What is the best or most scenic place you have ever had a nice, relaxing sip of tea? Some pretty cafe, the top of the Galata Tower or by the sea on a cool summer's evening?
What if I told you about a beautiful winter wonderland where you could sip as you look out at the spectacle of happy faces ice fishing and sleighs-riding across a frozen lake? It sounds like something fit for a postcard, doesn't it?
This picture-perfect sight is located on the Kars-Ardahan border, 45 kilometers away from Ardahan city center, in Turkey's landlocked east.
Situated 1,959 meters above sea level, Lake Çıldır offers locals and tourists alike stunning natural scenery all year round, but many would argue that the best time to stop by is mid-winter when it is covered by a pure white blanket of snow.
Ice fishing and troika rides attract many, but sometimes it's all about the simplest pleasures in life – sunsets and tea.
Turhan Kılıç, who runs a fish restaurant in the village of Akçakale, has been offering his customers an unforgettable dining experience by setting up a few tables on the frozen lake itself so that visitors can enjoy their beverages while they watch the breathtaking sunset.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Güzel Yücel, a visitor from İzmir, said the lake was one of the most enchanting sights she had ever seen and she was glad to have made the choice to come out here.
Resting at the natural beauty spot as part of the last pitstop on a tour of the region, Yücel commented, "I've never experienced anything like this before. It's absolutely terrific."
Many visitors experience a momentary fright when they hear the cracking sound of the ice expanding and contracting beneath them, as many are first-timers. But most soon get over it.
Zeynep Dereci, another visitor, said it was quite a thrilling experience.
As Turkey's second-largest lake in eastern Anatolia, Lake Çıldır's surface starts to freeze at the beginning of winter as temperatures drop to minus 10 degrees in the area at night. This year, as in the last, the lake began to freeze much later, and so far, only the perimeter has turned to ice, reaching about five centimeters in thickness. Once it is covered completely, however, the lake resembles a large plain.
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