Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Walking and not walking

The Lycian Way seems popular until we realise that we are passing day-walkers trying to walk off their Full English Breakfast. The path is well-trodden as it traverses the steep slopes above the coast. We start to climb and pass a sweaty heavyset man coming back. "Sticks eh?" he comments, " You'll need those." "How do you know?" Gayle asks. Above us paragliders ascend and descend in spirals. Below us turquoise water and rocky headlands. İt is really too sunny and hot to be walking with our packs and I am worrying about water after we pass the third dry cistern. But we drop over a ridge and outside a small village is a running fountain. Gayle shoves her head under the tap.

The views are tremendous back along the coast and above us Baba Dagi - the mountain from which the paragliders are leaping. We find shade in pine trees and pass by hundreds of bankers boxes. Except they're not. They are beehives. Finally our path begins to descend through another village and along a narrowing valley and we emerge at the tarmac road in Faralya. Here we find a lovely pension with a swimming pool run by a beautiful Turkish man with blue eyes. He knows he is beautiful and this makes him ugly.

We meet Jenni and Chris here. Chris has twisted his ankle so the next day we walk the short leg to Kabak with Jenni and Chris takes the dolmus. The walk is brief and we descend to the beach at Kabak. It turns out to be the kind of place you get stuck in. There are a few pensions wıth wooden huts and tree houses and we pick one that looks the oldest but best laid out. Communal meals are taken in the shady restaurant. There's a network of paths leading up and around the old olive terraces on which it sits. The beach is pebbly and quiet and the water clean. In the afternoon we find Luke and Cali pitching their tent at the pension. The evenings are extremely sociable.

It takes us four days before we summon the courage to leave and walk out of the bay with Jenni and Chris. The onward path is an old route that winds its way up what looks like vertical cliffs from below. We lunch together at the top and then part ways and continue to another headland just beyond the village of Gey.

It is Eid or Seker Bayrami- the end of Ramadan. In Gey we stop at a house to ask for water, 5 litres. They have a small dowser in front of the house. There's a bit of a family gathering and they invite us in for tea and biscuits. Fresh grapes are produced for us and we are urged to sit and eat and drink. We manage to communicate a little bit and are glad of the rest in the shade. As the sun drops we say goodbye and stagger off with our fresh water supply. About half an hour later we camp on a tiny flat pitch just as night falls.

Our next day takes us on steep paths along the coast to Bel, another small village where we ask for water and are again invited in for tea and biscuits and the usual mime show. The generosity of the people is quite wonderful. As we relax a guided group walks past. We set off to catch them up and do so on a forrested ridge. The path has moved off the coast but emerges down a very rocky descent to an empty village. We have a choice - to take the contouring coastal road or a short up and over. Foolishly we take the latter. We slog up a forest road and find a fountain dripping into a tank. It takes 40 minutes to fii up for the night. We then struggle through the forest and over the ridge and all the way down to a ruined fort at Pydnai. We are at the very end of a huge bay with a 30km beach. The whole estuary is a mass of polytunnels full of tomatoes. Exhausted we camp behind a cafe at the beach.

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