Yalova awaiting visitors to show off hidden gems
WILCO VAN HERPEN WILCO VAN HERPEN
Whenever I speak with people about Yalova, I notice a strange attitude toward this small province. It is just an hour away from Istanbul but it seems that most people know nothing about it. Yalova unfortunately became known because of the terrible earthquake that rocked Turkey in 1999. I wanted to make a TV program there because I think Yalova deserves more. Even at the office, some people were skeptical about me going there. “What are you going to do over there? There’s nothing in Yalova,” one
Yalova is the perfect place to tour around for people who want to escape Istanbul. It’s possible to visit for just a day, but a longer stay will not leave the visitor bored
Whenever I speak with people about Yalova, I notice a strange attitude toward this small province. It is just an hour away from Istanbul but it seems that most people know nothing about it. Yalova unfortunately became known because of the terrible earthquake that rocked Turkey in 1999. I wanted to make a TV program there because I think Yalova deserves more. Even at the office, some people were skeptical about me going there. “What are you going to do over there? There’s nothing in Yalova,” one of my colleagues told me. I promised him that I would return with two episodes but managed to return with three about Yalova and its surroundings.
I went on the road for my program “Wilco’nun Karavanı” with Luna, my dog, sitting next to me. I was driving around in the mountains near Yalova in search of some waterfalls. On my way to one of those waterfalls, I passed a flooded area. Areas normally covered with grass and herbs were flooded because of severe rains; wherever you look, you see small islands surrounded by water. It is green, very green and the smell of leaves rotting penetrates your nose. I love the smell and the scenery. It reminds me of my childhood when I went to the forests in the Netherlands with my family. Without question, Yalova is prettiest in spring and fall.
Luna, as always, was sitting next to me in my camper. Once I approached the small lakes, she became restless, and it was not long before she made a crying sound. She wanted to swim. She couldn’t wait anymore. Luna jumped out of the window and ran toward the water. She was so excited and it did not take long before she was swimming around. At one of those “islands” she saw a branch. It was solidly anchored in the water and mud. She pulled and pulled and finally managed to get the branch out of the mud. Happy and excited she brought the branch to me and when she came out of the water she was completely covered with mud.
Yalova is the perfect place to visit for people who want to escape from Istanbul. It can be a one-day trip, but even if you stay there for a few days you won’t get bored. It was there that I met the governor of Yalova, Yusuf Erbay. He was the initiator of the Green Blue Road, a trip through the province of Yalova where you can enjoy both the sea and the forests.
In the afternoon I found a beautiful place for my camper next to a stream where there were no other visitors. Unfortunately, there were no campgrounds there, but it was no problem to spend one or two nights at a parking area. A very important guest was to come that night, Gov. Erbay, and I wanted to make some fresh pasta for him. Making pasta is not that difficult, but when you are in a parking area, it is a different story. The table I needed to prepare my food was not really a kitchen table, but after a good clean it could do the job. I made my pasta but needed a place to dry it. My solution was one washing line and two trees. So there I was, putting all my pasta on the washing line. When I was finished I looked at 10 meters of drying pasta. It was gorgeous.
It was late and it was becoming dark. My cameraman told me that the governor would not show up, but I was sure that he would come. Slowly though, I also got a bit worried. But then I saw a figure at the edge of the forest. There he was. I started cooking right away as it was already late and we also had to film the whole story. I made him some nice mushroom pasta accompanied with beautiful cold white wine. He was a very open-minded and easygoing man, so finding something to talk about was no problem. Music, politics and his projects in Yalova were just a few of the things we spoke about. It was quite late when Erbay left on foot. I washed the dishes and turned out the lights. It had been a very nice evening and ending such a nice day at this beautiful place was wonderful. It was as if I were in heaven, really. Sitting there in the darkness, thousands of stars shining above you and no one around, it was unforgettable. A bird sang its beautiful love song and was answered by another bird. This night I was without a “bird,” but soon I would return to my family again. At that time I just wanted to enjoy the moment.