Wednesday May 11th
The following morning I had my usual tomatoes, cucumber and cheese for breakfast and there was more for us to take for our lunches. We set off through pine forest that soon gave way to a series of meadows like this one (photo) teeming with flowers. We could also look down towards villages with beaches like Kabak (photo).
As we climbed higher, into forest once more, the weather deteriorated and it poured with rain. We continued until we reached a small cafe where we were grateful for a hot drink and also to see our bus which our guide had arranged to come up the mountain road to meet us. The rain stopped as we were having our refreshment. Some of us decided to carry on on foot and some went down by bus. The wind got up and helped dry the water from outside of my jacket - it was still dry inside - as we walked down the road towards Gey. The sea was a scintillating blue (photo). The bus met us once again to save our continuing along the road into Gey which was rather dangerous for walkers. It had also started raining again. I'd walked about 10 miles and 2800 feet of cumulative ascent that day compared with 9 miles and 2000 feet the previous day.
We were staying in a village house in Gey where we were asked to leave our shoes and boots outside and walk in the house in bare or stockinged feet. There were two bathrooms/toilets with shower attachments that just sprayed down onto the floor leaving it deep in water. Flipflops were provided in the bathrooms supposedly to keep our feet dry but the water was higher than they were and our feet got wet anyway. Any hot water had been used by the time I got there. I think the majority decided not to shower there evening or morning - we were staying in an hotel the next night. I shared a twin-bedded room in a newly built wooden extension on the flat roof. It turned out to be quite cosy and I slept well apart from being awoken occasionally though briefly by rain pounding on the roof. The saving grace was the food which was superb. I had become quite enthralled by Turkish mézé.
Thursday May 12th
Two of the women on the trip, both carrying recent injuries, decided to go in the bus direct to Patara with our luggage. The rain had stopped by the time the rest of us set off up the farm track from Gey but the clouds were still threatening (photo). Some of the steeper slopes were beautifully terraced. We climbed higher, seeing this view downwards to the shore (photo).
We reached the hamlet of Bel where pancakes had been prepared for those who wanted them and we all indulged in tea or coffee. We had to get around that promontary before descending 2500 feet overall on steep ground at times with indistinct paths. My fellow travellers appear here to be walking in opposite directions (photo). We had done about 10 miles walking by the time we reached the bus awaiting us at Pydnai. It whisked us off to Patara and our hotel. The water was only tepid in the shower, a considerable disappointment but I couldn't miss out again. We went out for dinner and I had a tasty sea bream. I awoke a couple of times during the night, most memorably because of a deafening 5:00 am call to prayer from the mosque next door.
Friday May 13th
The following morning we went fistly to visit a Roman aqueduct which supplied water to the town at Patara (photo) (photo) (photo). Then we walked round the headland. There was a fine show of poppies but some French painter had got there before me (photo). There was a distant view of the Roman site at Patara (photo) which fired my enthusiasm, but there was more rain before we arrived at the beach. We had lunch in a marquee there. Some brave souls went for a swim. Our guide said he didn't swim in the Med before August and having remembered my own swimming experiences in the sea off Cyprus in April 2009 I decided not to either.
The rain was intermittent as we looked round the Roman ruins. The amphitheatre is in good condition (photo). Excavation and restoration is still ongoing and some of the site is hidden from view. There is to be some major public announcement made soon, but I couldn't get the details. Further ruins include the agora (photo) and ceremonial gate (photo).
There was hot water for my shower when I got back to the hotel. We ate in that night and I had another, even better sea bream. The mézé starters were as good as ever. We had only done about 8 miles that day but we had a longer one the next day and the forecast was a bit better.
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Rev. 30 May 2011