Thursday, October 4, 2007

Ghost Town

After a very relaxing week or so around Goreme we take a bus back to Antalya. From the infernal August temperatures the days are now more comfortable in the late twenties. We deposit spare clothes and books at a pension in the lovely old town and then catch a bus on to Fethiye from where we want to start walking the Lycian Way. This way-marked path is the first of its kind in Turkey and we have a guidebook and map of the route which runs along the coast from Fethiye to just south of Antalya. Fethiye feels quiet and normal when we arrive and we find a room in a tiny cheap little place run by an old woman who speaks no English. Gayle haggles hard in sign-language and basic numbers. After some shrugs, raised eyebrows, fisticuffs and a bit of hand-wringing we agree to stay and unpack our super-light rucksacks. We have a bare room on a shaded roof terrace over-looking the marina. The ensuite bathroom is typically tiny - the kind where you can have a shit, shave and then shower all in the same spot.

On the terrace we meet Cali and Luke - a couple who have cycled here from Lancaster and look like it. Gayle is fascinated by the idea of cycle-touring and they are soon getting the Twenty Questions. They are great company and we find out they have been blogging as they go ( ). They kindly show us how to change the language on the blogspot screen when we log in to it here - the default language is always Turkish - and this means we can finally start posting blogs.

We fill our packs with trekking food (packet pasta sauces, chocolate spread, museli and coco-pops, mmmmm ) and head off on the preliminary stage of the Lycian Way climbing stiffly out of the town and over a peninsula down to Kayakoy. The day starts badly with our first canine 'brush' - a German Shepherd left to guard an empty house shows his displeasure at our route choice along the road in front. We try to argue reasonably that we are on a public road and the Lycian Way is signposted in this direction but he just won't have it. I hurry past with unseemly haste and take to the old cobbled road in a sweat.

Kayakoy is an old abandoned Greek village which has become a tourist attraction. The town was abandoned in 1923 with the exchange of Greeks and Turks after the Turks won their War of Independence. In most places the houses would have been taken over by Turks but it's believed the Greeks cursed this place and now it is a ruin and subject of a Louis de Berniere novel. After a bit of toing and froing and knocking at a closed pension a man walks out of a shop and accosts us. He takes us to the Kayakoy Art Camp. It's finished for the summer and they have a room set in lovely gardens. It's perfect for us and we doze in the hammocks and ignore the two toy dogs that want to play. Later we stroll around the ghost town set on the hillside above the fields. It's a big place. Apparently the town was so wealthy that the roof tiles were imported from Marseilles. What an odd fact. I wonder if Louis de Bernieres picked up on this detail.

The next day we catch a dolmus to Ovacik from where the Lycian Way starts properly. The village is one huge resort catering to Brits - an overspill of the already over-developed beach of OluDeniz. There are signs everwhere advertising Full English Breakfast Live Premier League Football Azda Happy Hour Sunday Roast Dinner. It is a depressing sight. We walk past the Pink Palace - a restaurant and swimming pool presumably named after the naked pink punters all lying out around the pool. We wonder whether the Greeks' curse had a wider reach than the Turks realised.

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