Strolling the beaches of Kilyos in fall

Strolling the beaches of Kilyos in fall

Wilco Van Herpen
Strolling the beaches of Kilyos in fall Summer is over and the first autumn storms have beset Turkey.

Last Sunday was one of those “hard-to-decide” days. Early in the morning the sun was shining and the sky was dotted with beautiful clouds. It would have made the old Dutch masters like Jan van de Cappelle, Salomon van Ruysdael or Albert Cuyp want to come back to life so they could have painted some more fantastic landscape paintings. But within 30 minutes, the sky had turned pitch-black, so my initial idea to go for a walk on the beach was gone. Then, one hour later (and no rain at all) the sky opened up again, so I decided to head for the beach.

The place I started my beach stroll was Kilyos, a cute small fishermen’s place near the entrance to the Bosporus. It is a nice starting point and an even bitter finishing point. During the summertime some people even rent the halk plajı (public beach) from the municipality but during this time of year (roughly after September), entrance is free. As expected, the view was breathtaking, with the Kilyos coastline marked by an impressive rocky island jutting out from the sea. I continued walking in the direction of Uskumruköy beach.

Finally, after passing the concrete cabins and houses near the shoreline, the beach started to become emptier. It was in between Kilyos and Uskumruköy that I found a couple of beach clubs. The difference between the public beaches and private beaches is … money! With this money you divide the people who will enter. The season is short and they need to earn their money during this very short period of time; it’s not an easy job. To earn more money, they also advertise; they advertise with banners, advertise with their logo printed on comfortable cushions; advertise with umbrellas and any number of other ways.

At least you could hide the umbrellas and cushions in your place. Isn’t it a waste of material? (Wouldn’t it be an excellent idea to put a condition in the contract in which they have to take care of the environment after the end of the season? That would be a great thing.) Of course, next year maybe different sponsors will come so you cannot use the “old” material anymore… But think about nature; how hard is it nowadays for nature especially with the third bridge and the third airport, which is slated to become the biggest airport in the world? Driving from Zekeriyaköy to Kilyos or Uskumruköy, what I see is shocking. My biggest worry at the moment is that they will open the areas to construction. These are the lungs of Istanbul; this is the place where there is a special habitat. Birds migrate and use this area for resting and refueling their engines.  

Also the people of Istanbul rest and recharge their battery in this area. Every Sunday the whole area is “flooded” with people who want to have a good time in nature; have a nice barbeque, play some football or have a nice chat. This area is important and should be taken care of. What use is it to erect signs to protect an endangered species of plants while people leave their garbage bags under the sign? But we, as people, should take our responsibility and not litter this country. If the municipality, the governor or whoever else could make or show a good example, then things might be different. Barring that, people should be an example to the ones who aren’t. What I do not understand is that whenever I enter a Turkish family’s house, everything is super-clean and incredibly tidy. But those same people (who want you to take off your shoes because they are dirty) leave all the things they brought for their picnic behind in the forest or dunes.

To come back to my point; if nobody is doing anything, then at least the people who “own” the beach clubs should clean up all their mess and clean the whole beach together with all the clubs. You earn your money with this beach, so maintain it. How can you leave plastic glasses on the beach, along with tables, chairs and big cushions?

There is a strong wind along the coastline, and I see a lot of people kitesurfing. You do not have to go all the way to Bozcaada or Alaçatı. It’s a beautiful view to see people flying around in the already cold sea. Then, all of a sudden, I remember that I bought a kite many years ago. I should try to find it and bring it along next time for a wonderful day at the sea.