Why I loved my trip to Kars

For the last 2 years, I wanted to join a special trip to Kars & I couldn’t. No money for year 1, a surgery for year 2. 

On year 3, I was on my 2 feet & I could afford to join (thank you again Dad & my sister Camille for your participation!). 

 
At the top of the Kars Castle

At the top of the Kars Castle

Being stuck in the snow with Murat (middle) & Levent (left)

Being stuck in the snow with Murat (middle) & Levent (left)

 

Why did I want so bad to join that trip? 

Because it was an organized trip focused on photography in a unique region of Turkey.  

Organized? Those who know me would be surprised I’d join an organized tour. Yes, it’s true, I usually don’t like organized tours as I feel I don’t have the freedom to go & see what I want & to spend enough time in the places I really like.... to photograph them. 

But when it comes to an organized photo tour, it becomes perfect!  

Why perfect?

Because….
- We went to the greatest places in Kars & its surroundings, in a very efficient way (we had a minibus just for us).
- We spent all the time we needed to photograph the places we went to.
- We know we’re all taking pictures so we just don’t put ourselves in front of each other.
- We had workshop every evening to have our 6 selected images reviewed by Murat Düzyol, Turkish photographer working for National Geographic Turkey & organiser of photo safaris. 
And then, icing on the cake, we were lucky to be an energetic group, with a fun & positive ambiance, always constructive critics, exchanging tips helping each other.

The group in front of Kars castle

The group in front of Kars castle

When photographers have lunch, there's always a "camera" table 😆📸

When photographers have lunch, there's always a "camera" table 😆📸

What did I love about that trip?

This trip was not a holiday: we were there to photograph & that’s what we did. I loved that. Not that I don’t love holidays but there is a time for everything & I loved to be able to both be away from home & to focus on photography.

Staying in Kars & its surrounding means being outside & breathing fresh air. We were also driving through vast lands covered by heavy snow. It was refreshing for both the body & the mind.

I of course loved discovering unique places & new activities:
- I had never seen any Çirit game before going to the Kekeç village.
To be honest, I had no idea of what this game was. It was intense & impressive to see horses running on the snow in the middle of nowhere with their riders trying to touch others with a stick by throwing it.

- I had never seen someone fishing through ice before going to Çıldır lake.
I admit I’ve never thought about the fishes under 25cm of ice during winter! When I saw the fisherman taking the net out of the ice-cold water with bear hands, I had another proof county life is not easy.

- I had never seen an archeological site of Armenian ruins before going to Ani (45km away from Kars).
I just never heard about this huge site & I loved it as I could imagine its faded beauty.

- I had never seen Caucasian danses before going to the Puskin restaurant.
The rhythm of the music, the costumes, the physic performances (when they stay on their toes) were very impressive. I was lucky to be able to go & see a show in Istanbul, as I loved this so much!


Next steps

Discovering new places & new ways of doing things are the reasons why I’ll go & visit new places as soon as I can. I’m planning on visiting Mardin, Hatay, Gaziantep, in the south east of Turkey. I’d love to visit Konya too. And Rize, in the Black sea area. And Çanakkale. And Diyarbakir. Well, the list is long :)!

If you have any questions about this trip, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me, I’ll be able to share details (hotels & restaurants for ex) with you.

For the moment, here is a selection of my images of my trip to Kars.
If you fall in love with my image(s) & want offer yourself such a gift, let me know!

That’s all folks'!