Lycian Way Trip One - First Three Days

Sunday May 8th
I set off from my home in Kendal for Manchester airport with around two and three-quarter hours before my plane left for Gatwick. My car needed petrol so I stopped at Forton services, near Lancaster, to fill up, but when I tried to fire up the engine again the starter motor just sighed and stopped. Two of the staff tried to help push-start it but to no avail. We moved it into a parking space and I tried to ring the AA on my new smartphone. "If you are an AA member please press one" the voice cooed. I didn't know how to do that, the dialler had disappeared! I fiddled with it and it disconnected, as it did again on my second and third attempts. Back in the shop the staff were helpful and let me use their phone. When I finally reported the details to the AA responder she told me to expect help in an hour, at 4:30 pm. I explained I had a flight to catch at 5:30 pm so she said she would prioritise it. I started thinking what alternative methods I could use to get to Gatwick by 5:20 am the next morning when I was due to check in for my flight to Turkey.

As I walked back to the car I noticed, away in the car park, an AA van and wandered across to it. The patrolman was dealing with another customer's vehicle but said he would get across to me as soon as he could. I went back to the car and sat watching the time pass by, five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes, twenty minutes. He got to me at 3:55 pm, checked the battery, tried to start the car, told me the battery had failed, jump started it and waved me on my way telling me not to stop the engine as I couldn't start it again. I had sixty minutes in which to drive 58 miles to the airport, park and check in my luggage.

The drive to the airport was swift and uneventful and I parked in the "meet and greet" section of Terminal 3 car park. I changed into my hiking boots (items I couldn't do without if my luggage went AWOL) and lugged my holdall and rucksack to the reception kiosk. They were unphased when I told them my car wouldn't start and said they would probably leave it where it was until I returned. They mentioned the AA are on site at the airport during the day dealing with car problems and they might look at it. I rushed off to baggage check-in, arriving with two minutes to spare. They were unphased as well, dealing with by baggage swiftly and giving me a priority sticker so I could get through security quickly. That was just as well as there were long queues. As I got on the plane I breathed a sigh of relief. I was back on schedule and the flight, transport to my hotel, return to the airport and check-in went smoothly.

Monday May 9th
The travel company had a block booking on the Monarch Airlines flight to Dalaman and I soon found myself chatting with some of my fellow trekkers. I bought an apple juice and packet of peanuts, before realising we were to be served with breakfast, but when the food arrived I was glad I'd had the peanuts. I ate a bit of stale omelette and some baked beans. Ugh! Now, I'm not very big but I found the seat uncomfortably small, and some people were overflowing into the aisles. After nearly four hours we landed and queued interminably for visas, money exchange and passport control before escaping into the hands of our tour guide who whisked us off by bus to Muzzy's Place in Kayakoy, stopping en route for some shopping. I bought two litres of sour cherry juice as refreshment on the first couple of days on the trek. I had a comfortable room, warm shower, and joined the others for a visit to the deserted Greek village of Kaya Koyu (photo). The village has fallen into ruin since the exodus of the Greeks in 1923, forced out by the treaty of Lausanne. From Wikipedia: "Today Kayakoy village serves as a museum and is a historical monument. Around 500 houses remain as ruins and are under the protection of the Turkish government, including two Greek Orthodox Churches, which remain the most important sights of the ghost town. There is a private museum on the history of the town. In the middle of the village stands a fountain source from the 17th century. Kayakoy was adopted by the UNESCO as a World Friendship and Peace Village."

For dinner most of our group chose mézé starters and meat from a barbecue. I wasn't hungry and just had (most of) a huge portion of swordfish and salad. Back in my room I thought about my car, its dead battery, and started making plans for when I got back, but I don't worry about things I can't do anything about so I just let it go. I slept well that night.

Tuesday May 10th
By next morning there was no hot water in Muzzy's Place. Hot water in this area is normally generated by solar heating and without any supplementary system and apparently all the hot water had been used the previous evening. After washing and packing I had a breakfast of tomatoes, cucumber, cheese and coffee. We set off by bus to a local supermarket for provisions and then to the start of our walk along sections of the Lycian Way. This route of 500 kilometres was opened in 1999 having been designed by an Englishwoman, Kate Clow. The weather forecast was for unseasonally cool weather with the possibility of rain and the clouds looked threatening. I'd never seen a tortoise in the wil before and this one: (photo) was the first of many I'd see on the trip. The path gradually took us high (750 metres) onto the shoulders of Baba Dagi (summit 1989 m) with great views across the town and beach of Oludeniz (photo) (photo). The rock scenery was stunning (photo) (photo). Gradually we descended to the village of Faralya, high above Butterfly Valley (photo). We were staying the night at the George House whose grounds can be seen on the sharp promontary midway up the left-hand side of the picture. There is a very steep path down to valley bottom from the George House which has fixed ropes as essential safety measures. Visitors to the small resort at the bottom usually go by boat. We didn't venture down. The valley is apparently a lepidopterist's delight.

We slept in small chalets with virtually no space around the twin beds which made unpacking and repacking really difficult. However there was hot water in the shower block both evening and morning, the food was excellent, and the sunset very memorable.

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Rev. 30 May 2011

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