Published: June 28th 2012June 22nd 2012
We woke at 6am, organised our packs and headed over for breakfast. We mirrored our choice from the previous morning (fruit, yoghurt and honey and a mushroom omelette) and it was fantastic. We checked out of the hotel at 8am, took a minibus from Kayakoy to Fethiye and then transferred to a larger public bus to Kas
. It was a very scenic trip along the Mediterranean coastline. We arrived in Kas at 11.30am. We walked down to the seafront, dropped our packs at the boat and headed into the small coastal village for lunch. We shared a mixed meze plate with fresh bread, which was incredibly good. We then browsed the local craft shops. Ren picked up a beautiful necklace and pendant (to replace the one that had broken earlier in the trip) and I picked up a leather bracelet to replace the one I bought in Bangkok – it had broken a few months earlier.
We met at the boat at 1.30pm and set sail along the Turkish coastline. We were heading east. We stopped at 2pm in a small alcove for a 30 minute swim which was very refreshing. There were a few rooms under deck,
but it looked like we would be sleeping under the stars. We sailed through the afternoon, drifting in our thoughts as the sea rocked us gently in and out of sleep.
We pulled into the tiny village of Ucagiz
to stock up on blankets (the wind was picking up and the crew thought we may be cold during the night). We wandered around the village for a few minutes, jumped back on the boat and headed back out to sea at 5.15pm. We eventually moored in an idyllic cove at 6pm. After a long swim and lying on top of the boat in the sun, we settled in for pre-dinner drinks. I had a few glasses of chilled white wine, which perfectly suited the relaxed atmosphere of the early evening. We dined on deck at 7.30pm on a smorgasbord of pasta, watercress and yoghurt, eggplant casserole, chicken casserole, salad and bread. We finished the meal with fruit salad. It was incredible to see how much food could be prepared in such a small galley on a small boat.
We sat on deck and chatted until around 10pm. It had been a great day of sailing and swimming, so
we settled on our basic mattresses in the open air and fell asleep to the gentle rocking of the sea.
We woke around 5.30am. Dawn was breaking and the water around us was completely calm, so I quietly slipped into the cool morning water for a refreshing swim. I was eventually joined by two fellow travellers, and we decided to explore the small cove where our boat was moored. We came face-to-face with a giant sea tortoise who was also frolicking in the morning calm. We swam back to the boat, dried off and sat down to breakfast at 7.30am. We shared a fantastic spread of bread, eggs, fried sausage, sheep’s cheese, olives and cay
(Turkish tea). I’d worked up an appetite, so it was very welcome. We also had sweet cherry jam on the table, which was great with the fresh bread.
After breakfast we upped anchor and sailed to the small island village of Kalekoy
(it has a population of 80). We explored the Simena castle ruins and small cobblestone streets before returning to the boat and swimming around the mooring to cool off. We set sail to a sunken city, moored in a narrow isthmus
for yet another swim and then set sail for our lunch destination. On the way we played backgammon in the rolling swell of the open Mediterranean. This really was an incredibly relaxing way to travel.
We arrived in a small sheltered bay just off Kas in the early afternoon. We went for a quick swim and then sat down (dripping) to lunch. The spread was incredible – meatballs and potatoes, yoghurt, carrots and yoghurt, beans, eggplant casserole, salad, rice and bread. It was fantastic. We didn’t have any wine with the meal because we planned to swim in the late afternoon.
During lunch we noticed an elderly man gesturing in distress on the rocky shoreline. He kept crying out in broken English that he was finished, and he looked extremely exhausted. We were about 200 to 300 metres off shore and we couldn’t get any closer to the rocks in the boat, so a fellow traveller (Darryl) and I swam to the shore with water while the crew called for a small water taxi. When we got to the shore we realised he was very dehydrated and disorientated. He was German (his name was Hans) and had been
walking between beaches when he had fallen backwards and badly cut his shoulder, head and legs. He was bleeding, distressed and he had used all his water. He quickly drank the two small bottles we had with us. We stayed with him on the rocks in the searing afternoon sun for about 30 minutes until the water taxi arrived. When the small dingy pulled up against the rocks, he took his wallet from his pocket and offered it to me. I shook my head and helped him clamber aboard while Darryl held the boat steady. He grabbed my hand tightly and thanked both of us. While we waited with him he told us that he’d tried to signal a much closer yacht, but they had upped anchor and sailed a bit further down the coastline (apparently to get away from him). He was about 65 years old. When he was safely in the water taxi we swam back to the boat and frolicked in the water for the rest of the afternoon. Ren spent some time treading water while holding the ladder of the boat. The water was at least 10 metres deep – talk about jumping in at the
A huge thunder cloud was smouldering over the coastal cliffs, so we set sail for Kas around 4pm and arrived at 4.30pm. We grabbed our packs and walked to our hotel. The humidity was high, so we were exhausted by the time we arrived. We’d only just checked in when the storm broke and the rain began. We showered, dropped our laundry at reception and headed out to watch the sunset from Kas’ ancient theatre at 7pm. The rain had stopped but the storm clouds were lingering, so the sunset was not as memorable as it may have been. Still, it was a beautiful place to sit in the early evening, especially when a young German girl put on an impromptu performance (we thought she was berating her friend who had climbed to the top row of the theatre).
We made our way back into the village and decided to dine at Bi Lokma
(Mama’s Kitchen). The food was fantastic. I had calamari and Ren had Turkish ravioli (a house speciality). We finished the meal with rice pudding and baklava. It was a very vibrant place, and the food and service were great. I love
Turkey’s take on ravioli – it was served with a yoghurt sauce that was nothing like I’ve tasted before.
It had been a long day of swimming, diving, exploring and eating. We headed back to the hotel and crashed at 11.30pm. We had a nine hour travel day ahead of us, so we needed rest! SHE SAID...
We caught an early dolmus
(minibus) from Kayakoy to Fethiye, and we then had a three hour bus ride to Kas
. The views were initially full of farms with pomegranate and citrus fruit trees; however, the later part of the drive was filled with spectacular and dramatic coastal views.
Kas is an adorable little port town encircled by a wall of hills. At this point we were just passing through to start our two day boat trip on the Mediterranean, but I was looking forward to returning and exploring this charming place. We dropped our packs off on our boat – Ilkem
– and had a quick look around town. There seemed to be an abundance of local designer jewellery, and I saw this as a sign of things to come. We found a little jeweller on a
little laneway who we both liked, and within minutes we had purchased a silver necklace and pendent for me (to replace my favourite necklace that broke in Istanbul) and a leather bracelet for Andrew (to replace the bracelet from Bangkok that had fallen apart a few months ago). After a quick lunch of a superb mixed meze at Zeytin Restaurant
in the main square, we walked back to our boat and settled in for a few hours of cruising.
Our boat is a very cute tekne
(traditional wooden sailing boat). However, I’m not sure if the really traditional ones had a motor assisting the sailing or if they were even this comfortable – big wide decks and room to lounge. No prizes for guessing that we hung out on the large front deck for most of the ride. We had cabins, but it was far more beautiful to sleep outside on thick mattresses.
On the first day we cruised for about an hour and then stopped for some swimming time, which made Andrew and many others on board very happy. We then docked at a small village called Ucagiz
to look at the sarcophaguses scattered over a hill,
and to check out the village. I’m not sure if this was normally part of the trip, or if we only stopped here so that our boat could pick up some blankets for our night sleeping on the deck – either way, I didn’t take to this village very much. Just after setting sail again, we were served tea and cake, and after two more hours of cruising we arrived at a sheltered area between two peninsulas where we anchored for the night (unfortunately three other boats thought this was a good spot too). After most people had been swimming, we sat around and chatted over drinks until dinner which was a lavish spread of massive platters of pasta, chicken and eggplant casserole, watercress and yohurt, beans and potatoes, salad and fruit salad. It was pretty amazing that all this could come out of a two-burner stove on a boat.
After dinner, a few more drinks, and some ‘argy bargy’ about beds (nothing serious, just the self nominated miss bossy-boots in the group trying to control things), we crashed while listening to the party on a nearby boat; they probably didn’t realise how much of their sound carried over
the water. I didn’t sleep as soundly as I thought I would, as temperature regulation was difficult. I was wide awake at 5am and watched a beautiful sunrise over the hills that turned the water into stunning orange and pink ripples. Andrew woke up soon afterwards and went for an early morning swim.
After a surprisingly large breakfast of baguettes, eggs, olives, lamb sausages, cream cheese, sheep’s cheese and cherry jam, we anchored at the village of Kalekoy
. We were here to look at the hilltop ruins of Simena Castle which offers spectacular views of the surrounding bays and islands. There was also a necropolis with large sarcophaguses and lycian tombs, an ancient church and the cutest little theatre to explore. The ruins were interesting enough, but the spectacular 180 degree view of the water and the village from the top was the real drawcard.
It was hot work walking up the steep stone steps to the castle – I had beads of sweat that started in my hair, and ran down my neck and back in streams into my trouser waistband (eww!); Andrew’s shirt looked like he had just gone for a swim in it. It was
hot! On the way up to the castle, we met an old man who had just walked down to the docks to meet the bread boat and was walking home with four fresh banquettes. We stopped to have a drink in his cafe on our way back from the castle. The cafe had been set up in their family’s open front room, and the freshly squeezed orange juice was easily the best I’d had on this trip (and it’s a fair sample size as I’ve had at least one orange juice a day). Apparently the fruit they use is so flavourful because the trees are spring fed and the oranges were only picked the day before. We bought a few bracelets as gifts, as the people on the island seemed very skilled at embroidery and bead work. We then sat back and observed village life from our boat. In the little time we spent walking around Kalekoy, the community and friendly nature of the people was very apparent. I really loved this pleasant and picturesque place.
We then cruised to the sunken city around Kekova Island
where the remains of shadowy civilisations could be viewed just below the surface
of the water. It’s a protected area, so the boat had to observe a certain speed and distance from the underwater ruins. Around the corner from the sunken city was a popular swimming spot called Shipyard Bay. It could have been a spectacular spot, but the group didn’t want to stay here too long as it was quite crowded with boats and swimmers all jostling for space in the water.
We continued cruising through more gorgeous calm crystal blue Mediterranean waters until lunch time. While we were waiting for lunch Suleyman gave backgammon lessons to Andrew, Darryl and I. I was hooked after my first lesson a few weeks ago, but now that I’m getting better at it I love the game even more. Lunch was even more delicious and plentiful than dinner had been, with cold beans, meatballs with potatoes, yoghurt, carrots and yogurt, eggplant casserole, salad, rice and bread. It was at this point that Andrew and I decided that heaven is sitting on a boat in the Mediterranean being fed glorious Turkish food. And then having a small nap.
While we were having lunch there was a small drama on the high seas. We
were anchored near walls of rugged rocks, and the only other people around us were on two other boats. In a quiet moment in the conversation I thought I heard something, so we all looked towards the rocks and made out the figure of an older man sitting on the rocks calling out something that we only caught snippets of. After many questions and answers we pieced together that he had been on a hike and was so tired that he couldn’t make his way back and needed help. Our boat was too large to get close enough to the rocks, so our captain called a smaller boat to pick him up. He also told us that he had finished all his water, so Andrew and Darryl swam over to him with some water and sat with him until the boat picked him up. I shudder to think what may have happened to him if we hadn’t seen him when we did, especially as Andrew found out that he had fallen over and was hurt quite badly.
After that drama was sorted out, I decided that I would brave the water and get some more swimming lessons from Andrew.
Suleyman wasn’t a confident swimmer either, and Cath and Greg gave him lessons on one side of the boat while I got mine on the other. I didn’t last very long in the water, but loved being in it very much.
When the boat returned to Kas, we checked into Hotel Defne
, a small but cute hotel in the hills of Kas with lovely views. We showered for the first time in two days (it was a looong shower), waited for the rain to stop, and then set off to explore this ex-fishing town that is now more geared towards running boat trips. The main mosque’s call to prayer reverberates and echoes through the surrounding hills – it’s quite a gorgeous sound, unless you are right under the minaret and then it is head-poundingly loud. The shops, cafes and restaurants in the main square on the waterfront were very inviting, and the little shopping lanes were gorgeously pot plant lined and quiet. There was a good mix of traditional and modern ceramics, jewellery and cotton wear in the shops.
There were rambling ruins of the ancient Lycian town of Antiphellos sitting right next to modern buildings and upmarket
villas. We walked to the restored ancient marble theatre to watch the sunset; however, the sunset was a bit washed out from the rain storm that had hit an hour or so earlier. This was the first time it had rained since we arrived in Turkey. It was very pleasant sitting in the theatre with its gorgeous view of the sea and Meis, a Greek island very close to the coastline. We stayed at the theatre for a little while talking about the history of Turkey, the War of Independence, the current political issues surrounding Kurdistan and the most recent news that Syria had shot down a Turkish plane near its border. Politics can be a difficult topic to discuss in a country where the censorship boundaries are not clear to us.
For dinner we walked to Bi Lokma
(also called Mama’s kitchen because of its home cooked meals). It was packed and we had to wait for a table – in a town that seems to have more restaurants than people, this was a very good sign. While we waited, we walked to the Kings Tomb, a large and grand example of a Lycian sarcophagus. If you weren’t
concentrating, you could easily miss it – it’s on a busy intersection of a restaurant street and a shopping street, slightly subsumed by a large tree. We walked back to the restaurant and had a very delicious but late dinner. Andrew had fried calamari and I had mantisi
in a yogurt and chilli sauce. They refer to manti
as Turkish ravioli, although it’s more like a tiny dumpling than Italian ravioli. To apologise for the delay in getting our meals, the waiter gave us a complimentary fruit platter, but given that we had heard such good things about this restaurant, we also ordered a rice pudding and some baklava to share with a few others. We weren’t disappointed. I would highly recommend this restaurant, and only wished we could have eaten there again.
We were so tired from the last few days that we fell into bed before we could sort out our packs for an early start the next day. This was very uncharacteristic of us. Our time in Kas and surrounds had been an absolute blast! We’ll definitely be adding this to our ever growing ‘ultimate happy making experiences’ list.
Tomorrow we have a long travel day to Konya in Central Anatolia!