A fairytale afternoon in snow-white Seben

A fairytale afternoon in snow-white Seben

Wilco van Herpen Hürriyet Daily News
A fairytale afternoon in snow-white Seben

Although the buildings were not the typical picturesque old Turkish farmhouses, they still had a strong character and in this winter landscape setting it was absolutely stunning.

I like snow a lot; it turns the world into a fairytale place. Of course, when you get stuck in the middle of a blizzard with your car or when you have to walk back home because public transportation is not working, it is no fun at all. But every time snow falls it makes me happy. The surprise when snow falls during the night and you wake up in the morning and know something is going on. You lie in your bed and listen. Nothing strange, no sounds… I always jump out of my bed then to check if the world is covered by this beautiful white blanket. The sounds are smothered; there is almost no traffic. This is another advantage of snow in places like Istanbul or Ankara. Of course, before you realize it traffic returns again, but generally the first day you have the world to yourself as a pedestrian. And everything looks so different, so magical.

From green to white

During a trip to Seben I suddenly got caught by a view that really blew my mind, or should I say, I thought was mind-blowing. For hours I had been on the road; it was cold, and the weather was nice. After I left the highway near Bolu, the landscape slowly changed from very green to greenish-white and near Seben the hills finally were white, snow-white. It was amazing. Wherever I looked I saw pictures. It was about a half-hour drive from Seben. After I conquered a very difficult hill full of curves and sometimes quite steep slopes, suddenly in front of my eyes I saw several huts. This was absolutely mind-blowing. I parked the car, took my camera and left the car. It was a yayla (plateau) and the local people use these huts during summertime because up in the mountains the weather is more enjoyable than down in the city.

A small village stretched out in front of my eyes, and I was amazed by the size of the houses. Generally houses on the plateau are smaller, but here I saw villa-like wooden houses. Although the buildings were not the typical picturesque old Turkish farmhouses, they still had a strong character and in this winter landscape setting it was absolutely stunning. It was about 4 p.m.; the sky started to reflect the rich pastel winter colors in the clouds. It was cold, quite cold, but I did not feel the freezing temperatures because everything together was so perfect. Wherever I aimed my camera I saw the most beautiful pictures. This is why I like winter so much. It shows the world in a completely different mood, temporary natural impressionistic art. At this time of the day, every minute the painting in front of your eyes changes. Here I feel lucky. Lucky to see this and lucky to be a photographer. How on earth would a painter be able to capture all those minutes, those seconds. Pushing the shutter button I can freeze every second; unfortunate painters work hours to capture one moment of this beautiful light.

Wood houses

When I walked toward the houses I suddenly saw a violet color coming through the snow. When I looked I saw nature was still active, something I did not expect, not now. It was a little flower that managed to grow and stick its beautiful little blossom out above the snow. The little warmth the sun was giving us at that moment was enough for this fragile little flower to grow and to collect the warmth of the sun in order to melt the snow surrounding its thin little stem.

The huts looked like shanty houses. All of them were made of wood and many of them had metal-plated roofs. It was as if this was a giant patchwork. As if a sculptor had made a kind of impressionistic version of how he sees houses. One did not resemble another and some of them had holes on the walls that were fixed with a different piece of wood. These houses were definitely made to live in during summertime and were quietly waiting for spring to come. Some of them would not survive the winter. The load of snow on their roof would be too much for the houses, but I do not think this would be a big deal for the people living there during the summertime. They simply would get another piece of wood, take another piece of metal to attach it to the house and in this way make it livable for another year.

Facing the cold weather in Turkey at the moment this story came to my mind. I know it is not always nice to get stuck in the snow, but it also gives us some beautiful moments that we should enjoy and be grateful for. I hope you will like the coming days as much as I do, and so what if you are late for an appointment because of the weather. Just look around and become like a child who during wintertime is always excited about the snow and the difference it makes in our normal lives. Enjoy it because before you know it you will be cursing the hot summer sun again.