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Digital Journal Reports

article imageKar Tepe mountain, Turkey Special

Located within driving distance for Istanbul skiers, Kar Tepe mountain in Kocaeli, Turkey offers a five-star hotel, ski resort, evergreen forests, and charming cafes dotted along the road leading to the summit.
I was teaching basic English to private language school students on weekends when I decided it was time for a field trip. Since I had often stood in Izmit, Kocaeli by the banks of the Marmara Sea and looked up at the distant mountains, I thought of traveling to Kar Tepe, the tallest peak in Kocaeli and home to a five-star hotel and challenging ski resort.
The only way to get up the mountain is by car, since the buses only go to the village of Kar Tepe at the base of the mountain. The paved road is well cared for, thanks in part to business from wealthy Istanbul residents who want to ski at the closest location. One of my students offered to drive our small group, and we left early on a Saturday morning in September.
The air was cool, and mist covered the summit as we ascended the windy road. We stopped near the ski resort, at a quaint cabin cafe, for coffee next to a wood-burning fireplace. After our cozy break, we wandered into the evergreen forest and took photos of amazing vegetation beside ancient trees, hoping to glimpse a deer or bear that might wander by.
"Wild boars often come this way," one of my students told me. "They have dangerous tusks that can kill a hunter."
"Oh, I'll be careful! Are there also coyotes?" I asked.
"We call them jackals," another student replied with a smile, "and we often call dishonest people that name."
We drove to the end of the road and took photos of ski lifts that edged down toward the Greenpark Hotel, half hidden in the mist. Then we traveled to the five-star hotel itself and wandered through the expensive hallways and restaurants, the friendly staff giving us a private tour. I was impressed by the mix of modern amenities and Ottoman paintings.
Since we couldn't afford lunch at the hotel's outdoor cafe with view of cabins and ski runs, we drove to a small cafe along the descending highway. A woman made Turkish cheese bread on a wood-burning stove, and we sat by the railing, enjoying our strong tea ("├žay" in Turkish, pronounced "chai") in its brass, two-layered teapot design with the tea on top and hot water below. We gazed at the distant view of Lake Sopanca before heading back down to Izmit, thankful for our day in one of Turkey's mountains.
The winding road up Kar Tepe mountain
The winding road up Kar Tepe mountain
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We stopped at a quaint cabin cafe near the ski lifts.
We stopped at a quaint cabin cafe near the ski lifts.
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Inside the cabin cafe with its windows to the forest
Inside the cabin cafe with its windows to the forest
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My students enjoyed coffee by the cafe s fireplace
My students enjoyed coffee by the cafe's fireplace
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The misty forest of Kar Tepe mountain
The misty forest of Kar Tepe mountain
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Mystical trees with their roots in the forest
Mystical trees with their roots in the forest
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An old  mossy tree of the forest
An old, mossy tree of the forest
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Amazing  yaprak  leaves in the forest
Amazing "yaprak" leaves in the forest
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The sun came out  and we might have enjoyed a picnic at this forest table
The sun came out, and we might have enjoyed a picnic at this forest table
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We looked up at the summit view from beside the cabin cafe
We looked up at the summit view from beside the cabin cafe
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We drove the the ski lifts
We drove the the ski lifts
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and looked down at the Greenpark Hotel
and looked down at the Greenpark Hotel
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A cafe at Greenpark Hotel with view of the summit
A cafe at Greenpark Hotel with view of the summit
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The ski resort s cabins and ski runs
The ski resort's cabins and ski runs
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One of the hotel s elegant dining rooms
One of the hotel's elegant dining rooms
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hotel stairs
hotel stairs
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hotel gift shop
hotel gift shop
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An amethyst display in the hotel gift shop
An amethyst display in the hotel gift shop
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I could not resist taking my photo in the hotel s elaborate mirror
I could not resist taking my photo in the hotel's elaborate mirror
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or look out the hotel s window
or look out the hotel's window
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and study the hotel s Ottoman paintings
and study the hotel's Ottoman paintings
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We paused in the hotel lobby before leaving
We paused in the hotel lobby before leaving
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and passed a wooden eagle by the ski resort
and passed a wooden eagle by the ski resort
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We stopped for lunch at this cafe on the mountain road  with a view of Lake Sopanca
We stopped for lunch at this cafe on the mountain road, with a view of Lake Sopanca
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We enjoyed our Turkish tea before heading back down Kar Tepe mountain toward Izmit  Kocaeli
We enjoyed our Turkish tea before heading back down Kar Tepe mountain toward Izmit, Kocaeli
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article:343942:16::0
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