THE LYCIAN WAY 3

Olsen treated us well at his coming together camp/ A frame site outside of Kalkan. Our conversation relied completely on google translate which meant it was not smooth flowing or wide ranging but we did discover he was a professional footballer for Galasataray for many years.

Unfortunately the mosquitoes in the A frames did not treat us well and the little sleep was frequently interrupted by high pitched buzzing followed by frantic hunting and slapping- and repeat.

So it was kind of a relief when the Iman started his 5.50 call to prayer- our cue to get up and get hiking. Up across rocky olive groves and scrub and the stoniest fields I’ve seen. There are a lot of very stony fields here.

Up to a main road where a platform resting place ( kosk) was next to an old water cistern and ruins. And strangely a scattering of graves beside the road.

Next up, literally, a long climb. First up tarmac road of new villas, then bulldozed track awaiting new villas, then old roman road- now still used as animal migration route to get the goats to high pasture (yayla) for the summer months.

Already hot we stopped at a cistern that had a bucket and had a cold water wash and cool down.

The vegetation here can be merciless. A lot of the time long trousers and sleeves are needed but we are usually in shorts and quite often top less so the thorny scrub has taken its toll.

The rocky ground and fear of falling or twisted ankle means our eyes are on the ground a lot but every time we look up- a vista appears.

Coming into the next village, Bezirgan, up on the high plane between the mountain ranges (Ova), we passed through rows of the wooden grain stores (ambars).

A scattered agricultural village with lots of grain fields and fruit trees, there were huge sacks of apples awaiting collection and juicy bunches of wild grapes hanging out over our route from the hedgerows. A narrow walled path led us out and up.

A different landscape again either side of Saribelen where we carried on past the stage end to wild camp and shorten the distance of the next days hike. We found a lovely spot amongst Burren like limestone formations and settled in for the night.

The moon nearly full on the light rocks and the wind blowing through the giant pines above us made for a interesting night but early morning we were off again to climb higher over a pass then down into another valley, past a charcoal burners circle and over an empty and austere but beautiful ova. The level going made for some rapid progress after much tortuous stumbling over stones ground.

On a wide tractor track we climbed up till we had views of the coast again and continued on this high ground before dropping down again into another ova.

This was the home of Huseyin and the red and white markets led us straight to the little house where his wife? Called us in for cay, tea, and pronounced as in the Indian Chai.

A fine hardworking lady, who showed me her arthritic hands and left me wondering about her life.

It was a magical place,with goat topiary, fantastic stone, wonderful woodland, flat fields for grazing and a huge empty landscape. I would love to see these ova’s in spring with fresh green grass and wild flowers.

And there were traces of former lives lived here. Old farmhouses and stone remains of buildings from a dim and distant past.

Coming into the next village and hoping to replenish our supplies at the ” market” (shop) was a slightly surreal affair.

A huge Turkish flag hung in the sky and as we approached a car drew to a halt asking if we wanted breakfast or pension. After telling the couple we only needed the shop, market – he turned the car around and drew to a stop outside Yesil’s Lodging and proceeded with the hard sell. Later we were to read he was notorious for being a somewhat aggressive salesmen. The irony was that unless you wanted a bed for the night or a cooked meal his “market” had little to offer.

That wasn’t just a fridge. That was the village shop.

The next strange event happened not long after we had escaped Yesil’s grasping hand when we came upon the younger brother of our friend Gerry Mulkerrins picking rose hips for the cay.

He gave us a big bunch of grapes and we carried on along a long valley into forest covered hills on a path that led us to a Wellcome resting shelter and water fountain.

Refreshed again we began another long and steep climb that had us climbing high over the valley through woodland path and forest track. I startled a family of wild boar at some abandoned shepherds huts and they took off at high speed.

And finally at about 940m we found our camp for the night. A resting platform built under an ancient and huge spreading plain tree next to a dribbling water source.

But even a dribble adds up pretty quick to enough drinking water even when you are getting though about 4 lt a day. It was just as well we were as fortified as we were as just as we were falling asleep, a clatter if hooves on stone announced the arrival of z as large group of horses, perhaps 10, come searching for water. They returned many times throughout the night, sometimes on mass, sometimes in twos or threes. And then the screech owl started.

In the morning we continued up and along a wild overgrown ridge to another extraordinary archeological site- Phellos. Perched high on the end of a precipitous ridge it was most probably a Roman garrison city and has been left to the encroaching scrub for a long time.

And then the long scrambling down through the stumble stones and pricking plants into Cukurbag where some kind person had positioned a free cold water machine on their garden wall.

At the far end of the village, just as we had given up finding breakfast we found Nirvana. Breakfast Nirvana anyway. A beautifully put together complex of garden, houses and rustic cabins that make up 3oda.

A craftman’s vision had gone into the creation of a special place full of quirky features.

And the finest breakfast of homegrown/ homemade fruit, veg, preserves etc etc you could hope for on a long hard hike. A lucky find. 3 Oda.

After a couple of days of bread , cucumber,cheese and tomato and little else, it was a foodie treat and we headed off on the final leg to Kas replete. Easy to start, crossing a wide, flat and dried and cracked area- difficult to finish with an incredibly steep and slippy descent down to Kas.

Thankfully down safely we rewarded ourselves for the hardships endured and to come with a room in a hotel with a pool and buffet breakfast. Tomorrow we go wild down the coast again. Starting with a boat ride.

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