Rest day in Beldibi (Lycia, Turkey)

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The camping ground in Beldibi is quite nice. Well, it’s situation on the beach is nice. The camping ground itself is pretty average and run down. But there is a reason for that. This is a tour package resort town. The roads are lined with hotels targeted at Germans and Russians. There are no restaurants because everyone has food included in their package but there are plenty of souvenir and beach wear shops with signage in Russian and prices in Russian ruble and US dollars. But the location is gorgeous and we are ready for a rest day after being on the go since we arrived in Turkey about two weeks ago.

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All we do all day is relax. We have a bit of a swim in the morning. Mum and Dad read their books. I do some work. And then before we know it, the day has come to an end.

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All that’s left to do is watch the sunset and eat dinner relaxing at camp. Sadly, it’s also our final night together. Tomorrow Mum and Dad will carry on in the camper van to Istanbul and I will collect a rental car in Antalya and explore some more of Turkey on my own. It’s been really special to share this time with my parents. I’m glad they are fit and enjoy sailing, hiking and camping.

Mt Olympos (Tahatli Dagi) hike (Lycia, Turkey)

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We stand in Beycik village at about 950m (3,100 feet) above sea level. The rocky exposed slopes of Mt Olympos loom high over us. It’s daunting to think that we will be climbing 1,400m (4,500 feet) in altitude over the space of the five or so hours. But that’s what we’re going to do. The walk starts as all our hikes in Turkey have started so far: with a steep climb up the village road. We’ve parked outside the village mosque because it looks like the safest and flattest place to leave the camper van. As we hike higher towards the end of the village road it becomes clear that we made the right choice.
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For the first hour we climb sharply from the village straight up the valley wall to a high ridge. The climb is relentless, as it will be all day. But we chip away slowly, smelling the sweet scent of pine trees wafting around us. It’s hard going but I’m enjoying the challenge. There’s a tea house about forty minutes into the climb. It’s just an old shepherd’s hut where a young man sells tea and maps to visitors. It looks gorgeous and you can take water from the spring here for free. It’s too early for a stop so we say “merhaba” and continue our climb.
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Like the other hikes we’ve done in Lycia, this is not an easy doddle on a graded path. It is not only challenging due to the constant climbing but also because the trail is rocky under foot. But I like this kind of hiking. It’s different to what I do at home in the sub tropical rain forests.

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It looks like Mum is enjoying the adventure too. After the boulder field we reach a section where the pine trees are fatter and lower than they were before. They look almost cartoon like and I think that at any moment they might start talking.
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Mum tells me that when she was hiking in China earlier this year she learned that the Chinese call these “whispering pines”. I can see why. I rather think they resemble gnomes (though I do prefer the Dutch word kabouter).

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We stop for a rest at the top of the ridge. We are at about 1,700m altitude now, so have climbed halfway. It’s peaceful up here in the mountains. The air is a little cooler than the coast and the only sounds are our voices, the wind in the pines and the twittering birds.

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Naturally, there is also time to stop to smell (well admire) the flowers too.

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The ascent above the tree line comes into view shortly after our rest stop. It’s daunting to see the trail cut into the rocks. It looks like it will be tough but we are determined and in good spirits. We see a pair of Russian hikers stashing their heavy through packs in some trees near here. They must have camped overnight in the pretty glade just by the trail and are now heading up to the summit with day packs like we are. We will see them disappearing into the distance a good few times as we climb.

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Red flags mark the climb up to the summit. They are not usually here; they have been placed here for tomorrow’s Red Bull Sea to Sky motorbike race. That’s right; they ride motorbikes up here on this narrow rocky trail. Usually, you would follow red and white painted rocks (the Lycian Way markers) until the summit turn off then red and yellow painted rocks from there to the summit (you cannot miss the turn off; it is very clear).

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The climb up the summit track is as tough as we expected. The rocky path is loose under foot and there’s no messing around with twisting around the mountain. This is calf burning stuff. We take a rest about half way up the first section (being the section that takes you to the summit plateau). The views are amazing and it’s fantastic to be sharing this experience with my mum.

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We look down on where we’ve come from and watch some other hikers following us. They are so tiny in the distance but that’s where we were not that long ago.

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Once up the first section of the climb we can see the gondola station on the summit in the distance (oh yes, we could definitely have come up here an easier way). We thought we were so close but now we see how much farther we still have to walk. That’s okay though because this alpine landscape is stunning.
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It makes for brilliant hiking. It’s kind of like walking in another world. Somewhere that is at once welcoming and dangerous. If the weather turned I think this place could become a death trap with nowhere for shelter and the potential to be very cold. But we are prepared and now only have another half hour or so left to trek.

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And then we are there. Four and a half hours after leaving the village we arrive at the summit where we have organised to take the gondola back to sea level. The clouds have started to drift in and the air is now cold (we will both change into warm coats once we stop). It’s a fantastic feeling to have hiked here and experienced the changing landscape. The gondola journey down the mountain is magical too with stunning views out to see (none of which came out on my camera due to reflections on the glass).

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There’s only one thing left to do when we arrive at a camping in Beldibi and that is to take a cooling swim in the sea. This hike was wonderful in its own right but to take it with my mum made it so much more special.

Kas to Cirali (Lycia, Turkey)

We set off in the camper van. Our goal is to find somewhere to stay that’s close to Mt Olympos, which we want to hike tomorrow.

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We’re running low on supplies so drive through Kas to find a supermarket. But there’s something better waiting for us: a farmers’ market. The market is set up right next to ancient tombs. It’s amazing that ancient ruins are so common here that the locals will just sell tomatoes standing in front of it. Not bad amazing. Seriously cool amazing.

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These are the real farmers’ markets where you can buy honey straight from the bee hive, cheese straight from the bucket in which it was made and vegetables that look a little battered because they are not genetically modified to withstand lengthy transport. We buy all sorts of vegetables and fruit for the princely sum of about 5TL ($AU2.50). We have egg plant, tomatoes, capsicum, apples, pomegranate, lemon, parsley, dill, zucchini, cucumber and a few other things that will last the three of us for the next few days. It’s both a bargain and an experience.

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Fridge and pantry restocked we drive up the cliff in the direction of Mt Olympos. The views from the road out of Kas are spectacular. We drive to Demre. The approach is strange. It’s like we are arriving at an alien planet because the whole river delta is covered in greenhouses. I’ve never seen anything like it but there’s no point trying to take a photo because it won’t turn out. There’s just sea of white plastic filling the space between the mountains from which we are descending and the sea.

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But Demre is an interesting place to stop because it is the place where the Basilica of St Nicholas (yes, here comes the continuation of the Santa Claus story) stands. St Nicholas looked nothing like Santa Clause, as the many statues in his honour show. St Nicholas is also the patron saint of both Greece and Russia. And this explains the Russian tour buses, Russian lettering on all the shops and the Orthodox trinkets for sale in the shops.

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The Basilica has been magnificently preserved. It includes some stunning frescoes. I enjoy being here.

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Demre (and the Basilica of St Nicholas) used to be part of the ancient city of Myra. This city was occupied by a range of races throughout history. The Lycians left behind these amazing cliff-side tombs. They dot a mountain up behind the city. The cliff tombs that you can access as a tourist are limited but still worth seeing.

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In the same area as the tombs there’s a huge Roman amphitheater. I am not tired of amphitheaters yet. I know that to some people they are like temples in Thailand: something you enjoy the first few times but then don’t need to see again. But I loved all of the hundred or so temples I visited in Thailand and am also loving all the amphitheaters in Turkey.

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We drive on and stop at a place called Saray Cigkofte (Raw Meatball Palace). We buy some drinks and are given a free cig kofte (raw Turkish meatball that tastes better than it sounds). Mum and Dad love it and ask for a second, thinking we can purchase them (it turns out at the end that the restaurant will not accept payment for them). We also eat kanafe (cheese fried in shredded pastry soaked in syrup and topped with crushed pistachio). These were made fresh to order and are absolutely amazing. The cheese almost tastes like semolina and the shredded pastry is almost like coconut. It brings smiles to our faces.

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We end our day at Cirali. It’s a tiny village made famous by the eternal flames that burn from the rocks. Mum and Dad chill out at the beach reading and enjoying an afternoon drink. Meanwhile, I head out on what should have been a short half hour run but ends up being a two hour geocaching adventure. On the way back I pass the mosque and notice how beautiful it is.

We walk into town and decide to eat at the Lemon Restaurant. It’s one of the few authentic Turkish restaurants we find. The service is friendly and the food tasty and cheap. I eat my first Turkish pide (Turkish pizza) while Mum and Dad enjoy some casseroles. It’s a good night with good company.

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And to end it off, I lay out under the stars to sleep. I love sleeping out under the stars.

Lycian Way: Cukurbag to Gokceoren hike (Lycia, Turkey)

Note for those hoping to use this as a resource for hiking the Lycian Way – this is section 12 in Kate Clow’s book but in reverse.

We’ve come to Lycia to walk sections of the Lycian Way. I bought the book with the intention of walking the whole trail end-to-end but then Dad invited me to join him and Mum sailing so I did that instead. From the guide book, it’s difficult to identify the best sections for walking so we pick this section because it appears that we can get to the start and end easily, and leave the camper van parked securely at a camping ground.

We start by walking part way to Kas before jumping on a dolmus (mini bus) the rest of the way. The dolmus are quite modern and comfortable. I had pictured them rather like Indonesian or Thai local transport but of course, Turkey is not in South-East Asia. We stop at the bus station and decide to catch a taxi to Cukurbag, where the trail starts. You can walk from Kas to Cukurbag but it’s 6km uphill and we want to walk the next section of the trail. The taxi costs us 35TR ($AU17.50).

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“Lykia Road?” the taxi driver asks us. “Yes”. “Kas?” he asks again. “No, Phellos” we respond. So he drops us at an intersection and points uphill. “Lykia Road not far. If want Kas …” he points the other way down the other road of the intersection. It looks far more appealing than the steep rise that awaits us. But we stay true to our course. After a few hundred meters walking up the steep hill we reach a mosque and water fountain. This is where the trail leaves the road on the left side. If you are hiking here, this will be your last drinking water for about 6-7 hours so I recommend you fill up.

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The first part of the trail proper gives us a good indication of how tough this hike will be on our feet. I am glad that I’m wearing boots instead of joggers. The thicker sole will come in handy today. The trekking poles are also great (until half way through the hike when one of them snaps – I only bought it in August).

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The trail just climbs and climbs and climbs. The intersection where we began is at about 485m above sea level and the ridge we climb to is at about 820m above sea level. The trail doesn’t twist around the mountain. Rather, it just goes straight up the side. The fantastic thing about this is that we have fantastic views back down to where we came from and on to the coast. Photos rarely do these sorts of views justice and this is no exception.

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Not far from the top of the ridge we come to the ruins of the city of Phellos. There are no interpretive signs but you can see old rock tombs and some structures still here. Apparently this was an important city and was linked to Antiphellos, which is the present day town of Kas. We don’t explore the ruins much because there’s little information in Kate Clow’s book about them. But it turns out from subsequent online research that there are some old reliefs, more tombs than the one on the path and more structures than we saw. So if you are here, it might be worth a bit of a rest and explore.

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The ridge walk after Phellos is probably one of the two nicest sections of the hike. I love walking ridges. They offer views to both sides and the way ridges snake through the landscape is like walking on the spine of a dragon.

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The only bad thing is that the trail has been narrow since we started climbing to Phellos and the shrubs are very spiky so we all have scratched up legs. Another tip: wear gaiters or long pants for these sections of the hike if you don’t want to end up with rogainner’s legs.

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The views from the ridge to the north are spectacular. Treeless alpine peaks extend into the distance with deep valleys in between. It must look amazing in the spring when the flowers are in bloom because even the dead flower heads look lovely in this landscape.

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It’s not all rocky hiking though. At times the trail meanders through forested areas that are lush and green. It’s as though we drop into pockets of other wordliness. Almost as though the mountain is giving our feet a reprieve.

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The trees in these sections remind me of the Snowy Mountains at home, except that the bark is red not white. But it’s the way they are low and twisted and coppised that makes me feel this way. I really enjoy these pockets of forest that we come across on the 25km hike.

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After a long slow slog along the narrow and often rocky trail we reach a forestry road. We will follow this for about an hour as it cuts a swathe through the forest. The roads stand out and we’ve seen them from the trail. Fortunately, I have a good topographic map and it clearly shows that we only have to walk on the road for about an hour. If I were narrating the Pursuit of Happyness movie I would say “I call this part of the hike: the slug fest”. Hahaha.

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We reach this small thatched hut in the middle of nowhere. The road section ends here and the navigational challenges begin. There’s a lot of trees and shrubs down up here, whether by storms or wood harvesting. They cover the track and most of the trail markings. We spend some time route finding and, at the same time, find a nice spot to stop for lunch not far from the “hut”. We eat and relax in the sunshine before continuing. About 200m down the track we come across two German hikers who have also stopped for lunch. It’s amazing that we were so close but didn’t even hear each other or know the other group was there.

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The track takes us to an open rocky section. It’s stunning. I’ve never walked in this type of open rocky landscape before. It is what I imagine some of the places mentioned in Bible stories to look like. I don’t know why.

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We reach the cottage described in the guide book. It’s so isolated here on the rocky hill top. I can’t imagine living here. The cottage is deserted. Perhaps its always this way or perhaps the residents have already gone down to a lower village for the winter. Either way, it’s beautiful and stark. Here we lose the trail for about half an hour. From the other direction it’s not too difficult. There’s a big red arrow pointing in the direction from which we came and plenty of red and white markings on the rocks. But in our direction it’s difficult because there are so many rocks and if you don’t happen upon the one with the marking then it’s almost impossible to find them.
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After some mistakes made by trying to follow the markers, rather than the map we stop and start to think logically (and I find my iPhone compass, which helps). I’ve included the photo above of me pointing in the correct direction in case it helps anyone else through this section of the trail.

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Not far after the cottage is an old rocky field with crab apple trees. Under the trees there is grass that would make fantastic places to camp. I think it would be gorgeous up here at night under a full moon.

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But today we walk on down a steep rocky descent that will lead us to a creek in the valley floor below. The descent is challenging and takes us over an hour. You’d think walking down hill would be preferable to all the uphill hiking we’ve done so far but the loose rocks are a challenge as we try to walk instead of rock ski down the trail.

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We all make it safely down to the valley. It’s lovely down here and I can understand why people make it their home. Yes, it’s a harsh and isolated place but there are a few houses dotted around and the clink of goat bells rings through the valley from some distance away. This is the sound of hiking in Turkey: goat bells clanging in the distance. We stop at the creek and cool our weary feet in the clear water. We still have about 8km to hike and it’s already after 3pm. Fortunately, it stays light late here so there is no need to panic about the end of daylight. But I don’t think any of us expected a 23-25km hike to take this long. We are used to hiking on softer subtropical trails that are easier going than this rocky terrain.

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The rocky terrain is over though. We are now walking on another forestry road that will take us all the way to Gokceoren (typing that is much easier than pronouncing it; unfortunately, my keyboard doesn’t have include the Turkish alphabet so I can’t include all the special characters to really show how this is written and pronounced). About 2km from the creek there is a water fountain. This is the first water since we left Cukurbag around 9:30am this morning. I fill my bottles knowing from the map that we have a long uphill hike to the finish. There is a second spring about 1km further down the road too if you need it. This second spring is marked on the topographic map while the first one isn’t.

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We walk ever uphill on the forestry road. We make good time but these final kilometers seem endless. It’s always that way towards the end of a hike. You think “oh it’s only 5km to go” but the reality is that it’s still 5km and not going to go past any faster than the previous 5km did. Funny how the brain works. Two kilometers (1 1/4 mile) from the village proper we come to the first signs of civilisation: a house. We all let out some whoops because walking up this hill is probably the most dull part of the hike after the splendor of the mountains.
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Slowly we come to Gokceoren village proper. The valley and village are visually splendid. There’s little houses with red roofs, some old and some derelict. A village woman herds goats while another group sit together sorting vegetables. A car load of men passes us on the road towards the coast. Chickens have one last scratch in the dirt before they start their nightly run home to their roosts. Goats bleat and their bells ring through the valley. We’ve stepped a long way back in time but are less than 20km by road from the touristic village and marina of Kas with all its modern conveniences.

We learn that the last dolmus for Kas has already been and gone. Mum speaks with a lady at a farm house. She negotiates us a ride into town with a man who has a car. Dad and I wait on the street while Mum makes the necessary arrangements. We can hear the lady shouting down the phone to the man with the car from where we are. It’s almost as though she’s shouting to him across the village. The woman invites us all to sit under her verandah while she makes cheese. She picks fresh pears from her tree and offers them to us. Yum! As she makes cheese and we wait for the “chauffeur” to turn up I take in her home. Over the veranda she grows white and red grapes. There’s a pear tree and some other fruit trees. She has a vegetable crop. It’s cool and the bench we sit on is covered in a mattress so that it is like a day bed. It feels like a home. A place that provides all the woman and her family need. Making her own cheese looks like it comes naturally; like she’s done it all her life. And her smile is warm. She speaks no English and we no Turkish. But it doesn’t seem to matter: she wants to help us get to Kas.

As for the drive to Kas. It was an adventure in itself. Our “chauffeur” has obviously driven this steep cliff-side road thousands of times and takes it at breakneck speed. I sit in the front and take in the views. Blue seas over 1,100m below us come ever closer with every hair pin bend. The islands off the coast have steep cliffs. The yachts look stunning dotted against the Agean’s blue. And the 1,100m altitude disappears quickly under our wheels until we are dropped at the camping ground, paying the man 100TL ($AU50) for his trouble (this is a lot of money in Turkey but a taxi would have cost more and he has gone out of his way to drop us off).

It was a fun adventurous day out.

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.

Butterfly Valley hike (Lycia, Turkey)

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We have a guide book and maps for the Lycian Way and, while she was in Holland visiting family, Mum heard that the Butterfly Bay section of the walk was stunning. So, we set off early in the morning to make the trek down the cliffs from the village to the bay below. We began the walk by crossing the road and walking down the long street / driveway leading to George’s House (a pension). The entry to the walk was clearly signed from the main street.

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It didn’t take us long to walk / scramble down the steep track leading to the first of the three ropes sections of this walk. The mountain rescue people place these ropes to keep trekkers safe during the steeper sections of the descent. The ropes have knots in them to help walkers keep their grip and probably prevent some rope burn.

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This walk is not for the feint of heart or those afraid of exposure. You need to use the ropes both on the descent and ascent. You start at 300m above sea level and drop down to sea level in less than forty minutes of trekking then do it all again on the return leg. The suggested duration of this walk is 1.5 hours each way but Mum and I did it easily within 45 minutes each way with the last 5-10 minutes being on flat ground in the valley floor.

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There are also a few exposed ledges that you have to cross without the protection of ropes. And all you can see when you turn your eyes away from the cliff you are on are cliffs all around with a deep valley like a chasm below.
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But all that drama aside, this is a seriously fun and beautiful walk. The views from the trail, both towards the bay and across to the cliffs on the other side of the valley are stunning.

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And even in autumn there are gorgeous wild flowers to admire. These purple flowers looked like paper and were so delicate. I love it when flowers are like this: delicate yet tough enough to withstand harsh environments.

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The beach in the bay is gorgeous for swimming. The water is clear and it was wonderful to cool off after the trek. However, the beach and areas near the beach are quite feral. Many backpackers and others have set up a seemingly permanent camp with lots of tiny tents littering the water front. Most have plastic over them and privacy screens around them. There’s a general air of itineracy here that makes the place feel unloved and unnatural. Actually, to be honest, it’s the hobo version of a beach that has been disrespected through the construction of highrise buildings (though I’m sure the hobos camping here would say they are all nature-lovers who would never damage nature’s perfection). I estimate some 50 tents were erected here, making it not just a couple of campers but a whole village of nylon and plastic. Apparently a beer boat comes once a week to deliver their supplies but I’m not sure whether this is true.

We still enjoyed the hike and the swim. Because from up on the trail above tent city you can’t see them at all and are lost in the solitude of the cliffs. (Note: there’s a guy at the tent city who collects 5TL ($AU2.50) from all people wanting to swim at the beach area so either bring money or be prepared to negotiate hard / try to dodge him).

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.