Okay folks, here is the first part with some photo and video impressions from our trip to South-Western Turkey / Lycia where we've walked parts of the Lycian Way.
The Lycian Way has only been established in 1999 by the initiative of the British lady Kate Clow. It follows ancient trade routes. Those beautiful paths once formed a dense net of routes all over the coasts, countries and islands in the Mediterranean area. But once modern times reached those areas people prefered to use newly built (dirt) roads by car. The old paths were abandoned, forgotten, overgrown and partly destroyed by the roads. Thanks to people like Kate Clow some of them – first in Greece where I’ve been for hiking very often – were restored. In Turkey this development is very new, and the locals were very astonished to experience that some “rich” tourists prefer to torture themselves on those steep paths instead of using the easy way of travelling by car. But mind, once we’ve even met a group of Turkish (!) male (!) hikers on the trail, so things seem to change. Anyway, the Lycian way provides new chances for those very poor people living along the trail to earn some money.
Because I’m lazy, here is what Wikipedia has to say about the Lycian Way: The Lycian Way is a long-distance footpath in Turkey around part of the coast of ancient Lycia. It is approximately 510 km (317 miles) long and stretches from Ölüdeniz, near Fethiye, to Hisarcandir, about 20 kilometers from Antalya. It is waymarked with red and white stripes, the Grande Randonnee convention. The Sunday Times has listed it as one of the world's top ten walks. It takes its name from the ancient civilisation, which once ruled the area. The route is graded medium to hard; it is not level walking, but has many ascents and descents as it approaches and veers away from the sea. It is easier at the start near Fethiye and gets more difficult as it progresses. It is recommended that you walk the route in spring or autumn; February–May or September–November. Summer in Lycia is hot, although you could walk short, shady sections. The route is mainly over footpaths and mule trails; mostly limestone and often hard and stony underfoot.
The following photos and videos were taken during the first five days which were totally dedicated to the Lycian way. We stayed overnight in Olüdeniz/Ovacik (start of the trail), then in the remote villages of Faralaya (George House), Kabak (Olive Garden) and Gey (Ramazan’s simple Guesthouse in his little farm). We’ve booked the tour by an Austrian Hiking Agency. They cared for the accomodations, the transport of the heavy luggage and some lifts; moreover they provided some informations and the data of the GPS-tracks (I had to buy a navigator the days before we left and had to figure out how this stuff works. Costed me some nerves, lol). Although the Lycian Way is mostly marked, a GPS device is recommended because sometimes you can easily miss the right turn of the path. Moreover hikers will help each other to find the right way. We’ve met quite a lot of folks from different countries on the trail: some organized groups with their own guides as well as individuals who planned to manage the whole long Lycian Way as back packers, some of them even with tents in order to sleep outdoors.
Turkish people are very friendly and hospitable. Of course in those remote rural villages high above in the mountains only few people know some chunks of English or German, and as our Turkish is – ehem – a bit limited too, communication usually was restricted to a Hello (“Merhaba”) and a smile. Turkish cuisine is very delicious and healthy. In rural areas you mostly get all sorts of salads, vegetables, fruits, cheese and eggs but rarely any meat (this of course is different in the towns down at the shore which are adapted to tourism and where meat and tasty fishes are in the offing). Most people in those remote villages live from farming with small fields which they still harvest by simple sickles. They’ve got chickens and cows, and everywhere you’ll meet herds of goats and sheep.
Overall we were quite lucky with the weather although it was a bit unstable and in one night a front of thunderstorms, accompanied by fierce winds, moved in. The last day we had to shorten our tour because of rain which would make the final deep descent down to sea level too slippery. Farmer Ramazan was so kind to pick us up with his old car and rumble down the very bad dirt road to take us back to “civilization”, where the next part of our journey started.
Map of the Lycian Way. We've walked the first part to the left leading from North to South.
Start of the Lycian Way. You still can choose between your feet and the taxi service, lol.
View back to the North (Beldegiz).
Close up to the beach which would be heavily overcrowed later on in the main season.
View to the South with some clouds cicking in.
Beautiful goats everywhere.
Advantage of spring compared to autumn is that nature still is lush green with a lot of flowers and blossoms. This may be an orchid.
Traditionally built house with wood and framework - but obviously not in the best condition anymore.
Descent to the village of Kirme.
My heavily packed backside, lol.
Village of Faralaya.
This scrapped motorbike attracted the attention especially of male hikers.
The huge gorge of Faralaya.
View towards the bay.
Poppy with visitor.
Butterfly valley with its beach. Descent is very dangerous but anyway we were too lazy to descent and walk up again.
View out of the window of my flat at George House. You won't need an alarm clock. Either the cock or the call of the Muezzin from the mosque will wake you up early in the morning.
Women prepars pita bread for dinner at George House.
Storms are looming for the night.
Video with the whole breathtaking scenery around George House high above Butterfly Valley.
Coastline to the North.
Open air tea stove at the wayside. Tea is the most common beverage.
Break with fresh orange juice.
One of those beautiful and proud cocks. Chicken still enjoy a very natural and peaceful life in those villages.
Reaching the village of Kabak.
The bay of Kabak.
The whole scenery around Olive Garden in Kabak.
Ascent from Kabak to Alinca.
Very rocky scenery.
Old cistern in the valley between Alinca and Gey.
View back towards the North from the hights near Gey.
The remote village of Gey.
Harvest of wheat with sickles.
Farmer is bringing in his animals for the night.
Chicken will stay in the trees during the night where they are safe from the foxes.
Farmer Ramazan, our landlord for this night. The van in the background belonged to another group of hikers.
Ramazan's plain boarding house (the only one in this village) with only two small bathrooms for 15 hikers. Well, we had fun nevertheless.
Bonfire for the hikers.
Flowers at the wayside.
Turkish family in a nearby village.
Chat with other hikers on the way. Later on we had to shorten our walk for this day because of rain and fog.
So far part one. I hope you've enjoyed it.
When I've got time, more parts will follow. Expect: More parts of the Lycian way, gorgeous gorges and rivers, huuuge beaches and dunes, an overwhelming lot of ancient ruins, picturesque harbour towns with shops, inland and island trips ...