Bursa: A Second Hike in the Woods Above the City
Trip Start Feb 08, 2008
154Trip End Sep 11, 2009
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After emerging from the last line of houses I came upon a couple of aged goatheards. Not knowing if the area in which their goats were grazing was a bar to my passing, I sat with them a spell and shared some cherries I had. Then, continued my way up without any problem. It was not a private, enclosed area.
There is not much to say of the hike in. I eventually came to a trail that went into the same gorge previously visited, only this time on a well used trail higher up.
When I eventually came to "another" seeming last house--well, before--I heard dogs barking. Which made me leery of proceeding. So I found about a four foot stick and sharpened one end to a point. I was standing there, still deliberating with myself whether to continue, when a young fellow came softly down the trail on a horse. He was dressed in street clothes, a cigarette pack in his shirt pocket. He stopped. I tried to ask if the barking dogs were his, but I'm pretty sure I bungled my Turkish. In any case, he indicated the trail on up was "nice," or "good," or "pretty," etc., the Turkish word güzel kind of an all-purpose one. Then he continued on his way, with a wry smile to himself, like, "What was that foreigner doing standing there with a pointed stick?
I went on up past the house with the non-threatening dogs. But from there the trail became more obscure. I finally came to a quasi-open area, where the hill rose steeply to my left at about 50 to 60 degrees, rocky with clumps of bushes. Something I could climb, picking my way.
Man, I thought, I've really gone beyond. Then come face to face with a black plastic water line running across the steep hillside in front of my face. And, close as I could get to the top, I saw yet another farm house across a thickly forested ravine. I sat down to observe it through binoculars. A woman, obscured by some bushes, was doing something outside. Presently a young girl of perhaps fourteen came out of the house. She wore a red sweater and had a long skirt. She went down into the garden and pulled up two or three large onions. I began to think of the American jokes about "the farmer's daughter," but thought, No, I'm not going over there.
Back down the trail I had visions of taking a rest at a water trough I had passed, and having my banana, peanuts and water. But as I approached the trough there was a boy of about 8 years sitting there with his back to me. He was whittling on a stick--with a hunting knife of about 10" long. A horse stood by. At the sound of my approach the boy sprang up, turning around to face me, holding the knife in front of his waist in an on garde posture. I had certainly startled him. I am stared at on the streets of cities as it is. Here, with the addition of my Australian bush hat, I must have been some sight to this lad of the woods. I put the palms of my hands down in front in a gesture like, "Take it easy."
Nevertheless he sort of flicked the point of the knife in the direction I had come, and in a tone of anger and fright, must have said something like, "Go back!," or "Get out of here!" Then I flicked a point to my right, indicating I just wanted to continue my way. He flicked the point of the knife as though to say, "Well, go on, then," while still keeping a defensive posture and facial expression.
I continued on my way, not looking back.
I came to another water trough, out of the woods, much closer to the urban limits. There I had my lunch. While eating a man came up from behind on a horse. He had a young son in the horse in front of him and one on behind him. Too late did I see two large fuzzy puppies peeking out of sacks on either side of the horse's shoulders. It would have been a great picture.
Then, just before I took my leave another man emerged from the woods on the trail I had been on. He came up and we exchanged a few words. Part of his message was something like "We had better get a move on, as a rain storm was approaching." At least that's the way I interpreted it. I threw in with him, figuring he'd get me out of there more quickly than my finding my own way, because at that point there are many, many optional paths.
He knew his way. One of the bits of information we exchanged was ages: mine 66, his 58. A good looking guy, you see by the picture.
We went more laterally to the west than I would have. And when we came around a slope, some urban picnicers were rushing to leave, and close across to the next range could be seen darker clouds, lightening, rain.
I didn't know where this guy was going--to a car or what--but I kept on his tail. We went down into the beginnings of the housing, very high up the hill. I interject here that unlike America, where the rich usually occupy the heights of a city, Bursa is somewhat more like Rio in Brazil, where the poor and working class laboriously climb to their homes. And we weren't very far into the top edge of the housing when this fellow rounded the corner of a building and sat on the stoop. It was his house!
We sat there for a few moments, then he invited me in for tea. He said something about his wife, from which I gathered that she was pregnant, and maybe at the hospital. I wasn't clear. In any case, she was not home. It was a very nice, clean and comfortable household.
The man went to make tea, and I went out onto the balcony--just as the storm hit. And it rained with a furry the likes of which I've not seen. There was wind and buckets--buckets, I say--of water out of the sky and thunder and lightening. And there was a torrent of erosion-laden water streaming past the building below. And, this was at the top end of the developed area.
The man served Turkish coffee! After, some fruit--one, a plate of I think mulberries, a white variety and a dark purple variety (the more sweeter). As a kid we sang a song, I think it went, "Around and around the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel . . . ." But in all my life I have never known what a mulberry was. And, these grow on trees, not bushes.
I learned that the fellow was a sort of all-purpose carpenter, or builder. I can't think of or find the Turkish word in the dictionary, but I had heard it before. And, there were the hand gestures. The man's wife came home and disappeared into a back room. I did not see her. I took my leave, the short monsoon having passed.
I finished my day with a Turkish bath--sort of my first; but really my second. More about Turkish baths at another time.