Monday, September 14, 2015

Fethiye - Ovacık

The Lycian Way day 1.
Distance: 16.0km (16.0km), time spent: 5:13 (5:13).
Altitude (start / end / highest): 85m / 339m / 431m.
Weather: Sunny, clear blue sky, hot.


Officially, the start of The Lycian Way is outside of Ovacık, but I have anyway chosen to begin my Lycian walk from Fethiye. From Fethiye, there is a marked trail going to Ovacık, which is actually marked as The Lycian Way on my map. To save time (I have already spent a lot of time locating a gas canister for my stove in the morning) and effort, I chose to take a dolmuş to the start point. Instead of going past my wanted place to start from, the bus goes the long way around to Ovacık and put me off nearby the official start of the trail. I therefore take a taxi back to Fethiye again, which drops me off just above Telmessos, thus wasting away 75 Turkish Lira on an unnecessary roundtrip. It all quite fits in regarding that I have already taken a plane to the wrong airport (I incidentially bought a plane ticket to Alanya instead of Antalya).

In Fethiye, above Telmessos. The unofficial start of The Lycian Way.

My chosen start point is from the ruins of the Telmessos castle in Fethiye. Even though the trail I have planned to walk in the beginning officially is not The Lycian Way, there is a signpost here marked with Likya Yolu (the Turkish name of the trail). From the taxi ride, I could see what was awaiting my, the path goes relatively steep upwards at the beginning; fortunately the path is good to walk on and mostly in the shade. It is hot. The ascent ends at 381m, next to a small cemetery (Küllü Sarnıç) and something that resembles a ramshackle pavilion you can sit in. Here this kind of pavilion is called for a kösk and I take advantage of the opportunity to take a break, while feeling elevated by having begun on a new adventure.

Up from Fethiye, the trail goes both on a path through the woods and on a broader old cart track.

I emerge from the forest and shade to a view over the area I will be going through, in the background the silhouette of Baba Dağı (the Father-mountain) is towering. The trail goes over a large and flat plain, but it is the empty buildings in the hill above the plains that attracts my attention. The ghost town at Kayaköy.

Küllü Sarnıç, at the highest point after Fethiye, I arrive at a cemetery in the woods and a worn kösk (sitting platform). The kösk reminded me somewhat of the jeongja's in South Korea, but appeared a lot more worn and less remarkable than the more ornamented pavilions over there. Anyway, a nice place for a break in the shade.

On my way up from Fethiye, I met a girl who had been looking for some rock tombs; she had not been able to find them and had to turn back due to lack of water. At Belen, I find the tombs, carved into the rocks next to the path. It is the first ruins I see on my walk (disregarding Telmessos). The sealed walls of the tombs has been broken open and everything inside the graves has been looted a long time ago. As near as every antique graves has suffered a similar fate.

After coming down from the first hill after Fethiye, I come down to a water cistern. The opening is large enough so that nearly everything can get to the water, something that makes me rather sceptic to drink any of the water originating from it.

In Kayaköy, I stop for lunch at a restaurant, but they tell me that I cannot get any food. I have some food in my backpack, so I eat it instead. Shortly after, a large group of tourists arrives, and then suddenly the place can make food. Fair enough, they say I can order food then, but by then I have already eaten some and honestly does not feel to order something. Then I go hunting for ghosts.

Rock tombs at Belen, carved out of the mountain. All the tombs broken open and looted a long time ago.

At Kayaköy lies the ruins of Karmylassos, a village made as a part of the population exchange between Turkey and Greece in 1924. The village is originally Lycian, now a ghost town that contains around 3500 almost identical houses of rock. It is a strange feeling walking between the abandoned and empty buildings, deep sighs from the past wafts through the empty streets. At a height above the ruins of the church, I can look out over the place and back across the plain I have walked across. Seeing this place was the greatest reason for why I wanted to begin at Fethiye, it has been a nice beginning of my walk.

The ghost town at Kayaköy, Karmylassos. An abandoned village consisting of near identical and square houses of stone. To the right is the ruins of the church in the village.

After Karmylassos, the trail goes on a pleasant path through the forest in the hillsides below Geymene Dağı. The path is shady, which is welcome. The Lycian Way is however known for being somewhat erratic waymarked and I have the first meeting with that problem on this part. Inside the forest, I suddenly finds myself on a track without any waymarks. After looking around for a bit, I relocate the waymarks in the woods above me, I did not see any place where the markings deviated from the path.

The remains of a water cistern in Karmylassos, the church can be seen in the background. On the way out of the ruins, sighs from the past blows through the open houses.

I arrive at the road below Ovacık where the bus put me off. With good time left of the day I walk to the official start of The Lycian Way. There is apparently a taxi stop right next to it (there are some large hotels close by), so I sit down for a break together with the drivers. They fill up my water bottle before I move on again, my initial idea is to continue walking a bit on the trail and then go down on a track leading to Olüdeniz later. I do not have enough water or food to camp out at the moment, so I have to get down there or go back to Ovacık.

The path and view where the trail goes in the hillside below Geymene Dağı.

The view over Olüdeniz and the sea from the path is fantastic, but it also gives me an apprehension of how steep the path down towards Olüdeniz is. I stop at a rocky outcrop and enjoys the view, and then decides not to go down. I make a complete turn and walk back to the taxi drivers and the sign marking the start of the trail. On the way, I meet three young French boys just starting their walk. I feel a little bit stupid turning back, but does not deviate from taking a taxi down to Olüdeniz.

View over Olüdeniz with adjacent bay and sandy beach.

When I drove through Ovacık this morning the place struck me as extremely touristic, so I would rather try my luck in Olüdeniz. It is no better here, a place completely catered towards tourists. Fortunately, I think I found the only nice place here, Secret Garden Pansiyon. My room has five beds, the only one available. Belonging to the guesthouse (or the other way around) is a pleasant and quiet restaurant. A short walk through the town only confirms my impression of the place, large and noisy stretches of restaurants and shops directed towards tourists that walks en masse here.

I seek shelter in the restaurant and bar at my guesthouse and eat a quite good dinner there. Well satisfied with the first day, which offered a rather pleasant and easy beginning of my hike. It is hot and I am excited about the continuation. Tomorrow I will be officially on my way.

Olüdeniz, bright neon lights in the dark among tourists en masse.

Faralya ->

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