Bussed to Fethiye in the daytime over mountain passes that are in a state of reforestation (which is a great idea given the dry conditions). High rugged mountains with a very good highway slashing it's way through the passes. Strange to see the trees growing in straight lines up the mountainside. The ridges are bare strips of dirt...probably a deliberate fire guard. Forest fire is a problem in this area.
fethiye is, in my mind, England/Germany with some Russian & Italian thrown in. This is not at all like the Muslim areas we have visited. Here short shorts and tank tops rule. I felt conspicuous with long pants, Tee shirt and head s are.
As we wandered along the beautiful Calis beach boardwalk we slowly acclimatized to the searing heat and the laid back beach life. Strange to see all the slathered body covered beach chairs placed next to signs warning about Turtle nesting grounds. As if the tourists will notice a raised bit of sand (indicating a nesting site for the endangered sea turtle) and avoid plunking their bodies down on top!
Somehow the turtles have successfully managed to lay their eggs. Proof was found the next day when we saw 'officials' gently removing the newly hatched turtles to a safer place.
so, the first day we rested, walked, swam and rested again. Amid all this activity we tried to get information about the reason we came here.....to see the ruins of the Lycian Way. There are lots of tours to snorkel (and drink), to white water raft (and drink), to paraglide (and drink) even to take a pirate looking sailboat to 12 islands (and drink)....but only one place advertised an Archeological Tour and even they weren't sure what we would do...for $100! They handed us a package with an extensive history of Lycia but no itinerary. We walked on.
Next day we hopped a local bus which would take us to Tlos, a (first) Lycian/Greek/Roman/ Turkish tourism site. It was, actually, pretty unspoiled. The bus dropped us off, the driver ensuring us he would be back in 1 hour & 50 minutes. Now this is a funny story (in a Mary hissy fit kind of way). Turns out the local bus would have cost us 8.40 Turkish Lira. The people on the bus we were on were sold a 20 Turkish Lira ticket round trip to Saklikent. I thought this was kind of cheeky that we paid the same only going two thirds as far but, oh well. Taking our time we climbed to the top, in and out of the ruined paths even exploring inside some Lycian tombs (until the honey bees chased us out). Back on the road, walking towards the Roman Theatre, we ran into the tourists sharing our bus....walking. They were supposed to go to the Gorge for the day. Apparently they had to wait for us before the driver would take them on. Back on board we said, again, that we would like to back to Fethiye. So, he dropped us off in a tiny village and said "Return ticket? Return to here. The get off....then cost you 5 lira to get to Fethiye". I was mad...but then we both saw the humour. He got his money...we got a good story. To top that off we met a delightful old couple (probably our age) waiting for the same dolmas. He was very proud of the chainsaw he was carrying. He tried to explain to me what it was. When I theatrical (what me?) and mimed the pull, whirr, cut and tree falling they both started laughing. A couple of high fives later they got in to a local car and left us hoping this really was where we got the dolmas to town. Sure enough one came along.
In town we hopped off one bus and boarded another, this time heading south of a small mountain pass to Kayakoy. One and a half million Greeks were forced to return to Greece in 1923 ( only 400,000 Turks were sent back from Greece) after the Turkish war of independence. At one time there were 4000 abandoned houses in this area. Saved from being developed as a tourist resort, this eerily haunting village is interesting to get lost in. When the Greeks left the people lost teachers, doctors, really the leaders of their communities leaving confusion in their wake.
the journey back to our hotel took us past the bar scene/ tattoo parlours of the tourist havens of Alacati and Fethiye to the oasis of the Hotel Vanilla (highly recommended!).
The next day we prepaid ourselves for another full day of 'bus battles' only to be pleasantly pleased by what Shane called a "Different Dolmus Day". One after the other we made connections we hasn't even prepared for finding ourselves in the sleepy town of Datca at check in time. This will be our kick back before heading north to Ephesus and eventually Istanbul.
In Datca we seem to find ourselves in a tourist spot for the Turkish people. Very little English spoken here. The town is quaint and unspoiled. Set in a stunning bay overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The other side of this narrow peninsula is the Aegean Sea.
So here, in this sleepy fishing village, we will walk, swim, read and rest. The whole area is brimming with history.....but the only thing to cross off our list is leisure. Can't imagine a better place to do it.