After leaving Sivrikaya with a heavy sigh, we rerouted ourselves towards Anzer, hoping to get there before we were immersed in the blackness of unlit rural roads. The pockmarked one we were travelling on became dirt somewhere in the darkness, and we were soon bumping along in rocky muck— giggling about the look on the faces of the car rental agency if they knew where we had taken their poor vehicle.
The road was little more than a scratch in the surface of the Earth, serpentine, with shoulders that plunged into hidden rivers. At some point we doubted the map— there was nothing about our environment which promised a charming village of bees and honey at the end of it. Eventually we came across another human being, casually strolling in the darkness, hands folded behind his back. We asked him with all the naïveté and hope of lost tourists, if we were on the right track to Anzer.
Anzer? He repeated with a chuckle, and dramatically lifted his hand in the direction we were already set on, and let out another soft laugh. The gleam of amusement in his eye concerned me, and as we followed his fingers, we began to worry about that chuckle. Just where was this place?
At some point, thoughts of dealing with popped tires in the middle of nowhere, with no cell reception, hungry, in the cold, began to weigh heavily against the possibility of dining on honey and resuming our search for the Caucasian Black Grouse. After some debate and a few more sighs, I got out of the car to help direct a dangerous U-turn, delighted with morbid fantasies of wolves circling me. We would not see the grouse on this trip, but sometimes the journey and the search are what we remember and carry with the most fondness.
That night, we drove all the way back to Trabzon.