Saturday, October 20, 2007

More walking and not walking

Rain - it's definitely going to rain. We are road-walking past a sea of polytunnels and the sky is very menacing. You can see the rain coming over the mountains. We pass three men sat outside a small building. "Dolmus?" Now, I seem to have given Gayle the impression that I do not wish to walk all 500km of the Lycian Way, and I may have received some criticism for this. But neither of us hesitate to jump into the minibus. The rain falls. We looked out in wonder - it's been a while, you understand. We hang around for the sky to clear before heading to Xanthos which was the capital of the city-federation of Lycia. Mark Anthony lay siege to the city and trashed it. Then 2000 years later a British "explorer" came across it and with the help of the navy removed one of the few remaining buildings. It now stands in the British Museum - which is a fat lot of good for those walking the Lycian Way.
After a wander around we head to the beach of Patara. We find a great hotel just about to close for the winter. It is still hot and sunny most of the time, but the rain this morning is a taster of things to come. Patara was the port for Xanthos - but the estuary silted up and now there is the longest beach in Turkey - remarkably unspoilt. The ruins of Patara are also buried in sand - with a few exceptions - the amphitheatre and the council building where representatives of the federation met. After a couple of days rest we continue on an old Roman road which contours inland through pine forest. We emerge at an aquaduct which was airtight to create a siphon and draw water uphill. Our trail follows the bed of the aquaduct back inland and we stumble out onto an unfinished new highway which leads to Kalkan. A workman leads us down over boulders and through a brand new appartment complex to the street. A flash salesman pulls up in his car. "Would you like to see a duplex?"
Kalkan was probably once a lovely fishing village but now it's spread out and there are holiday complexes and new appartments everywhere. We take a room in an old pension. The owner tells us he now has lots of English neighbours. We find a little cafe to eat in and watch the evening parade of holidaymakers out on the town. Next day finds us climbing up the mountain above Kalkan on an old migration route - a lovely stone road which leads us to the summer pastures and cooler air. It's a long haul though and halfway up I'm struggling - sunstroke I think. Gayle reckons on last night's beer. We stop for tea at a small tea house with the old men of the village. They all stare at us for five minutes and say hello, then thankfully someone pulls out a deck of cards and their attention switches. We take a dolmus to the next village and then walk in the late afternoon sun to Gockoeren. We're looking for somewhere to stay. On the road into the village a couple of dogs detect our presence and menace us. They are with a goatherd but the idiot can't call them off. We get past them and stagger down the main road looking vainly for a pension sign. An old man spots us and takes us in to his daughter's house. They feed and shelter us. After tea the family and neighbours come in to talk to us. Gayle is game so we get out the phrasebook and with a bit of pictionary she soon has them laughing.
Our next day leads us down a forest track and then climbs old paths up to the head of a wide valley which we circle. It's a nice walk although we spend a bit of time thrashing through scrub bushes. Not much water on the uplands though and we fill up for the night at about 2pm at a fountain that is no more than a trickle. After a long day we climb to a ridge with the overgrown ruins of Phellos. It's an atmospheric place with views out to sea and inland to the high mountains. We pitch the tent and watch the stars come out.

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