Earlier this month, we took a long weekend trip to the Black Sea. Nearly 2 years ago, I traveled this region by car, camping, swimming and driving into the cool mountains and high plateaus. This year I was anxious to see the Kara Deniz during these cold winter days, as the last time I visited had been in the hot and green summer.
I was picturing snow everywhere up to our ankles, so naturally the only shoes I brought with me were snow boots. However, when our plane arrived into Trabzon late on a Thursday night, the air was warm and dry, a high contrast to the rainy Istanbul we left behind.
Central Trabzon during the day was sunny and pleasant, yet as we drove further into higher elevations, our view was blinded by snow. Our first excursion into the mountains was to Hidirnebi Yaylasi, where there is an impossibly beautiful view to the sea. Yet alas, because of the thick fog and falling snow, we could only see a few feet in front of our us. This obscurity served as a completely different kind of beauty, and we walked among frozen trees and hanging icicles as if in a dream. After a walk though the deep snow, we warmed our red faces and cold feet by propping them in front of a burning stove in a local cabin. We were served our own çaydanlık, or tea kettle, and sipped glass after glass of black tea. Later on, we ate honey on toasted bread and olives and more çay as it brewed on the stove beside us. I could barely make out the images of huts and homes outside of the window, but did a little sketch regardless of the ambiguous view.
On the the following day, we drove again up the winding mountain roads to a village by the name of Zigana. The snow was just as deep, but the air remarkably clean and the landscape luminous. The fog of the previous day had lifted and we could see onto neighboring mountaintops for miles. We walked through the village, analyzing animal tracks in the snow, taking pictures of the view and feeling the cool bright air on our faces.
Let me start by saying Happy New Year! 2013 was fantastic…I spent 6 wonderful months in my home state of Wyoming, and 6 months traveling and making art in India and Turkey. I couldn’t have asked for a better year; exciting, humbling, productive and prosperous…lets hope for the same on 2014!
Now lets see, where was I….Ah yes, heading North towards the Black Sea. It was the end of June, and I had a 10 day period in between residencies. So, my traveling companion, fellow artist and best friend Sarah met me in Trabzon for a Holiday. Sarah and I have traveled through Turkey together twice before, but have never explored the Northern Coast. So we set out for the unknown together, starting with one of the best Turkish breakfasts I’ve ever had!