Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ovacık - Faralya

The Lycian Way day 2.
Distance: 13.4km (29.4km), time spent: 5:20 (10:33).
Altitude (start / end / highest): 294m / 257m / 808m.
Weather: Sunny, clear blue sky, hot.

I think I need time to adjust to the breakfasts down here, in the same way that I think I need time to adjust to the heat. A typical Turkish breakfast consists of a big slice of tomatoes (which I do not like), cucumber, lots of olives (which I also dislikes), a lot of white bread, honey, sometimes jam, one hardboiled egg and tea. It is with a huge portion of Turkish breakfast in my stomach that I sit in the taxi back up the start of The Lycian Way again.

At the official start of The Lycian Way at Ovacık.

Even though I began my walk yesterday, it still does feel more officially today when I venture on my way from the yellow wooden banner proclaiming that I am at the start of Likya Yolu. I am already familiar with the first part of the walk from yesterday, which goes on broad gravel track, but beneath the clear blue sky, it is even more beautiful today.

After walking on a gravel track the ascent towards Baba Dağı begins on an old stony road (kaldırım).

After the gravel track, the trail enters an old kaldırım (paved road, but here more of a stony road) that winds itself up the mountainsides below Baba Dağı. The climb up is fantastic, almost magical, even though it goes steeply upwards. Below me, the views towards the ocean and Olüdeniz with the beach and lagoons beyond only gets better and better. Above me, paragliders that are setting out from the Father Mountain are riding the thermals before they land on the beach at Olüdeniz. When the first rays from the sun finds their way over the mountain above, the heat is turned up considerably.

The ascent on the kaldırım offers a spectacular view back towards Olüdeniz and the ocean.

I meet a group of Turks that has been camping at the first water cistern I come to, they had climbed up from Olüdeniz and emphasized how the climb was. I am glad that I chose not to climb down yesterday. At the next water cistern further up, there is a large group on a day walk; most of the group are Germans. The heat is felt on my body, especially since it is a steady ascent. Along the entire climb up, it is only to turn around to admire the next Kodak moment, each step a new photograph. On the way up, the sole on one of the German's boots is loosening.

Great views down towards Olüdeniz with the adjacent sandy beach and lagoons, in addition to the ocean and the scenery around the coast. Each time I turned towards the sea, I was greeted with this splendid view.

I arrive at Kozağaç, a small village struck by an earthquake in 1953. The trail goes alongside several abandoned and empty houses, including a big wooden house that must have been a stately home sometime. A small sign advertising for tea catches my attention and I walk down to a small house where one of the villagers has a small café in her own garden. I order a coke and a tea, taking a breather in the nice weather.

A fence is no obstacle, more of an aid, for a goat on the hunt for a snack. In Kozağaç, where one of the villagers sells cold and hot drinks in her garden.

After the village, the trail is continuing below the towering wall of Baba Dağı on a gravel track once again. It is a mighty mountainside to walk beneath; I yearn to climb up to the summit, but dismisses the idea from my mind. At Kirme, another small mountain village, there is a small café selling gözleme, Sugar Pancake House & Café. A cute girl makes a delicious pancake with spinach and cheese. Leaving the café, I walk together with a Turkish hiker, who also plans to do the whole trail, he speaks little English and I do not speak Turkish. Kirme marks the beginning of the descent towards Faralya.

The trail where it goes below the mountainsides of Baba Dağı (Father Mountain). The mountain is a popular spot for paragliding.

It has been a wonderful walk from Ovacık when I arrive at Faralya, but I have walked faster than expected and still has good time left of the day. I consider walking further to Kabak and the beach there. Originally, my plan was to go here and then climb down to Kelebelker Vadisi (Butterfly-valley) the morning after, before continuing to Kabak. Instead, I decide to stay here and go down to the butterflies in the afternoon. The Turk I walked with for a while continues onward to Kabak.

Sugar Pancake House & Café in Kirme. A cute girl serves me a freshly made and delicious pancake with spinach and cheese.

In my guidebook, it says that the path down to Kelebelker Vadisi starts at George House, so I go there to check if they got an available bed for the night. I get a room for 60 lira, which includes dinner and breakfast, not the most expensive place I have stayed at. The three French boys that I met yesterday is here as well, Nils, Quintin and Simon-Pieter.

Gazing up towards Baba Dağı and Kirme on the descent to Faralya.

We keep company climbing down to the valley lying steeply below the cliffs at Faralya; the descent requires scrambling and the use of ropes. A volunteer working at the George House keeps us company in the beginning, he is running down, practicing to beat the record for the fastest climb from the beach and up (at the time of writing 11:40). The beach has a kind of laidback hippie feeling about it. The water is too inviting to stay untouched. We share a beer at one of the bars down there before setting course up again for dinner. I did not see a single butterfly down here, but I am told that the numbers of them are dwindling for each year. Scared away by too much noise. I am soaked again when I am back up, so I jump straight into the swimming pool at the place.

The view up from down in Kelebelker Vadisi, the Butterfly Valley.

The dinner is a large buffet with a lot of good food. I eat outside together with many of the other guests at the place, around the table much of the discussion is about the current refugee crisis in Europe. In the evening, we can hear the party music from down at Kelebelker Vadisi, no wonder that the butterflies are disappearing.

It has been a marvellous day. If the rest of The Lycian Way is just as amazing as this day, I am in for a treat of a trail, but that is probably to hope for too much.

Sunset above the sea, Faralya and the Butterfly Valley (Kelebelker Vadisi).

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