It’s snowing. Winter’s reign has begun. I’m listening to the traffic report on the radio. Cars without chains are not allowed to cross the Bolu Dagi, they say. I fantasize about pulling up in front of one of the countless restaurants along the way and trudging in through the snow for a glass of freshly steeped tea.
Bolu Dagi is a mountain at the mid-way point on the Ankara-Istanbul highway, one of Turkey’s main transportation arteries. A stopping-off place known for its thick fog, road accidents and many outdoor barbecue restaurants. But for real travellers this is also the heart of Bolu, beauty queen for all seasons. Nature is different here at every time of year. For now it’s snowing. Göynük’s pristine red roofs gaze silently at the Clock Tower, enveloped from head to toe in bridal white. At Seben the mountain cottages sink quietly beneath a layer of crystal. Grandfathers at Kibrisçik make sleds for their grandchildren in the night and leave them by the bedside for a morning surprise. Snow falls on Bolu like a fairytale writ in white and all the squirrels have long retreated into hibernation in the hollows of trees.