What Does the Black Sea Tell Me?

Güldemet Gültekin
6 minutes

If life is a game, you need reasons to stay in the game. When I realized that the time it took to get over my disappointment, to digest his absence, would never be enough, I had to listen to the sudden voice. My beloved Black Sea, which I said I could never go back to, was calling me. I don’t know if my time on the sidelines was up, but there was no way I could not accept the invitation. It wouldn’t be long before I realized that this journey, which took me three thousand three hundred kilometers away, was actually a journey to my inner world waiting to be rediscovered.

Every corner of the Black Sea is paradise, but the Eastern Black Sea fascinates people in a different way. Now I will tell you about the hills, lakes and plateaus that are very difficult to reach, or maybe you have never heard of, rather than the trips you know, the plateaus you often see on social media.

Koçdüzü Plateau was a difficult destination for me. The fact that the plateau has been accessible for about ten years gives a clue to this. The view is worth every challenge. In a landscape that feels so far away from the world, with minus two degrees in September, I come to my senses a little. Although the lack of internet is difficult, it is perhaps the most beautiful part of the plateau.

As I head towards Adalı Göle in the plateau, the never-ending rain of the Black Sea hits my face. It’s a magnificent view. The largest natural lake in Turkey with a floating islet on it is, as the name suggests, Lake Adalı. The ancients used to say that the three floating islets on it moved in the direction of the wind and they made weather forecasts accordingly.

I aim to get to the top of the plateau, but it is quite difficult for an amateur like me. Every now and then I turn around and look at Lake Island and try to regain my energy. Although the cold and rain slowed me down, 2500m. my altitude and the name Heaven and Hell Hill excite me.

I didn’t understand this name at first, but when I got to the top I understood it. I come face to face with what my dear teacher always told us, “Heaven and hell are actually in this world and within ourselves”. On one side, a paradise with a green that cannot be achieved with any artificial paint and the Lake with Islands, and on the other side, a hellish landscape consisting of steep cliffs with brown stones and rocks. A thin road separates these two different landscapes and offers the opportunity for a long reflection. The choice is entirely up to us, heaven with one step or heaven with one step… Just one step… I am sitting at this fine crossroads. Not realizing how wet I am, I take in the spectacle of this world being just a passage.

One of the hidden beauties is the Flowery Plateau. It is possible to gaze upon these landscapes by loving the “difficult”. As the name suggests, it is home to unprecedented flowers. The altitude is around 2500 meters again…

The plateau, which is recommended to be visited in spring, fascinates me in the fall. It is so impressive that it reminds me of a verse: “It is He Who created the seven heavens in perfect harmony with each other. You will not see any disharmony in the creation of the Most Merciful. Turn your gaze and see if you can see any imperfection, then turn your gaze again and again and look; the eye (looking for imperfection) will return to you exhausted without finding what it seeks.” A sight that reminds us not to look for miracles too far away. Just a little contemplation…

While we are enjoying the beauty of the landscape, suddenly the fog rolls in and everything becomes invisible. As if to remind us that when we say everything is fine, an event covers all the beauties like a fog. Nature shows that this fog is a temporary veil, and the fog that obscures everything is lifting just as quickly. Obviously your efforts are being questioned.

I inhale deeply that fragrance I have never encountered before. I don’t want to leave the view, even though the increasing cold restricts my movements. I look around and there is no one around, everyone is scattered in a corner. After a while I try to photograph every moment, I don’t want anyone to miss this unique beauty.

Our next route is “Kale-i Bala”. The name sounds quite interesting. I learned that the word means ‘the castle above’ and that it was recorded in Ottoman archival documents as Kale-i Hemşin Zir and Kale-i Hemşin Bala. It is the castle with the highest altitude in the Black Sea region. On a steep cliff, close to the source of the Fırtına Stream. The view is once again mesmerizing. The small but very meaningful martyrdom on the opposite side, with its story dating back to the Ottoman period, is a must-visit. Of course it is very difficult again. I climb hundreds of steps, everywhere is lush green and tree species I’ve never seen before.

At the point where I run out of breath, I reach the martyrdom and the magnificent view. Sometimes what you see says a lot, but you can’t put it into words, that’s how it is…

I leave the Black Sea with the wish that everyone should see the Çat Valley where the two branches of Çat Creek meet, Karagöl in Şavşat, Mençuna Waterfall in Arhavi, which falls from a height of 92 meters, and Derindere Dam on the Çoruh River, which is the highest dam in Turkey and the twelfth highest dam in the world with a body height of 249 meters.

Once again I realize that expatriation is not being miles away, but not being able to say two words to someone you love to chat with.

May you always be in conversation with your loved ones…

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