Thursday, October 1, 2015

Myra - Belören

The Lycian Way day 18.
Distance: 7.0 (283.9km), time spent: 3:26 (113:32).
Altitude (start / end / highest): 17m / 653m / 765m.
Weather: Nice weather, some clouds.

The kilometres on my journey has been distributed quite unevenly in the last days, yesterday became short mainly due to bad weather, today I have not a long walk ahead of me as well. Tomorrow though, the number of kilometres will increase if everything goes as it is supposed to. I am located farther away from where I will start today than the distance I will walk today, so I start the day with a bus ride back to Demre after eating breakfast in Kaş.

The riverbed running through the Demre gorge is almost dry. In the background to the right the road up to Belören is visible, Gavur Yolu, which is the path the Lycian Way uses is less clear below the road.

From the bus station in Demre, I take a taxi back to the junction at Myra. Inquiring about how much it approximately will cost to take a taxi down from Belören, I am told it will cost me about 70 Turkish lira. Water does come with a prize sometimes.

A dromedary camel with a shepherd in a small village in the Demre gorge.

Exciting is the least the walk can be called in the beginning, walking past worn buildings and houses. The trail goes up through the Demre gorge next to the Demre Çay river. The riverbed is almost dry and what little water there is is coloured grey by the sediments. Dogs barks when I walk past them, and after yesterday's encounter. I have to admit that I am somewhat happy they are kept on a leash. It is funnier to see a dromedary walk past me.

Further up the valley, I know that the path I wanted to take yesterday is coming down, I wonder a little if that reroute is making the Lycian Way more cumbersome. It will be further between places to buy food in if you walk that way.

Up towards Kutluca and Belören, the trail goes on the Gavur Yolu, an old kaldirim built on the top of a wall.

Up from the Demre gorge, the trail goes on an old kaldirim / cart track called Gavur Yolu, Christians' way, which is built on top of a wall and goes in hairpin turns up the mountain. The way they built the old ways up into the mountains bears the same mark along the coast of Lycia, both up from Ovacık and up from Kalkan the trail climbed up on similar cart tracks. As those, this one also is beckoning to me.

Demre gorge, the riverbed through the valley is a dry scar in the landscape. Further in the valley, the new trail that goes past the ruins of Trysa comes down.

From higher up there is little resembling water and river down below, only a dry scar that tears through the landscape. The buildings and greenhouses of Demre appear in the view with the Mediterranean behind. The path is like a natural built staircase of rock, however quite uneven. A tortoise has strayed into the path, but I wonder how it will manage to continue further on it.

The Gavur Yolu climbs upwards with a view of the ocean and Demre.

At Kutluca the new road crosses the old one, from here the Gavur Yolu keeps climbing while the mountainsides around are narrowing around the trail. If this path is an indication of what is ahead, I look forward to the continuation tomorrow. Now, I am getting closer to Belören and the end of the short walk for today. However, I would have preferred to walk longer. I would really like to spend the night at Alakilise, the ruins of a church further up, which I think would be a haunting experience.

The old way is clearly visible up towards Asarbelen and Belören with the new road above.

The path crosses the road for a second time before the last small ascent to a small pass above Belören, at the pass is the necropolis of Asarbelen. It grows over, so sarcophaguses and tombs looks like they just are strewn randomly around. I leave my backpack behind among the tombs and climb the hill up to the top, where the ruins of Asarbelen itself are located.

Asarbelen with a view to the Mediterranean.

From the walls of the ruins, the view is great, especially in the direction where the trail continues; which makes me want to continue even more (however, I have safeguarded myself against continuing, there is not enough food in my backpack). Of Asarbelen there is very little left, the walls are relatively intact, classical in style with Byzantine repairs. The cistern in the middle is no longer holding water, but bushes and small trees. Goats are the primary inhabitants of the fort; the ground is littered with small and round droppings.

View from Asarbelen in the direction of the mountains where the trail goes, Belören below. The Lycian Way passes by the distinct white rock uppermost in the picture.

At Belören, I attract the curiosity of some workers; it looks like they are working with the road that continues to Çağman. The road is my way down from the village. There is only a slight problem, I have no coverage here and I cannot make a call to the taxi. That problem is solved when the workers are offering to drive me down for a small sum, without me asking about it as well (and I do not have to climb up somewhere to find coverage either).

Ruins near Kent Pansiyon.

The road down is a really humpy ride, I get dropped off outside Kent Pansiyon. So, I will spend a night in Demre after all, though the guesthouse is not located in the centre of the town. The guesthouse is however a good place with a friendly host, Salih Topuz, and has a nice place to sit outside. The host tells me how I can get water on the upcoming water, and will drive me up to Belören again tomorrow morning.

The Kent Pansiyon in Demre.

Maybe I should have visited the Santa Claus-museum (Noel Baba) that is here in Demre, this is yet another place claiming to be where Santa Claus is from. St Nicholas has left his footprints here. Still, I just stay at the guesthouse and do not spend so much time outside, I run some small errands in the nearby stores to buy food for the next days.

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