Hiking the Lycian Way, Turkey – Day 2 – Kayaköy to Ölüdeniz

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Hiking the Lycian Way, Turkey – Day 2 – Kayaköy to Ölüdeniz

This morning, we woke up to a beautiful day, bathed in sunshine.
It was still a bit cold in the morning, but definitely not cold enough to wear our long winter underwear, like we did while hiking in Cappadocia.

Breakfast was ready when we went to the big kitchen of our pension.
The table was arranged with plates filled with different cheeses, butter, bread, home made jams, a selection of olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, slices of oranges from the garden, homemade yogurt, eggs and tea.

I only ate a little, not wanting to overburden my body with too much food before a day of hiking.

Our hike went through the village, and up into the hills where there is an abandoned Greek village.
This abandoned Greek village, which is now a protected historical site, once was a thriving hillside community.

The Greek people living in it might have been the last of the Lycian descendants, who once lived in these hills.
They started speaking Greek after the Greeks occupied their region, and for many years under the Roman occupation, they were known as the Greek speaking Romans.

When the Turks took over the region, they viewed these people as Greek.
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire in World War One, there was a “population exchange” between Greece and Turkey.

It was part of a peace agreement called the Treaty of Lausanne, signed in 1923.
Greece and Turkey agreed to uproot two million people in a massive population exchange.

We climbed up the old stone village road, looking around at the old churches, and the village houses hugging the hills, scattered among many pine trees.
The smell of the fig trees was lovely.
Mountain herbs grew by the ruins of the houses, their stone fireplaces, chimneys, water cisterns and old school, the last remnants of a once beautiful living village.

Our hiking path, which was well marked, climbed up and up, above the village.
It was a very rocky path, at times covered with fallen pine needles.

When we reached the top, we got our first glimpse of the beautiful islands and bays of the Mediterranean Sea.
The colors were turquoise and blue, shimmering against the sunshine.
In the distance I could see groves of olive trees, their silvery leaves shining in the sun.

We had stripped down to our long sleeve t-shirts.
It was hard to believe that it is December.

One thing became clear as we stood surveilling the surrounding landscape – you do not “Walk” the Lycian Way, you HIKE it.
It is a mountainous and rocky trail, and the whole day felt like we had been climbing up and down steep steps.

The path we were on was an ancient mule path, which quickly turned into a goat path.
But it was beautiful, and as we walked through the pine forest, I could hear goat and sheep bells, ringing in the breeze.

When we reached the crescent beaches of Ölüdeniz, I put my hand in the sea to see how warm it was.
Maybe it was because we were hiking in the sun all day and I was overheated, but if I had had my bathing suit with me and a towel, I would have gone for a swim.

Imagine that…. in December…. swimming in the Mediterranean Sea….
I did not even bring a bathing suit with me on this visit to rural Turkey.
I had packed it in our suitcase, which we left for safekeeping at our hotel in Istanbul.
I now made a mental note to buy a bathing suit so I can swim in the sea.
If I cannot find one, I plan to swim in my underwear and sports bra.

There are a few nice resorts along the beach.
Most of them looked empty now, but they seemed to be lovely holiday beach hotels in the season.
We walked towards the public beach, hoping to find a nice place to sit down and have a late lunch.

Right at the edge of the sandy beach, just meters from the sea, we found a restaurant with cushions and sofas.
We ordered fresh juices (a local orange juice mixed with pomegranate juice), a big salad and a fish and chips to share.

The food was great.
The weather was sublime.
Colorful parasails dotted the sky, looking like giant butterflies who came to land right on the boardwalk beside us.

It was one of those perfect days, where you feel happy to be alive… feeling blessed and grateful to be right where you are…
We wasted away the afternoon hours, looking at the sun begin to set across the great blue sea.

Our driver met us in a small bar at about 5pm, and drove us back to our guesthouse.
Dinner was another feast, featuring all sorts of delicious vegetables.
There were vegetable patties with sweet potatoes, mini pastries, a big salad with pomegranate dressing, a bubbling dish of okra cooked in a fresh tomato sauce, a rice dish and a dish of roasted shishito peppers and mini eggplants, in spicy yogurt sauce.
For dessert, we were served a pudding of sweet chickpeas and white beans, cooked with nuts and dried fruit in a pomegranate sauce.
It was very interesting, as I had never eaten a sweet dessert made this way.

Tomorrow we have a difficult hike, but the sun will be shining and all will be well….

Sending you love and blessings,
Tali

Today’s Stats:
Walking time 5 hours 9:30 – 2:30
Active walking time 4 hours
Steps 19,738
Kilometers walked 14.5
Highest Altitude Climbed 250 meters

Overnight in Kayaköy village
Kaya Misafir Evi guesthouse (dinner and breakfast included)

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