Lycian Way, Turkey. Kas – Liman Agizi – Ufakdere.
Days in Kas (pronounced closer to ‘Karsh’) drift by as we blog on and wander the town like lazy tourists. Only our obviously over washed and over worn fading all-black clothes distinguish us from the more gaily coloured regular tourists as we wander hilly streets full of shops and funky little bars.
Seeking to renew our cache of dried fruits and nuts we head to the local markets where a stand of these delicious nutritious treats along with every herb and spice imaginable awaits.
Across the aisle from this stand a young man is selling dodgy audio equipment and does his best to entice me with the sales pitch ‘I need your money’.
Planning to buy big in preparation for our next hike we end up with 2.67kg of produce which the vendor rounds up to 3kg before attempting to charge us 160TL (approx $80 Aus) which has us gasping at the expense. We don’t even have this much cash on us which gives us a great excuse to scurry off.
Behind us the audio sales stand vendor has changed his sales pitch to a loudly broadcast ‘I need your bloody money, give me your bloody money’.
His absolutely zero finesse sales techniques don’t seem to entice an audience as they merely remind us ‘We need our bloody money too’.
Eventually we leave the market with just a few carrots and oranges which were very reasonably priced and find plenty of affordable dried fruit and nuts in a nearby supermarket.
Our new friend Dannielle is surprised to hear someone calling her name as she walks by the pavement cafe where we are eating. She is leaving Kas today and we wish her well with her future travels.
Returning to our hotel we find an email from Howard and Judy saying they are in Kas and asking us if we would like to have dinner with them should we also be in town.
As we dine in the same terrace restaurant where Pam and I ate last night they tells us their own tales of the harsh terrain between Kalkan and Kas. Howard’s leg has suffered badly with the continuing walk and alas they have decided to return to England.
Howard kindly offers Pam the use of his walking poles and we return to their pension after dinner as they are leaving in the morning.
Judy and Howard have been lovely, funny and generous and we are saddened that their trip has been cut short.
Thoughts of tales they have told us of their many other travels console us as we return to our hotel. I am sure they will be striding strange lands together again soon.
The next day dawns blue skies glorious. We head off towards the AntiPhellos ruins which consist mostly of an amphitheater cut into the stone hillside of the peninsula west of Kas.
Looking across the bay towards the Greek island Meis the camping ground still exists where Pam stayed with our daughter Lexi (who was three) twenty five years ago, when Kas was just a little sleepy village. Pam happily reminisces and tells stories of how Lexi charmed everyone around her (still happening today) and delighted in leaping again and again from the campground jetty into the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean.
During last night’s dinner Howard made me aware of the slumbering giant silhouetted in the rocky ridge above the town, head turned to the left, resting on his right arm with the left arm cast down towards Kas.
From the hilltop above the AntiPhellos Amphitheater I do my best to capture his ancient repose.
Paragliders launch from the cliffs above us and spiral their way down to a harbourside landing pad.
Returning through the town past roadside ruins we spend a pleasant afternoon chasing shadows round the hotel terrace above the pool as we scrawl out another couple of blog entries.
Two rest days finds Pam climbing the walls. She is developing a bad case of marching ants in her pants and busies herself planning our escape from this blue idyllic haven as I type away.
Thankfully Pam heeds the statement in our guide book advising the Lycian section between Kas and Liman Agazi should not be attempted ‘alone, in wet weather, or with a large pack’.
As our boat towards Liman Agazi chugs along the smooth waters of the bay the following day I get some zoom shots of the cliffside crypts the walking track passes before we moor beside a beachside resort.
From here our not so trusty guide book advises that the way ahead ‘is a wild, long and often difficult route and cisterns are not dependable in Summer or Autumn’.
Pam dismissively reads this as ‘easy peasy’ and off we set.
After the initial climb up from the waterline the path actually is easy going, we make our way through a pretty green valley where fields are contained within grey stone walls then climb up into the bushy hillside at the far end.
Our trail has taken a short cut across the neck of land sheltering the bay of Liman Agazi and from the saddle crest we have climbed new Mediterranean horizons serenely beckon.
Underfoot the descent is anything other than serene and grows rougher and rougher as we approach the waterline.
Reaching a point where the sea churns within a deep cleft beside cliffs we either turn left or don scuba gear. A combination of a narrow cliffside path with many hip high steps and low overhanging boughs necessitates stripping off our packs and completing section by section.
As we sweat and groan our way around this short section a couple of young German hikers catch us and blast through the dangerous terrain we have so painfully dragged ourselves up and over.
Politely they stop and chat, the young lady speaks perfect English with a strong New Zealand accent which is simultaneously bizarre and cute beyond words. After a short friendly chat we stand aside to let them pass and within a matter of minutes they have raced out of our sight around corners in the extremely rough terrain.
Perhaps from the sailing boat out to sea the large white rocks lapped by the small waves of the clear aquamarine waters of the Mediterranean would seem a place of benign radiance.
On foot, up close, lumping an over-heavy pack, they form a boiling mass of jagged upthrust knife edges separated by vicious snares of fissures lying in wait to trap and snap flailing falling limbs.
Pam is still working out how to use the poles donated by Howard. The rocks we cross are either volcanic remnants filled with small vents and bubbles or perhaps have been worn by eons of erosion. In either case they are filled with small holes ideal in shape to trap and irreparably bend an easily misplaced walking pole tip.
Our progress along the waterline is painfully slow, the boiling sun has us rapidly depleting our water supplies. The gain of lightened packs is always offset by concerns about the next point of refill.
At last we near the tiny peninsula with stony beaches on each side we have been eyeing for some time. Just before we begin the last little descent we are passed by another three Germans. These unladen day trippers are also having no problem skipping over the rocky paths.
Pam declares her intent to swim at one of the two beaches and completely ignores my advice on which side to swim. We cross the little neck of the peninsula, sit on some flat rocks whilst Pam strips down and makes her way down to the waterline.
Discarded plastic bottles and other plastic refuse swirl against the rocks as little waves dash their energy against the stones. ‘It’s filthy’ Pam calls over her shoulder.
‘Thats why I told you to swim on the other side where it is more sheltered from the winds and tides’ I tell her when she returns ‘we should cross back’.
Alas the moment has flown, Pam shelves her marine ambitions and we eat a couple of oranges and a handful of fruit and nuts for a stony seaside picnic lunch.
Our intended swimming diversion has meant leaving the marked way which continues up the steep slope of the saddle between two high seaside peaks. Pam sends me on a scouting mission to regain the markers and I return scratched and bleeding from the thorny excursion.
‘Walking anywhere other than back to the path in the direction we came is going to be a mistake’ is the censored version of my synopsis as we hitch up our packs once more.
Making the crest of the saddle is steep and hard, the following descent is far more difficult with many knee to hip high rocky drops. Pam is starting to get the hang of using her donated poles which means that I only rarely have to turn back to offer balance points so we make better time than we have in the past as we slowly descend.
Once again the Lycian has followed a route that slices through the neck of a high headland and a new series of islands await in the turquoise waters below.
Gradually we make our rough and rocky way down towards and along the side of the beautiful bay curving inland neath our tired feet until we meet the waters edge at one end of a relatively clean stony beach.
Several buildings lie on the hillside near the start of the little peninsula at the beaches far end. Before the buildings a section of rock walled terraces offers great possible camping sites where a light green tent I spied from afar already stands.
Following the clearly marked path around the mouth of the little bay we encounter two men working on the fence line of the plowed field to our left and they greet us in a friendly manner.
Camping on the terraces within the fenced area is permitted and only costs 10TL per person. There are toilets however the showers still do not function and we can request to have dinner if we chose.
A camping site with a real toilet is what we now consider Nirvana. Despite the early hour we have found our resting place for the night and gladly accept the offer.
Asking who is already camping on the site our new friend tells us that this tent has been pitched there since last year when a German hiker abruptly left without taking all his equipment.
As we pitch Vincent in the terrace above I see that this lightweight tent has been pitched using hiking poles which have also been abandoned.
Quarter of an hour later we are diving off the jetty into the cool salty embrace of the Mediterranean. Pam’s swimming desires have come true after all. Whilst Pam’s intrinsic modesty prevents her from nuding up for our swim several ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ accompany her splashing entry.
Two young German hikers arrive in the area as we swim and despite their intention to continue further for the afternoon they also find the lure of this beautiful swimming site to strong to resist and join us for a quick dip.
Wishing us well for the rest of our Lycian venture they redress, hitch up their packs and begin grinding their way up the long steep hill that awaits us first thing tomorrow.
Pam and I stay in the salty embrace for a long time, rocks lining the bottom offer standing points for our sandaled feet. Other than making the exit from sea water onto grinding round stones of the beach with soft prune feet a much more pleasant experience we have discovered another unexpected favourable outcome of swimming with sandals.
The extra buoyancy at your feet makes floating on your back incredibly easy and we each ride the rippling weightless Mediterranean mattress for ages.
With body temperatures plummeting we finally crawl back out of the water beside the jetty where gravity once more asserts it’s omnipresent dominance.
A full 1.5L bottle of water I deliberately left heating in the sun as we swam provides an excellent shower to remove sticky salt before dressing (clean version of same old clothes) for dinner.
Chatting with the owner of this beautiful site as dinner is being prepared in the main building we are told that they do not intend to build further dwellings as they feel they have already intruded on nature as much as is appropriate.
Old Sol slips behind the hillside we made our way down in the earlier afternoon and I take shot after shot in a vain attempt to capture magic squeezed through glass as rendered dots and dashes.
Our host whistles back my attention to this real world.
‘Dinner is served’.
Pam and Mick