A short 3hr flight from Zurich and we were in Istanbul. Taking the visa on entry was easy. If you have a valid US or Schengen visa / resident card, Indians can get it on the spot by paying a $20 fee. When we arrived, the visa lines were mostly empty and it took us under 30 min to complete the process going from one window to other. We exchanged some currency there, not recommended due to high fee and bad rates. As we will find there are much better places to do this outside near Aksaray. From there we went to the metro station where we were suppose to meet our couchsurfing host. He got busy and was not there, so we bought a 32TL phone card of some unknown company, another mistake. We called him and then met him after an easy metro ride to "Otogar". He told us to buy a Istanbul Kart which will help us save money on all the trams and metros we will take later. I think it was worth for the 3 days we spent here.
Today we had half day to go around Istanbul before heading off to Fethiye to start
A busy square
where the locals hang
our hike. Our host took us around Istanbul University area. Its a big and old university, and the campus kind of reminded me of UW. The place is also full of Mosques. They all looked magnificent from outside, though after a while all looked same too. By the evening we were quite exhausted from the walk. Then we learnt that Sabhia Gocek airport is really really far and it will take us 2hrs to get there. Which means, we will have to start again at 6:00am for our 9:00am flight. Our host was kind enough to find us a proper bus route. We also had a nice surprise at dinner time. They had made Turkish Salad - which for the first time felt that I am eating a real salad and I know what salad means. Tomato, cucumber, cabbage and some parsley were very nearly cut and mixed and topped with lemon, yumm. The food is eaten family style which everyone sharing a huge piece of bread. This is a most common way of eating in Turkey as we will see everywhere.
Next day, @6:00 we got up and started our journey to southwest end of Turkey, all the
way to Patara. It took us 2 buses to get to airport, then the short flight to Dalaman airport. From there we took an easy transfer on "havas", the airport shuttle bus which dropped us at Fethiye Otogar. There we found a Dolomus to taks us to Patara junction. Total cost of buses = 30TL per person. By the time we reached Patara, I was exhausted of bus travel and did not want to sit in another vehicle. We were anxious to get our hike started, and even though it was 12:00 in the afternoon and heat was pouring, we refused a ride into Patara village, a big mistake. The distance to village is only 3km, but on a hot tar road with backpacks it was very exhausting.
Patara is a nice little town which looked almost deserted because it was not yet tourist season. We asked around for Lycian way and found out that it just skirts around the town and does not actually go to the beach and ruins that we wanted to see. So we headed off to the beach, paid the 5TL fee and started walking. In the afternoon it looked like a long walk.
The ruins on the way were ok, somewhat impressive. Then we hitched our first ride to the beach. The beach was quite impressive, long sandy and water was just warm enough to dip our feet. But it was really hot, we sat there for a bit, and then I got worried about having enough time to get on the trail and find a campsite. It was already getting around 4:00. On the way back, we met the same couple who gave us ride first and they dropped us off at the trail starting point. We had a nice dinner of salad at a local place, the salad was best we had, they had literally just picked tomatoes and onion from farm in front of us 😊. Then we packed some bread and tomato and fresh cucumber and off to start.
Tot: 2.349s; Tpl: 0.046s; cc: 13; qc: 50; dbt: 0.0433s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.4mb