Now that we are in the heart of winter and all the “good” holidays have passed, i.e. Bayram, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, our thoughts turn to “what to do now”? For many people, winter is a dark and lonely time of year, especially for those inflicted with SADS (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
For expats, winter can often bring out the worst in us. We struggle daily with adjusting to life in our host country. We enjoyed the long holiday of Bayram, but most of us likely didn’t participate in Turkish traditions such as visiting family and neighbors starting with the eldest. We felt a little lost at Thanksgiving and Christmas, even though a few of and our friends and families celebrated with us. Let’s face it; the holidays are just not the same when the rest of the country is going about their regular routines.
So how do we spend the rest of winter? I’m here to tell you that for the most part, you can spend winter doing the same things you did back in your home country. Nothing has really changed! In fact, winter is the perfect time to explore those parts of the city and the country that have been on your to do list. Here are a few suggestions:
- Skiing and snowboarding – try Elmadağ in Ankara or take a weekend trip to Kayseri. At 3,916 meters, Erciyes is actually taller than Bavaria’s Zugspitze!
- Spend an afternoon at Cer Modern enjoying a free art exhibit and lunch.
- Still haven’t been to a hamam? Get to it! What a great experience!
- Take a day trip to Kızılcahamam. There’s nothing like relaxing in a heated outdoor pool filled with natural spring water while snow is falling on your head. While you are there, drive to the top of the mountain, hike through the woods, and take advantage of the spas and hamams at any of the local hotels.
- Experience a musical, play, or ballet at the Ankara Opera House.
- Stroll around Eymir Gölü and revel in the beauty of the winter silhouette. Enjoy a good meal while you are there.
- Go cheer on a local basketball team.
- Seek out concerts and exhibits at local universities.
- It’s easy to travel in warmer weather, but you are missing out on the beauty of winter season in Amasra, Istanbul, Izmir, Cappadocia, and so many other places! Just do it!
And don’t forget, there’s still our old favorites: cuddling up with a good book, learning new recipes, visiting all of the museums, joining a gym or taking a class, starting a club like a book club or a photography club, going to the theater or the mall, volunteering with your favorite organization, starting that blog you meant to write but never did, visiting friends, and taking in the cultural events offered by many local groups, associations, and universities!