Readers will be forgiven for wondering why these articles are entitled ‘Kars’ when, to date, we have only landed at Kars airport and not seen anything of the town – and all the action takes place 35 miles away. 

Readers will be forgiven for wondering why these articles are entitled ‘Kars’ when, to date, we have only landed at Kars airport and not seen anything of the town – and all the action takes place 35 miles away. 

Well the simple reason is that ‘Kars’ is much easier to write and read than ‘ Sarıkamış’; so ‘Kars’ it is.  And on Friday 22nd we finally get to explore this historic city – or at least that was the original plan.  We are halfway to Kars in the minibus when Coşkun phones to say TRT want to film us performing in the snow at the Ski Centre at 2pm. Coşkun Karabulut is the Director of Ovacık Cultural Centre, a published poet and the man who had the idea to start the Folk Dance Group.  He has made all the arrangements for this trip.  So when his call is received our full day in Kars is reduced to under two hours, during which we manage to see the castle (from a distance); the old Russian Orthodox Cathedral built in the 11th century and turned into a mosque during the past few years; and lots of solid stone Russian buildings.

We stock up on famous Kars cheeses – major bargain compared to packaged prices here in Fethiye – and also bought honey in the comb.  Then we hurtled back to the hotel to change and go to the Ski Centre for filming. 

{mosimage}We performed a song in the snow and then rode in horse drawn sleighs across the nursery slopes before retreating to the ơmkar Hotel for a warming tea. The manager appeared to ask if we’d come to dinner that evening, eat and drink as much as we liked and do a performance for his guests.  Who could refuse?  And it was a very enjoyable evening.  The guests were all from Istanbul or Ankara, very sophisticated Turks, regulars at the hotel resulting in the atmosphere of a huge house party.  There were around 150 people present when we performed and they loved it.  We changed out of costume and rejoined the guests for a couple of hours more dancing – learning new dances along the way. 

We finally returned to our hotel around 11.30pm and everyone was content just to go straight to bed.

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