Monday, 23 August 2010

Camili and other villages in Macahel

Hassan's generous family ,Mavlute, our crew and of course Hüseyin, our brilliant guide.

Melissa writing her diary on Hassan's guest house terrace. A great place to chill and a perfect base to discover the surrounding villages.

We had at last arrived at Hassan's guest house where our real adventure was about to begin but first we had a day to visit the Maral waterfall and visit the villages of Duzenli and Kayalar .

The landscape in the valley of Macahel is incredibly lush with abundance of hazelnut, chestnut and walnut trees. A very steep landscape, almost impossible to farm. Whats more it's difficult to photograph because of the bright sunlight with cloudy haze, diffusing the light and playing havoc with our cameras exposure.

Here is Melissa looking down the valley. One can just pick out the land farmed high on the slopes to the left and if you click on the picture you can see steep fields way off in the distance.

This picture may not be clear but the brown spec is an old lady scything the grass to keep the hazel trees clear. Very tough work in a magical location but I'm not sure the location means much when you are attempting to make a living on such steep slopes.

The abundance of wildlife is quite wonderful with an infinity of variety butterflies and wild flowers which had us all enthralled , especially Richard.

This storage barn is typical of so many to be found around throughout the valley.Notice the new bee hives on the terrace.

To carry goods up to the farmsteads farmers use zip wires. We all had bets we would see live stock being carried or even a Granny but never caught the occasion on film so you will just have to take our word. These things are an essential part of life in the mountains, apart from the potential entertainment value for Granny. Don't laugh, we saw a very old lady getting off one or perhaps she was testing it for her goats.

The first part of our mornings trip was to visit and swim in the famous Maral waterfall which is spectacular. I'll save you from the pictures of the girls making the most of the waterfall . One thing is for sure, it is very cold but worth the climb down.

While climbing down to the base of the waterfall we met this man making a fruit picker or was it a nut picker. He was using a nice old knife. I asked where it had come from and he said the knife maker up the valley . So the Macahel knife maker was someone I had to meet

This is not a very good picture but is memorable. Our gentleman knife maker whose name I do not know is perhaps the last of a generation of knife makers and I'll put money on it his forefathers were gun makers. Macahel has a history way back for guns, long since vanished but critical for this area fought over for centuries.

This Axe was exquisite, with a razor sharp edge. It was a thing of beauty rather than something from the yard.

A simple smithy .All that is needed to make knives and general implements to cut shape and manage these verdant woodlands and not something from the museum. Although most smithies look alike around the world this one was special.

This picture illustrates the home of our knife maker . To some it might appear a very humble dwelling but to me it is a special place where the last of a line is still making a living .

Making our way back to Camili we chanced upon a farmstead selling honey . After further inspection we discovered this tower block of beehives.

This type of hive is often seen at the top of a lime tree and made from the trunk of a tree but it sat right in the middle of the tower block .

The farmer ,who new Mavlute and Hassan well, was kind enough to provide us with nuts, honey and the bread must have come from the van. We were fascinated by the farm implements around the yard. This sleigh is regularly used during the winter to carry goods across the snow by hand rather than use a simple cart.

Some of the barn details were timeless .

More storage on stilts which keeps the precious honey and dry goods away from bears during the winter.

That picture again and one I dream of . Imagine it the shed of sheds with a view to die for .

Mavlute was always on hand with eternal patience to drive us onto another special place. Only I got the feeling it was only us who thought the villages were all so wonderful . The connection between man and his landscape is something we have nearly lost in Europe and this community is totaly at one with the woods and their landscape but for how long ? The yearning for consumer goods ,western comfort could be the undoing for a community that in truth has so much .

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