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Published: April 27th 2008
Well as you know we made it through Turkish customs (just!) and we are in our last country before heading home to Australia with our 1500 photographs. Dont worry, we will be having a slide night when we get back so you can see all of them and nobody will have to miss out!
We crossed the border from Syria to Turkey near Antakya so this was our first stop in Turkey. We have really noticed the difference between the Middle East (much dustier, drier and not very much green) and Turkey (mountainous, green and much cooler).
As an aside we have been marvelling at the pine forrests. It is a bit disconcerting to see pine trees growing ´in the wild´and not in perfectly straight lines as they are in Australia!
We had decided that our first destination was the sea side town of Kaş on the Med cause we were keen to just chill by the beach for a few days so we took a deep breath and booked a 10 hour bus to Antalya followed by a 5 hour bus straight on to Kaş. Kaş is a gorgeous town in a small hollow by the coast
and has a lovely laid back village vibe. We found a room in a great little pension with a balcony overlooking the town and the coast and settled in.
We were in town well before the proper season so many hotels and restaurants were still closed but as we discovered the town was geared up for the ANZAC season - all the Aussies and Kiwis over for ANZAC day and holidaying on the coast either side of the big day. It was also the launch of "Tourism Week" complete with a gozelme making demonstration (yummy free samples!) and endless speaches by the mayor!!
Our first priority was a swim in the Med. We walked about a kilometre to 'Big Stone Beach' along a part of the Lycian Way (more about that later) and spent a delightful half day just lounging on a beach bed and swimming in the crystal clear but bracing turquoise water. (Sara - reminded me a little of our swim at Esperance!)
The next day we walked around town and checked out the ancient sarcophagus tombs scattered around Kaş. A lovely dinner of local specialities and some jewellery shopping before retiring to our balcony
for a drink and a view.
All that lazing about had not prepared us for our main reason for journeying to Kaş - the chance to sea kayak over a sunken city. Deep breath and paddles poised, we set off from the local village. First stop was an ısland ın the middle of the Med wıth a beautiful sheltered bay for a swim and a chat to the resident donkey (who gets quite lonely and always comes and meets the kayakers and visitors and then brays madly when they leave!)
Then we were rounding the pennisular and getting the first glimpses of the sunken city of Kekova. Movements of the continental plates caused the city to fall into the sea many years ago and you can kayak along the coast and look down to see the ancient ruins of walls and buildings! The water is swimming pool clear and it was an incredible experience.
Sad to leave we packed our bags (soooo over doing that!!) and headed to Fethiye. Overnight at a sweet pension before catching a bus to the tiny seaside village of Faralya. This village is at the top of the delightfully named Butterfly Valley
and was the start of our chosen section of the Lycian Way. This is an incredible five week trek from Fethiye to Antalya along the coast which you can do in sections or all in one go. Our chosen section would take us to the village of Kabak for some beach action and lounging in a hill side bungalow.
The walk was just amazing, superlative and brilliant. We wished we could have stayed and walked further as it was one of our favourite activities of the whole journey!
The trail winds up the mountains behind Faralya, passes lonely farm houses where you can meet the locals, ancıent ruins, valley villages, pine forrests, fields of wild flowers, bee hives (for the most incredible wild flower honey), views over the Med and and finally a sweet bungalow (at the Half Moon Pension) in a village high above the beach. Here we had a home cooked dinner and sat talking with the owner around a bonfire. Truly a sensational experience and absolute highlight.
After our little taste of trekking in Turkey we were back on the bus - this time to the town of Selçuk which would be our base
for visiting the ruins of Ephesus which is one of the most well preserved Roman cities. We stayed in a great place called Wallabies - although Jeff the owner was trying to cover his bases by having an All Blacks sign out the front which nearly made us change our minds! The coolest thing about staying there was getting a "stork view" room. The ancient aqaducts of the city have been selected by storks as the best nesting places and each year the same storks come back to the same pylons to have their eggs and wait until they hatch. Watching them check their eggs and stretch their wings and talk to each other was like a soap opera. Fascinating and fun!!
Before we hit the ruins though we finally succumbed and bought our first carpet (yeah yeah we might have fallen under the charm of the Grand Bazar in Istanbul but that is DEFINITELY a story for next time!) Ev´s Travel Tip - On carpet bargaining in Turkey - Carpet bargaining is a serious art. You must undertake careful preparations before doing battle with your merchant opponent. First ensure your partner knows what she wants by researching
weaving techniques, style, design and market rates. Secondly confer closely with your partner on negotiation tactics including opening bid, true upper limit, fake upper limit and code words to signal preferred carpets and acceptable offers. The key to success ıs to seem only vaguely ınterested ın a partıcular carpet untıl an agreed prıce ıs negotıated.
Of course your bargaining strategy may fall apart if your partner, upon sighting a particular carpet, starts jumping up and down waving her hands around and exclaiming "Its gorgeous. Thats the one I want!"
Thats all for this chapter. The final chapter will include Ephesus, Gallipoli and Istanbul (and our other two carpet purchases!!) and of course Evs final kebab count!!!
Ev's Kebab count 37 (and 1 day to go)
Apologies for missing that off our last entry - we had a number of complaints about that ommission!!!
Love Leah and Ev
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