Lake Bafa to Butterfly Bay (Lycia, Turkey)

Today we can pick up the camper van. We need to be at Bodrum airport at 10am so set off early in the hire car to make the vehicle swap.

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We pick up the camper van and set off towards Lycia where we want to walk some sections of the Lycian Way. I never realised that Turkey was so mountainous. Everywhere we look we are either driving along cliff edges or driving towards cliffs. A part of me is glad that I decided against cycle touring here; though I am sure I would have got used to the heat and climbs. Still, it is quite nice watching the mountains and sea pass from the backseat of the camper van.

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We stop for lunch part way down a pass overlooking Gokova township, the place where the Gulf of Gokova ends. We sailed almost to this point last week; it feels like a lifetime ago. We eat bread, smoked eel (the guy at Hotel Silva Oliva smoked it especially for us), olive and gherkins. It’s simple but tasty and the view priceless.

We want to walk the Butterfly Valley side track from the Lycian Way not far from Olundeniz. Fethiye comes and goes in a whirl of shops and hotels. Then Ovacik and Olundeniz pass the same way. There’s nowhere to camp and hoards of sunburned tourists walking around carrying beach towels.

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We drive on along the coast. The road becomes narrow and twisting. It clings to the cliff as if for dear life and the views out the window are of the impossibly clear blue sea directly below us. Before we know it we are at Butterfly Valley village. It seems every house is a pension or restaurant. And it’s not difficult to see why with these views down to the bay.

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The village itself is pretty too; wedged between cliffs that plummet to the sea below and Baba Dhagi (Father Mountain) above.

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There’s no camping but a few pensions have signs that say “tent sites”. Mum goes to one to discuss the possibility of us staying there. We are welcomed with open arms at Hotel Orun. They have a large driveway we can park in and a romantic restaurant for dinner. There is no menu; this is a home kitchen where we are served mixed mezze, soup, a pasta dish and grapes along with the every present fresh bread that is so much a part of every Turkish meal (and comes without charge). The food tastes great and I sleep well outside the camper under the stars in my bivy.

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