Last time we were in Eskişehir for a blog post, we invited you to stroll along the pleasant Porsuk River with us. Aside from enjoying a riverside stroll, the purpose of our little journey was to visit one of the city’s parks, Kent Park, because we’d been told by a Twitter friend not to miss it.
Well no worries about missing the entrance to Kent Park! As we walked along the river, we saw a board informing us we’d arrived at our destination – but these gates more than do the job, don’t you think?
Eskişehir is all about art. There are statues, sculptures and monuments dotted about all over the city and the parks are no different. The sculpture above was created by Korean sculptors Jang Hee and Lee Kwang-Soo to symbolise friendship between Turkey and Korea.
And it’s not all modern art. It’s an eclectic mix that you get in Kent Park. As you walk along the wide boulevard, the riverside is adorned with statues of a more classic nature; lions and mermaids, all displaying the Eskişehir Belediyesi symbol, just in case you forget which city you’re in. Not that you would – this city is one on its own, doing its own thing.
They take their recreation seriously in Eskişehir. Kent Park is very quiet while we’re there because we’re here early morning. It’s our last day in the city and we have a train to catch later to take us onwards to Ankara. But there’s still a smattering of people ambling around as aimlessly as we are, making the most of their city’s open spaces.
But all this art is just an added bonus for us. We’ve come to Kent Park for a reason. There’s very much a work-hard-play-hard feel to Eskişehir – but the Eskişehirli don’t have a coast where they can just go and spend the day at the beach to unwind. So what do you do when you live in a landlocked, Northwest Anatolian city?
You bring the beach to you! “Who cares if there’s no sea and sand? Let’s make some.” We just couldn’t allow ourselves to leave Eskişehir without seeing this ‘beach’ for ourselves. We’re there in April so the ‘sea’ isn’t filled just yet – but what a fun idea! This is just a small section of the beach area. Behind us, it stretches for scores of metres and we can just imagine how busy this area is even as I type these words on an August summer’s day.
And as we continue our walk around the pathways of Kent Park, we reach the opposite end and are suddenly face to face with a military aircraft base on the opposite side of the road. I have a minor fixation with military jets so we admire the ones on display for a few moments – no photos. Cameras are strictly forbidden in areas like this and we’re not about to start testing out just how strict this rule is. (I’ve inadvertently broken this rule in the past and apologising to a member of the jandarma with a huge gun across his chest isn’t really something I want to repeat…although I will have to repeat it when we get to the east of Turkey, but that’s a story for another blog post.)
So we turn our backs on the military aircraft and walk back along the opposite side of the huge lake that runs all through the park. There are seating areas, cafes and kiosks. None of them are open yet because it’s still too early, but there’s something very satisfying about being in a city centre in the middle of a huge park and having the place almost all to yourself.
We linger on the bridge, taking photos along the waterway. Barry grapples with Instagram on our tablet, which always seems to fail him right at the moment he decides to take a photo using it…right tools for the job and all that, and we’re thinking some of our tech needs an update very soon…
Time to leave Kent Park now and head back to the SRF hotel to pick up our bags and head to the train station. Yes, this exit route is as dizzying in real life as it looks in this photo.