25-Mar-2006 -- Only a short while after the unfriendly encounter at 38N 30E, I was again on my way to the next Confluence on my little list. It was now around noon, so half of the day had already passed and I still had to go to another Confluence and get back to my hotel several hundred kilometres away on this same day. I realized that I did not have any time to spend for lunch; instead I tried to get as quickly back to the surroundings of lake Burdur Gölü, where a turnoff brought me on a new road towards Isparta. I passed this larger city and continued in direction of Eğirdir and the lake of the same name.
Not far from the city, the road was blocked because of some works, and the traffic was redirected on a side road. So I unexpectedly reached Eğirdir Gölü a little north of the city and was compensated for the detour by an absolutely stunning view on this wonderful turquoise lake surrounded by snow-covered mountains, and the city stretched out in a picturesque way on the southern lakeside and on a small island in the lake. I was really fascinated by this lovely landscape and this beautiful sight, and immediately had the desire to visit this place on another occasion in the future, and possibly to stay here for longer than only for a day-trip.
I had reached the lake on its western shore, it was here around 10 km wide and I could approximately spot the location of the confluence 38N 31E, which was to be found in the mountains not far from the opposite lakeside. But to get there, I had to drive around the entire southern parts of the lake first, and then along the road following its eastern shore. Eventually, the GPS receiver indicated the closest approach to the Confluence when I passed a village on the lakeside named Yeşilköy ("Green village"). But what made me really concerned was the fact that I was now still 2.3 km from the spot, which was obviously high up in the mountains east of the lake. It was hardly imaginable to venture this distance on foot, so I only would have a chance if I found a possibility to get closer to the point by car. I could not detect any road turning off in the desired direction within this village, but I could see another village up in the mountains not far from the estimated location of the Confluence, so there should exist a way to get up there. I asked some people working in a garden close to the road about a way to get to the upper village, and as far as I could understand them, they sent me a little further along the road following the lakeside.
What a luck! Indeed, there was a turnoff in direction of the mountains about 1 km north of Yeşilköy, and I only had to follow this winding road for 6 km until I reached the mountain village that I had seen from down at the lakeside, interestingly it had the same name as the village below, Yeşilköy. I drove through the village, the roads got narrower and narrower, but I tried to follow the arrow of my GPS receiver as far as possible, until the last road ended at a farmhouse, and I had to leave the car here. I had driven 155 km since I left 38N 30E, which was only 88 km west of me now. I took all the necessary equipment with me and started out on foot. I was here at 1320 m altitude, there were still 400 m to go to the Confluence, and obviously not an insignificant altitude had to be climbed, too.
Because of my negative experience in the morning, this time I wanted to inform the people in advance about my intentions to climb around in their neighbourhood, so I entered the yard of the farmhouse and made some gestures towards some women there, indicating that I wanted to walk up the hill beyond their house. A very old woman showed me a small passage between the houses to get there, but told me to wait until a "genç" would arrive to hold back a dog. The word "genç" literally means "young man, youngster", I expected a boy, but the man who came was probably in his fifties or even sixties – well, for the old woman he surely had been the "genç" decades ago, and he had remained it until today. The dog that he held back was in fact not a dog, it was a monster! The typical Turkish shepherd dogs are monstrous beasts with enormous heads and jaws, and something to avoid absolutely, so it was a good idea not to stroll in the farmhouse's backyard without having asked for permission.
The people did not ask me any questions why I wanted to walk in the mountains, so I expected that some children would accompany me to observe what I was going to do there, but they left me walk alone and they all returned to their work after I had passed the dog. The time was passing on quickly now, it had taken me some time to drive around the lake and find the way to the upper Yeşilköy, and now I hurried along to get to the point. But this was not as easy as it seemed: the hills were very steep and densely covered by holly bushes that didn't permit a straight going or climbing. Instead one had to find always ways around, between, over, or under these impassable bushes, and the underground also permitted no easy going because of many loose stones and high rocky steps to be climbed. Since some time, the weather had become friendlier than in the morning, and now the sun was burning down on me and I was soon completely exhausted. I had to insert more and more breaks in my climbing, and had to breathe for air heavily. When I finally circled in on the point between holly bushes, the sweat was running down from my face and I had climbed another 120 m of altitude since leaving my car.
It was now 3:00 p.m., the GPS receiver indicated an EPE of 4 m and an altitude of 1439 m. I had a fantastic view all around, the snow-covered mountains of the Dedegöl Dağları to the East and Southeast, upper Yeşilköy some way down to the South of me, and the beautiful blue Eğirdir Gölü 520 m below me in the Southwest and West. A wonderful quiet and peaceful place, and for sure one of the more picturesque confluence locations in the world. These are the kind of places that make it very difficult to leave them!
Before getting back to my car, I had again to call someone to hold back the dog, and when driving back through the village centre, I passed a teahouse with an open terrace and had a desire to sit down for a moment and relax for the first time of today with a glass of good Turkish tea. But before even having looked around, I was invited by some men already sitting there to take a seat in their round and have a tea with them. This time I had the opportunity to answer a lot of questions; I thanked them heartily for their invitation and left them at 4:20 p.m. Now it was clear to me that I wouldn't be able to return to my hotel during daylight, I would have to drive a big part of the distance in the night. But this also meant that the pressure was taken from me, and I could take my time for the way back anyhow. So I decided to return back to Eğirdir, take a leisurely stroll in town, and look for something to eat, this would become my first warm meal for today, all the day I had eaten only some cookies.
Having arrived in Eğirdir I drove via a causeway to the island in the lake, then I returned to the main city and parked the car to look for a nice little Pide Salonu. I had a delicious meal of Mercimek Çorbası (lentil soup), Kıymalı Pide (a typical Pizza-style meal with minced meat baked in a wood-fired brick oven), salad, Ayran (yoghurt drink), and a big bottle of water for 4.50 YTL (3 €). It was already 6:00 p.m. when I started my way back via Isparta and the road along the Karaca Ören reservoirs; unfortunately it had become completely dark when I passed this region and I could only guess that I was driving through a picturesque area with deep gorges and lakes. I arrived at my hotel in Side at 9:00 p.m. very tired, today I had driven 680 km, but every kilometre and every minute was worth it.
I pondered whether I should insert a day of relaxing before starting my second confluence expedition, which would take me away at least two days before returning to Side, but I had a deadline: I had to be back at the hotel in any case on the day of the total solar eclipse on 29 March, so I didn't want to risk any delay, and decided to start already tomorrow to get to three more Confluences, starting with 38N 32E.