Sunday, February 7, 2010

Can I do it again?

Today is the last day of the semester break. It has been a good two weeks, even though we didn't do much. But sometimes not doing much is a good thing.

One thing we did do was head up to Lake Abant, a two hundred and thirty kilometer drive up into the snowy mountains of Bolu, for three days of sledding, sleigh rides and frolicking in the snow. On the way (and back) we opted not to take the newly constructed Bolu Tunnel, which goes right under the mountain, cutting driving time by 40 minutes or so. The tunnel bypasses the tasty kuzu pirzola (lamb chop) restaurants that dot the road up and over Bolu mountain. These restaurants are small places that serve a simple fare of lamb chops, soup, tomato and cucumber salad, wood fire toasted bread and the best yogurt you have ever had. They are not to be missed, so we didn't.

After we feasted, we drove the next 45 minutes up to Lake Abant, which was a winter wonderland ensconced in two feet of fresh powder. Our friends, the Kavalas, had a hard time getting up the snowy road and were saved by a helpful villager with a tractor who pulled them right up to the entrance of the hotel. We quickly settled into our room, dressed in a flurry of wool socks, mittens and hats, and were out the door in search of a sledding spot.

After a 20 minute walk up the snowy road bordering the lake, we came to the heycanli kayak pisti (exciting sledding slope), and boy was it ever. The North American in me said "no way are my boys doing that" and we moved on. But after seeing the other sledding area just up the road, a truly hair raising sight, we headed back to the first area, now tame in comparison. After a hop across an icy creek and a short climb up the hill with brightly colored inner tubes in tow, Ali and Omer were in sledding heaven. I think they went twenty times up and down in the span of an hour. Each time Omer's inner tube would slide to a stop, he would immediately yell bir tane daha yapabilir miyim? (Can I do it again?) There was an even bigger slope, for adults only, that took my breath away, and helped me to understand how the term "scream like a girl" was coined.

For three days we walked through the snow, chatted and laughed, sledded in conditions that would be outlawed in the states, took a sleigh ride, soaked in the hot tub and ate delicious food from the lavish buffet meals at the hotel's restaurant. The boys were dead tired each night, as were we.

We had a great time and already look forward to going back next year .

Check out the amateur video at the bottom of this post.