with the cabin and so feeling much relieved we set off back to Okçular with its central heating and un-chilled wine. The roads were clear, the sun was shining and all was well with the world! Until we got within a few miles of the climb up to the pass at Karabel on the Antalya-Fethiye road and it started to snow.

Karabel was a nightmare of stalled cars and trucks parked at all angles. Instinct took over, all I knew was that I needed to keep the bloody thing moving – if there was a gap then go for it – ‘Vorwärts Kameraden! Vorwärts!’ ‘Onwards and upwards!’ It felt like inches at a time but we made it to the top, the only car that did, due in no small part to the weight of a boot overloaded with boxes of wine and a wonderful truck driver on his way down who stopped and let me scrape by. As we drove sedately down towards Fethiye I vowed never to forget the snow-chains again!

What is amazing is that two days later a dear friend Türker decided to go for a driving adventure of his own up to the lake. These are his photos – Odin, you bastard!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü for the time being

ps thanks again to Türker, Emine and Armağan for the photos – a picture is worth a thousand words!

19 thoughts on “Necessity Is The Mother Of Adventure

  1. Hi Alan. Great to have you back and very much on form. Love the pictures and glad your journey worked out well and all safe in the mountains until the sun shines again. Happy new Year to you both. Best wishes. Mary

  2. Have been thinking about you and your adopted countrymen often lately but who knew, on top of everything, that Mother Nature was conspiring so cruelly against you and J. Sending serious admiration for your fortitude!

  3. Dear A and J, So glad to hear from you again, and with the usual lovely photos. And with giving us a new use for wine – as ballast. Glad you still have the ‘spirit’ to make a run for the spirits. Imagine the horror of paying retail! (BTW, we are also in the midst of a paralyzing snow storm which has completely disrupted our routine and has kept us inside watching old movies with an occasional run to our local retail purveyor of spirits. Don’t you feel sorry for us?)

  4. ” You little Devils you. ”
    That must have been quite a challenge to go all the way to the cabin and back, really you just wanted to have a play in the snow didn’t you !!!!!! what a brilliant excuse that was, you didn’t want to run out of wine, I don’t know. !!! It was lovely to see all the photo’s and to see how different it all looked at this time of the year I didn’t even recognize Sam’s pizza hut on the beach at first, it all looks wonderful just glad you got back OK well done and there’s me dreading us having any snow !!! PS don’t forget the snow chain’s next time !!!!!

  5. This sounds like an incredible adventure! We live near the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and have often run into similar thrilling situations where even our four wheel drive car cannot handle the iciness of the roads.
    I was wondering why you chose to live in Turkey and what drew you to Okcular in particular? My family has always loved to travel and live with the locals so we can see their day to day lives. A few years ago we went to Turkey but were unable to find a way to do so. While the parts of Turkey we were able to see were absolutely spectacular, I have always wanted to hear an inside perspective from the small towns there.

    1. Good morning Erik! First of all, welcome to Archers and thanks for your interest. Why Turkey and Okçular? It would take a long time to answer properly so I suggest you 1. open up the left side bar on the blog and check out the tabs there. 2. visit this link http://www.the-working-traveller.com/alan-fenn-why-i-live-in%E2%80%A6-okcular/ it’s one of many interviews with me about this very question. If ever you revisit Turkey and I do recommend it (the picture of the country in msm is so distorted) then get in contact because I’m sure we could meet up and that could be very interesting for both of us. Meanwhile, do spend some time exploring back through my blog posts if you want some real and amazing insights into life here in Turkey.
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