Friday, September 18, 2015

Bel - Pydnai

The Lycian Way day 5.
Distance: 15.0km (78.4km), time spent: 5:51 (32:37).
Distance (start / end / highest): 703m / 11m / 711m.
Weather: Sunny and nice, hot, some clouds in the middle of the day.

It is almost beginning to become a routine, and a routine that I do not like as well, to sleep bad during the nights. Before I leave, I get a freshly baked bread with me. Therefore, despite that I was not all too much satisfied with the food (and has not slept that well), I have had a nice stay here in Bel. On the way out of the village, I pass by the other guesthouse, where Craig, Mike and Chris is about to eat breakfast.

Kiliç Pansiyon in Bel, my room was in second floor of the building.

I do not know where the trail will take me today; given the number of days that I have walked, I should arrive at the Patara beach according to my devious plan that I made back home. Things has as usual not gone entirely as planned, though there is nothing wrong with that. From Bel, the day starts on a gravel track, which does not feel that bad, it has a nice view towards the Karadere valley below.

View of the Karadere valley.

Speaking about plans for the trail, my original idea was to go to a place where I could get some food and eat there, for then to walk on further a bit and find myself a place to camp. The heat has effectively put an end to that thought; it gets too hot in my tent. At Belceğiz the trail leaves the track, I would not have had any trouble getting here yesterday before dark, but the quality of the water here is somewhat uncertain (at the pansiyon they told me that I should not drink from it). There are people in some of the houses here, which apparently should be abandoned. A signpost indicates that it is 7km to Gavurağılı.

Looking back towards Bel and the path I came down to the village from. The trail has followed the road here from Bel.

My stomach does not have a very pleasant walk today, it is still continuing aching. It looks like the trail has understood that it goes slower with me today, a signpost inside the woods said it was 8km to Gavurağılı. 1km longer than it was for 1km ago. The path goes through a peaceful and in opposition to my body pleasant, wooden section before the trees makes way for air and views.


The view down towards the sea and steeply down to it, where the trail goes, is however nice. Still, I cannot completely enjoy it, it goes slow downwards, and my body feels heavy like I am walking in a slog. I pass by an unmoving snake, indifferent to me passing it by. The path is not good to walk on, demanding with many loose rocks that rolls underneath my shoes. The Brits are catching up with me when I am having a break and I hang onto them down to Gavurağılı. Which is quite an odd place, there is a large hotel here, some scattered houses here and there, a guesthouse with some dogs that does not looks happy to see visitors and little else.

A signpost in the forest, 8km to Gavurağılı, 1km longer than it was 1km ago. The additional kilometre through the forest was pleasant.

Craig, Mike and Chris are going down to the beach to swim, I choose to pass the opportunity and continues further, forgetting filling up water doing so. The heat is on and the walk up from Gavurağılı on a gravel track is boring. At a time disappears the waymarks into the periphery and I end up walking a detour before I finds back to the trail. That is, what route of the route? I find three different paths all marked with the red and white blazes that The Lycian Way is using. In the end, I find the correct marking well hidden on the least visible of the trails.

An indifferent snake on the trail.

I would have difficulty denying the fact that I have not had a great experience today, but the view over the Patara beach and Pydnai from the hill above are undeniable worth something of the toil. I went out of water on the walk over the hill and as a result, my mouth is now really dry. At Pydnai, I can choose between walking a little longer than one kilometre to the Patara beach where I can get something to drink, or walk 400 metres north to Özlen's Restaurant & Pansiyon.

The descent towards Gavurağılı, a nice view, but the path down was hard and cumbersome to walk on.

Walking north turned out to be the best decision so far in the day. A weird bridge that looks somewhat ramshackle and unsteady carries me over a river to a place that looks like an oasis in the outskirts of the tomato greenhouses here. It is way too early to stop for the day, but the walking has not been very rewarding as mentioned and this is the best place of accommodation I have been at so far, so I decide to call it a day and stay here. Moreover, the best thing of it all almost, they got air condition here. Craig, Mike and Chris are turning up here as well later on.

View over the Patara beach with Pydnai in the foreground, in a few days the trail will come down to the other side of the beach.

There are geese, fish and small sea turtles swimming in the river and another guest claims to have seen a snake there as well. And a tired Norwegian hiker. There is powerful current in the river and the temperature is really fresh, I have to make an effort not to disappear all the way down to Patara and having to walk back up again barefooted. I choose to go down to Pydnai instead to take a look at the ruins before dinner, something not so well thought through when I starts to become sweat again. These ruins are not as well kept as those I have visited earlier, I neglect by will to look at the area that the trail passes through.

Özlen's Pansiyon & Restaurant. Swimming in the river was a fresh experience.

We eat dinner at one of the tables standing next to the river. While we are eating one of the turtles are sticking its head out of the water and is looking at us. The evening does get young however for my part; I am dead tired after the lack of sleep the last nights. In my room, I turn on the air condition and can finally feel some cold on my body again; I think I fall straight to sleep. I was glad that I came to this place after such a little rewarding walk.

Pydnai, a small navy and military base from old days. Inside the walls, which are the best-preserved parts of the ruins, there were little left of any buildings.

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