Hiking the Lycian Way, Turkey – Day 10 – Antalya, the End of our Walk

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Hiking the Lycian Way, Turkey – Day 10 – Antalya, the End of our Walk

The first thing we did after arriving in Antalya was to clean our very muddy hiking shoes.
A layer of red mud was caked all over our shoes and on the bottoms of our pants.

We gave our laundry to the cleaning lady at our guesthouse.
She looked at the grey sky full of heavy clouds, rolled her eyes and said, “Inshalla!” (If God is willing).

The next day apparently God was still not willing, for our laundry had not dried.
It is s beyond me how a small hotel can do their laundry of sheets and towels without a clothes drier.
We collected our clothes, which were clean, but still damp, and hung them in our room to dry in the heat.

We stayed in the old city, surrounded by ancient walls, an ancient gate, and lots of restaurants and cafes
Near the ancient walls sat a man offering shoe shine services.
He looked at our muddy shoes and signaled for us to come over.
The waiter at the nearby cafe translated for him.

We got a pair of rubber shoes to wear while he worked, and sat in the cafe facing the sea dinking tea.
The man took out a coca cola bottle filled with soapy water and started scrubbing our shoes.
We enjoyed the sun and the lazy day, when it’s fine for someone can take an hour to clean our shoes.

When our shoes were washed and ready, we walked around town.
We walked the busy streets, full of shoppers and people dining.
The Starbucks was like a big nightclub, full of hundreds of people who had come to meet and socialize in the big garden, drinking coffee and smoking.

I was thinking how enjoyable it felt to be hiking in the fresh air in the mountains, and now how my throat was getting red and sore, after only one day in a city where everyone smokes cigarettes.

We stayed in Antalya for three days.
We mostly rested after the walk and reflected about plans for next year and about Turkey.
It has been such a wonderful place, and we greatly enjoyed our days of hiking here.
People have been so helpful, friendly and genuinely interested in other people.

We met with Berry, a Dutch woman who has lived in Turkey for thirty years and who works for Mithra, the local tour company who organized our Lycian walk.

Mithra is a fabulous tour outfit, specializing in self guided hikes around Turkey.
They arranged for all our bag transfers daily, booked our guesthouses along the way and arranged for our car transports to the trail and on to our guesthouses.

They were quick, responsive and easy to communicate with by email and phone, and they are such lovely people.
They did not even ask us for a deposit when we booked the walk.
We paid for the whole trip when we were done walking and had arrived in Antalya.

The marina in the old part of Antalya has many tourist boats docked there, most decorated with pirates.

As we strolled the streets, we came upon a fair with homemade crafts, cookies and food.
The ladies there had made small, very inexpensive cute things for the house, toys knitted from colorful yarn, jewelry and other crafts.

We were told that Turkey has accepted about five million Syrian refugees in recent years, and that Antalya is probably home to 500,000-750,000 of them.

Along with the understanding that they have to help the Syrian people, who are their neighbors and who have come to Turkey because they feared for their lives and for the safety of their families, comes the fear of what the future will bring.

On our last day in Antalya, we stayed in the city’s only luxury hotel.
Berry from Mithra came to share tea with us and chat, before we departed.

Best of all, the owner of our small hotel in the old city, drove us to the luxury hotel so we could check in.
I spent my last day in the city luxuriating in the beautiful Hammam of the hotel.
I massaged my leg muscles and thanked my body for doing so well on the hikes.

We will surely return again to Turkey to do more hikes.
For those of you who love adventures, here are some of the famous long distance hikes available to do in Turkey.
These are not easy walks, but they are very interesting and challenging.
Most of them take about 30-40 days if you walk the whole trail, but you can adjust the length to your schedule:

– The Lycian Way (exploring the ancient Lycian culture)
– The Carian Way (exploring the ancient Carian culture)
– Saint Paul’s Trail (walking in the footsteps of Saint Paul)
– The Phrygian Way (An inland route full of ancient ruins of the kingdom of Phrygia)
You can see itineraries and get info:
http://mithratravel.com

Another long distant walk is the Sufi trail, from Istanbul to Konya, where Rumi lived, taught and is buried:
https://sufitrail.com/

From Turkey,
Sending you love, blessings and light,
Tali

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