Eskişehir is a city that truly brings a grin to your face. Recreation appears to be the primary goal here, and having a good time is encouraged. Sculptures can be seen throughout Eskişehir’s city centre, and the River Porsuk has been made into an attraction, with riverfront bars such as Traveler’s Cafe offering views of the gondolas bobbing by. You’ll need to switch sides now and then, but you can walk all the way to Kent Park along the Porsuk.
And, in an industrial city, creating recreational places requires a little of inventiveness… and someone in Eskişehir puts it to good use! Of course, restoring the Ottoman mansions of Odunpazar to their former splendour makes perfect sense – but building a ‘beach’ and a’sea’ in the centre of Kent Park only makes you smile!
There’s also elale Park. Our journey up to elale Park was made possible by this windmill. We were roaming around the Odunpazar when we noticed a small windmill on top of a hill in the distance. We reasoned that there must be good views from up there, so we went out, following the road that climbs away from the Ottoman houses…and it does climb! This has to be worth the time and effort!
We followed the elale Park signs to the great entrance gates, which are perched on an incredibly high mountainside, just like the park beyond them. We are the novelty foreigners for the second time since arriving in Eskişehir (we had already been a novelty in Köfteci Ahmet), and a car slows down, windows wide, voices shouting, “Hello.” “Welcome to Eskişehir, from where do you come?” Because I can hardly breathe, let alone communicate, their opinion of outsiders may have taken a plunge at this point. Before pushing through the gates and along the pathway, I manage a whispered “England.”
Yes, there are good views of the city from this vantage point. We quickly realised the windmill was only there for show. People come up the steps to have their photos taken; but, like Kent Park, there’s an eclectic mix of other pieces to appreciate, so Barry and I opt out of that activity.