Butterfly Valley to Kas (Lycia, Turkey)

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Today we will drive further east along the Lycian coast to find the next hike. Setting off from Butterfly Bay we retrace our steps (or rolling wheels) to Fethiye. The cliff side road is as spectacular as it was yesterday. Maybe even more so because we can see the bay opening out instead of closing in. The clarity of the water is amazing and Dad’s driving fantastic (I don’t know whether I would like to maneuver a huge camper along this narrow winding and sometimes steep road.

I sit in the backseat passing the time. I have a Turkish sim card in my phone so have data for the first time in a few days so am catching up on some reading and Facebook. I am like a smoker getting a fix after not being able to smoke for a few days. It’s rather pathetic but I am a social being. Mostly I am chatting with Paul anyway, so it’s not that bad.
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Mum sees some brown tourist signs and asks Dad to turn off. The first is to Letoon. This Ancient Greek site dates back to the 6th century BCE. Apparently it was never an actual town where people settled but was a religious site. Whatever it’s history … I find it wonderful that we can just pull up, set up a table and eat lunch right in front of an ancient amphitheater.

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It’s only through Wikipedia that I learn anything about the site, which seems to be free to enter (we certainly weren’t charged a fee, having walked through an open fence near the amphitheater). But it’s a fascinating place all the same. The amphitheater is in the process of being restored, there are big pillars where there must have been a temple dedicated to one of the Ancient Greek gods and there are some other remains.
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What is really interesting is the way the blocks have been sorted. This is an archaeological site in progress. Men are working on the foundations, possibly to sure the site up. And they have painstakingly separated the blocks into rows according to size and style.

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We drove on and come to Patara. Now this is a site! We have to drive 1-2km from the entry gate to the actual car park. The drive takes us past a huge arch that is being restored. It looks rather like Paris’s arc de triumph. There are loads of buildings scattered around the site. The most impressive is definitely the amphitheater. This city is said to have been established by the son of Apollo, so it must have been important. It was also the birth place of St Nicholas (yes, Santa Claus). But more on him in a few posts time. We park and walk around the site. The amphitheater is a natural starting place. It’s a steep climb up to the top from where we can view the scale of the structure. I take a photo of Mum and Dad “watching a play”.

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At this site there is a fully restored amphitheater that I think was a meeting place, rather than a playhouse. It is impressive and gives me an even better appreciation for the Ancient Greeks (a historical period in which I’ve never had much interest but that is changing).

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Patara was no minor town either. Not only was it said to be established by the son of Apollo but it’s importance is evidenced by the grand avenue that leads away from the two amphitheaters. It doesn’t have cart wheel markings, which a sign says is evidence that it was intended as a pedestrian boulevard, rather than a working street. It is also lined with the remains of grand colonnades.

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Patara was a port town so it is only fitting that we continue on to the beach. It is covered by the 5TL ($AU2.50) entry fee to see the archaeological site. This is our first sand beach in Turkey. It’s quite pretty but the water is not as clear as it is at rocky beaches because the sand is moved around by the waves. As always, there are many heads bobbing in the water. We join them for a bit before continuing our drive east.

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We find a camping ground just outside Kas. We decide to call it a day because camping grounds are few and far between in Turkey. This is probably due to two factors: (1) pensions with half or full board are plentiful and relatively cheap and (2) you are allowed to camp anywhere after dusk in Turkey (or so everything I’ve read online says). The camping grounds (even those that are ACSI rated) are generally of low quality here and priced similar to those in Hungary where camping grounds are magnificent. But it’s a nice place to park the camper and spend a night under the stars and an olive tree in my sleeping bag outside.

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We eat dinner at the campground restaurant right on the water watching the sun set over the opening of the bay and then turning around to watch the glittering lights of Kas township proper about 2km up the road. I am pretty lucky to be having this experience and to be sharing it with my parents.

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