I failed keeping my promise to have 2 posts done yesterday, today will have to do. I will continue where I left off.
We arrived to Fethiye and caught a free shuttle from the bus station to a hostel/hotel called V-Go. Turkey’s transportation infrastructure is remarkable- that is the second free shuttle service we have taken advantage of since being here.
Our first full day in Fethiye was suppose to be a planning day, unfortunately there was a massive power outage throughout the country which made planning rather impossible. I wasn’t feeling well so I spent the day reading, while Chris befriended the hostel workers and even helped with repairs!
Our second day we awoke to find the most stunning view (see the picture below) and happily ate our breakfast on the terrace taking the scenery in. We managed to book a one day gulet cruise to the twelve islands for the following day, organize our Lycian Way Hike, buy a turkish sim card, and get groceries for our hike. We ended the planning with tea and backgammon at a restaurant overlooking the bay while the sun set.
We then headed to the fish market for a fantastic meal, much better than my adventure in Croatia. The market is set up in the middle of a building, where you can buy any and every type of fish. The market is surrounded by restaurants, and each vendor works with a restaurant. Thus, you buy your fish and for a very small price ($3 CAD) the corresponding restaurant will cook it for you and provide you with salad and bread. We went with prawns to start that were cooked in a garlic and chili sauce, and sea bass as our main meal. It was only slightly more expensive than my meal in Croatia, and about a thousand times better. It was a fantastic experience that I highly recommend.
The next day we were picked up and brought to our boat at 10:00 am and set sail around 10:30. Unfortunately the crew did not provide much information about each stop, just how long we had and if we could swim or not, so I cannot provide much background info, only details of our experience. I think it is very much worth it to get out on the water as it is a beautiful area, but if you are prone to seasickness I would be wary. We had a calm day and it felt as though we were on rough seas, so I can only imagine if it actually was rough seas! The swimming was amazing, the water was around 18°C even though it was only the start of April. The lunch that was included was great, there was a choice of chicken or fish and plenty of sides. We got back around 5:00 pm so it was a full day.
My honest opinion about a one day cruise vs. multiple day cruises is I personally think I would be bored after several days. One day was a perfect amount of time!
The next day we stored our large bag at the hostel and headed out with our small bags to start our hike. To be honest, we had only a rough idea of our itinerary, but we knew our first two stops so we had booked accomodation in those places. We set out from downtown Fethiye, joined by a lovely Irish gentleman who was hiking the same way, with our first stop being the ghost-town of Kayakoy. It was a good uphill bit to get out of Fethiye, but after that it was mostly flat to Kayakoy. The trail was waymarked very well and we only lost the trail once for a few minutes before finding it again. The ruins of Kayakoy were spectacular, an abandoned greek village which the Turks did not want to re-settle. We hiked through the centre of the ruins and easily found the official Lycian Way signs for Oludeniz, the blue lagoon, which would be our final stop for the day. After another uphill climb away from Kayakoy it was flat, and then very much downhill, to Oludeniz. We had our first views of the beautiful Mediterranean coast which we were to have over the next 5 days. Approaching Oludeniz we were rewarded with stunning aerial views of the beautifully colored lagoon. Again, the trail was waymarked very well and it was quite obvious where the trail went. In total we hiked 15 km and made it to Oludeniz by 2:00 pm, where we quickly checked into our hotel and changed into our swim gear so we could end the day with a dip in the beautiful water. There is no better way to end a day of hiking in the heat, I can promise you that! That evening we had a lovely supper of kebab and fries, and sat on our balcony lapping up every minute of sunshine. We were exhausted after hiking and were asleep very early.
Our second day of hiking started with an incredible breakfast, including a full sized omlet which had peppers, mushroom and onion in it. (A very rare treat!!) We stayed at Akdeniz Beach Hotel and paid only $15 CAD each for a beautiful private room with ensuite, including the breakfast. This was significantly cheaper than anything we could find in the area, and it was great value. Highly recommend it!
We were a bit torn as to how to start our hike, the official start to the Lycian Way is in Ovacik, which is north of Oludeniz and would require backtracking, or taking a minibus. We didn’t feel like doing either, but the Lycian Way app we downloaded on Chris’s phone for free (The biggest piece of advice I can give to those who want to hike the Lycian Way is to get this free app. You don’t need wi-fi to use any of the app, and it works with your gps so you always know you are on the trail. It also give you a much more accurate distance than the signposts.It also has the accomodation along the way marked. It was a life saver!) had an “alternative” start point marked about 2 km down the road that looked like it joined the main trail after a bit of an uphill climb. Wikitravel said that it was a steep uphill climb, confirming what we thought from the app, but we also knew from Ovacik it was uphill so we decided we could live with that. It started out no problem, it was easy to find and certainly not unmanageable, but about 35 minutes into it we came to a shear rockface that was about 80° and there was a massive gorge below it. Sure enough we saw the “alternative” route waymarker smack dab in the middle of the rockwall!!!! As we had already climbed up for a significant amount of time we were not really keen on turning back, but it seemed a bit ridiculous to traverse the rockface. Stuck between a rock and hard place (literally) we decided to suck it up and go very slowly over the rock face. We made it no problem; but had it rained at any point in the 24 hours before we attempted it, it would have been impossible. I would not suggest anyone taking this route- start at the official start point and you will save yourself a lot of grief! Shortly after that adventure we did link up with the official trail, thankfully. It was another 2 hours of climbing, in addition to the hour we already completed, before we were graced with flat ground. The views of Oludeniz while we climbed were out of this world, so it did make it worth it.
The first rule of hiking is what goes up, must go down, and so the second half of our second day was spent descending. We arrived to Faralya, our second stop, around 2 pm after again hiking around 15 km. We stayed at “George’s House” where both dinner and breakfast were included in the price of $26.96 CAD. All facilities were very newly renovated, so the entire place is spotless. It sits on the cliff overlooking butterfly valley, it is quite literally paradise. We had heard how amazing the cooking there was, but there are no words to really describe how amazing it was. There was 8 dishes, all but 1 vegetarian, bread, and dessert. It was all hearty and full of protein as well, the perfect fuel after a day of hiking. As we watched the sun set that evening we felt incredibly blessed to be able to be hiking this magnificant trail.
Our third day of hiking was a short day, only 8 km from Faralya to Kabak. We wanted to see Kabak and enjoy it, as it was one of the top places I wanted to go when researching Turkey, so we did not feel guilty about the light day. I think it was a good thing as it allowed us to stretch our muscles, and we spent the rest of the day swimming which again did wonders. Kabak is one of the most incredible places we have been too; we slept in treehouses that overlooked the pristine blue water of the bay below. It was a 15 min hike down to the beach, and a 25 min hike back up but it was well worth it. For under $30 CAD it included breakfast and dinner, and again the food was fantastic. We also splurged (with the help of the Easter bunnies named Anne and Susan) on a few beer which capped the day perfectly.
The Canadian, Justin, who we met in Istanbul and is a complete “beauty” as Chris says, also joined us in Kabak to hike the next day which was so much fun! We spent that evening sitting around the bonfire and chatting before hitting the hay in our adorable treehouses.
Day four was to be our hardest day, as it is a steep uphill climb out of Kabak, but we chose to go the mountain trail vs. the beach trail and found it to be challenging, but manageable. There is nothing better than a good hike and conversation, and luckily we were treated to both with the company of Justin. We made it the 7 km to Alinca, happy to have the hardest stretch behind us, and had just started back up from lunch when we encountered a very unusual situation.
A very distressed foreigner in the company of a rather cheerful turkish man jumped up from a rest point when we came over the hill and asked if he could use my phone. He seemed incredibly distressed and stated he almost just died, he had lost his friend, and needed to try to call him. From his body language I could tell it was urgent, so I obliged. Unfortunately, his friends phone was dead so he couldn’t be reached. With his hands on his head, he proceeded to tell us a very interesting tale. Apparently, his friend with little trekking experience, hiked ahead of him the previous morning. When this fellow arrived to a small camp, the locals told him that his friend told them he was continuing to Alinca. Fearful of his friends inexperience, the fact it was almost dusk, and that he had the tent and his friend had nothing, he set out to catch up with him. Loosing the light by every minute, and not being on the official trail, this fellow found himself scaling a large cliff. He realized it was a bad idea, and stopped for the night, but not before encountering a wild pig. When the sun rose the next morning he continued on, with the help of his scarves he used as ropes at certain points, until he was nearly at the top of the cliff. He at this point in time thought he was going to die, so he pulled out his video recorder, filmed a goodbye video, wrapped it in his clothes, put it back in his 30 kg bag, and threw the bag down the cliff 100 meters. He stated the bag was too heavy and was dragging him down. Unfortunately, he was only 100 meters from the top when he did this, so when he arrived to the top all he could think of was his bag. That is when we showed up.
He seemed to be in a state of shock, and adament he needed his bag. We questioned him if it was really that important seeing as he filmed a goodbye message at the point he thought he was going to die and then threw the bag, but he said it would be more trouble without it. Off he and the very helpful turkish man went to retrieve it, which they successfully did, and the turkish man even carted it up the cliff for him. It was honestly the size of the turkish man. This fellow then proceeded to rant about his laptop, and that it was probably broken, and then pull out the largest laptop I have ever seen from the bag. (Why did he have this???? I will never know). He asked if he could use my phone again, which I said sure. He again received no answer, and said his mom hung up on him.
…..Are you thinking what I was thinking? His mom? Where exactly was his mom?
So I asked his nationality.
This is the moment things started to make a bit more sense to me.
He was Russian.
I am yet to find out how much it costs to call Russia, but I am sure it will be a real treat to find out.
We encouraged him to not hike anymore for the day, which he would not agree to do. We then encouraged him to leave his monstrous pack with the Turkish gentleman if he was going to hike, which he was more agreeable to.
We left at that point, and were 100 meters down the path when his mom called back from Russia. I yelled to him and he came running, chatted in Russian for a few minutes and then he hung up. He had informed her of the situation, and was going to contact her further when he got to the next town. She continued to text me, and we provided her with all the information we could and even provided the number to the Russian Embassy in Turkey and encouraged her to contact them. (We did try to call as well, but they spoke only Russian or Turkish).
We made our way to our final stop, the town of Gey which made for a 15-17 km day. We were very exhausted from both the hiking and the situation of the Russian, and luckily we found a gem of a place called Beyram’s Pensyion and were given the royal treatment.
A little while after we arrived a larger group of Germans checked in, and I asked them if they happened to encounter a Russian while hiking. In fact, they had. I asked if he seemed distressed, again they answered yes. I asked if he was looking for a friend, again they answered yes. Finally, I asked where they had encountered him to ensure it wasn’t the same guy, and sure enough they had met him much further along on the trail, but in the opposite direction of where he had said he was going (Alinca). Meaning, they would not meet up that day. We hoped modern technology would allow them to connect after they both arrived to their guesthouses. That is the last we have heard of it, but at least we know both are okay. Something tells me some vodka (or raki) played a roll in the whole debacle. It did serve as a good reminder of the fragility of being in mother nature, and how proper planning is essential.
The meal that night at the guesthouse was by far the best meal we have had in Turkey. Hiking the Lycian Way not only provided the most spectacular views, but also the most spectacular food! We went to bed very happy.
The next day Justin had to head back to Kabak, and Chris and I continued on our way. We weren’t exactly sure how far we were going to hike, we were playing it by ear. We made it to our first potential stop, but there was only 1 guesthouse and it was only 2 pm, so we decided to continue on. We made it all the way to Pydnai, making it a 22 km day, and also brought us to Patara Beach, which was our goal destination. We stayed at Olzen Pensyion, which was definitely our least favorite place along the way, but it was a roof over our very tired heads, and that was enough.
The following day we woke up and had breakfast, and headed towards the road to try to catch a dolmus (minibus) back to Fethiye. Not 2 minutes after we arrived to the road a dolmus came around the corner beeping its horn and heading to Fethiye! It couldn’t have been better timing.
We are now in Kas and are heading out tomorrow on a day hike of the Lycian Way to Phellos, and the following day beginning another 5 day or so stretch of the trail.
Phew, feels good to be caught up!