Trip Start Jun 04, 2012
174Trip End Apr 04, 2013
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Fethiye lies on the western side of the Lycian peninsula that juts down into the Mediterranean Sea on Turkey's southern coast
Modern visitors can view or visit the Tomb of Amyntos looming behind the town, an Ionic temple dating back to 350 BC. Another historical remnant is a theatre dating back to Roman times that is just beside the harbor. You could easily mistake it for a constrsuction site unless you look closely. If this were not enough, there is a Crusader Fortress built by the Knights of St. John who used the city as a base for battles on the front lines. Un a bizarre twist, the armies of the Fourth Crusade who set out to liberate the Holy Land, were persuaded instead to sack Constantinople due to internal Byzantine rivalry.
While the views of the harbor and sea from Fethiye are pleasing, it does not have a beach. The beach resort of Oludeniz (Dead Sea) is just a half-hour Dolmush (same as marshrutka in the ex-Soviet union, mini buses that operate on an approximate schedule and leave when full) ride over the hills to the southeast. Enroute, you pass through the bizarre holiday towns of Ovacik and Hisaronu that have an over saturation of tacky hotels, salons and restaurants. The towns seem to be courting visitors from the UK with names like Saintsbury (sic), Marc and Spencer (sic) etc. There was a Chindi restaurant that claimed to serve Chinese and Indian cuisine. In this low season, these towns wore a ghostly look as none of the businesses seemed to be open. The same goes for Oludeniz beach where the bulk of the businesses were closed barring the odd store or cafe. Nobody can blame the weather which was balmy (in the middle of November!), allowing even us beach-averse travelers to spend a few minutes with the Mediterranean waters around our shoulders. However, one particular business was thriving and this was paragliding. The clear blue sky was dotted with several gliders making their descent from nearby mountain tops down onto the beach. The stretch of white beach and blue waters with an adjacent lagoon features on many picture postcards. The beach however is more pebble than sand and is not suitable for bare feet.
The Lycian Way is a 509 km long trail from Fethiye to Antalya that was opened in 1999
Towards the middle section, the scenic value of the trail drops significantly due to construction sites on villages enroute. It gets better towards the latter stages, passing through remote villages with friendly residents. The path is quite rocky requiring care while descending towards Faralya where several guesthouses can be found for the tired hiker. Alternatively, one can return to Fethiye on a dolmush if one reaches Faralya before the last one leaves at 4:40 pm. We managed to get there with an hour to spare to enjoy views of the Butterfly Valley and some refreshment at the village. We had taken spare change of clothing for the night but chose to return back to Fethiye via the last dolmush. A decent workout for the day
A short dolmush ride from Fethiye is the ghost town of Kayakoy (once called Karmulassos by its Greek inhabitants). The surprising fact about this town is its relatively recent history dating back to WWI. The League of Nations oversaw a population exchange between Ottoman Greeks and Greek Muslims in 1923 after Turkey's War of Independence. The Ottoman Greeks moved from Karmulassos to Greece and founded a settlement near Athens. The Greek Muslims who took their place in Kayakoy eventually abandoned the town (many theories exist). Today the 2000 stone houses on the hillside over the modern town of Kayakoy is a cultural heritage monument. We walked for an hour through the stone paths cut through the town. A surreal experience. We wonder if we will get to the other side on this trip. Let us see.
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