14th to 20th of April, 2014
This post continues the Ship’s Log from Week 33.
Our travel blog this week has subheadings that are a tribute to the joy of Turkish food. The food here has been amazing. Turkish cuisine has made our now almost six weeks in Turkey even more memorable. Here are some of our favourite Turkish treats.
Ship’s Log – Day 3 – Monday 14th April
The anchor is hoisted in the early morning – and our cabin in the very stern of the vessel giving us a good view of Kas receding over the horizon. Lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of the boat underway, we only wake again when the engine stops and we moor near Kaleköy,
an incredibly picturesque village, known to the ancient Lycians as Simena. The village sits beneath an impressive ruined Byzantine castle, and Lyican rock-hewn sarcophagi are scattered on the hillsides all around. It’s a magic spot in the early morning quiet.
We take breakfast and the entire passenger list enthusiastically go ashore, wandering up the various trails to the castle, through narrow village passages, up ancient stairways and through meadows which are rich with multi-coloured spring wildflowers emerging in sprays between the stones. Under the shade of a twisted olive, which must have seen half a hundred spring times, tortoises slowly patrol the grass.
Our party splits off, and we find another path back to the shore, through the sleepy village and down to where a rock sarcophagus sits in the lapping water. The path is made from stones in which ancient fossils can be observed, and yet another cave-tomb presides over the scene. We pick our way along the jetties to a cafe, then rejoin the group waiting for the transfer back to shore.
Weighing anchor again, we cruise slowly along the island shore opposite Kalekoy. Here is the island of Kekova, where the ruins of a town lie half submerged on the shore. Sun-bleached white stones merge into and under the blue-green water, a silent reminder of where Greek and Byzantine people worked, ate and played.
Coasting onwards, we skirt the by and drop anchor opposite the small harbour of Ucagiz, where there is time for a swim and lunch.
We head off again, and the crew hoist the sails, but the wind is fickle and desultory, so after some time they are hauled in again, and we set course for our evening’s destination – a peaceful anchorage a little further east, where some of the passengers swim while others wait for dinner reading and playing battleships.
Ship’s Log – Day 4 – Tuesday 15th April
Our voyage is drawing to an end. First port of call is a large sea cave – The Pirates Cave, which is inspected by jumping off the boat and swimming across the open sea. It’s large but sadly devoid of treasure.
We then tie up near some rocks in a tiny bay surrounded by grey-green pines, the water so clear, small silvery fish can be seen darting along the sandy bottom, several metres below. The skipper once again takes the sabretoothed chickens ashore in his ship’s boat, and we paddle around, explore the hinterland discover a tiny clearing wherein a stone circle is left as evidence of our landing.Hauling up the anchor for the last time, we motor across to a small harbour near Demre, where we land our chattels and bid farewell to the crew. A fabulous adventure, with many twists and turns, and we depart in good spirits.
The ‘Blue Cruise’ is not cheap, but it is a memorable way to explore this fascinating coast. We were privileged to experience it in the relative calm of mid-April, when the summer ‘gulet convoys’ are yet to start and most of the time there was perhaps one other vessel in sight. We were blessed with an entertaining and friendly bunch of fellow travellers, and an efficient, professional and friendly crew. In all it was a happy ship. Huzzah!
(Pastry, pistachios, cinnimon, sugar & honey syrup. World famous. Best with Turkish coffee.)
From Demre by minibus to Olympos and dolmus to Goynuk. Finally the bags are stowed on the balcony and we are sitting in the first floor appartment of our generous, welcoming couchsurfing host Muammer. A wonderful home cooked kofte dinner followed by the famous Turkish fairy floss Pişmaniye. Good company, great turkish food and a well earned rest.
2. Kaşarlı Pide
(Freshly baked Pide with melted cheese. So simple and so drippingly good)
Today we were to witness one of the worlds great ancient wonders. The place that sparked the legend of the Chimera a female mythical monster.
…a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire.
– Homer, Iliad
Our destination with its ruins, wild tortoises and flames leaping from the rock was only a small part of the stunning, demanding trek which gave us a glimpse of the beauty of the Lycian Way.
(Turkish breakfast: usually a collection of small plates inc honey, bread, dried fruits, olives, cheese, eggs, cucumber, tomatoes and even chocolate cake. A breakfast feast.)
Then, after a walk back to the village of Cirali for cay and freshly made Gozleme, we catch the dolmus to Phaselis.
There we enjoy more lunch, have a paddle, explore the Roman ruins and, exhausted, catch a taxi home. This long day ends with a trip to a local traditional bar of Goynuk. There was a roaring fire, local friends and flowing Raki (Turkish aniseed liquor).
4. Simit and Ayran
(A fresh turkish style bagel and drink of yogurt with water. Best had together.)
Day 235 brings more SIDES schoolwork. Then a restful play on the pebbled tourist beach, which in a short time will be covered with hordes of tourists.
5. Turkish Musakka
(Sautéed eggplants, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and minced meat. Heavenly.)
A fantastic evening at home playing fast paced backgammon and learning the intricacies of it’s variant known as Plakato.
6. Tavuc Doner
(Finely sliced chicken, served in a pocket of fresh pita bread with; tomato, onion with sumac, pickled cucumber and chilli. Often for the princely sum of 2TL.)
Waiting for the downpour to stop this morning didn’t work. So three small boys, four adults and ten pieces of luggage made the dash to the local dolmus stop. There were sad good byes but the road beckoned.
It was a long road this day with a dolmus to Antalya and a five hour bus trip to Konya which became more like seven hours. Then one of the disappointments of couchsurfing when we arrive exhausted with a no-show host, despite having had confirmation weeks ago.
Luckily we found a home at the clean, mid-range, Otel Ulsan.
7. Elti Ekemek
(Pizza like dish on pita bread. Famous in Konya and about a half meter in length. Yum.)
A quiet day of blogging and in Graham’s case Civilisation 3 playing. A splendid dinner of Elti Ekemek, followed by Keşkül for dessert.
(Bean soup can be had with thin slices of beef. Great just plain with fresh bread.)
Tonight we visit the famous free performance of the Mevlana Whirling Dervishes in Konya. Konya being the heart of the Rumi culture from which the Sufi religion was born. As we entered we read the poetic engraved quote
Either seem as you are or be as you seem – Mevlana Rumi.
(Roasted halved eggplant stuffed with minced beef, onion garlic, tomatoes, parley, chilli and peppers. Mouth watering.)
We had further disappointment with our second attempt at Air BnB. Not only did we only recieve final confirmation at the time of our check-out despite repeated contact earlier (Lame) but then he had the cheek to say that we had to check-in 7pm and check-out 7am… really…I don’t think so.
(Just minced meat and onion on crist thin pita bread. So good anytime especially like all things turkish with a squeeze of lemon.)
So we declined his offer and caught the next dolmus out to Goreme. There we found a nice hotel for the evening and, in our cave-like room surrounded by lush decorations and soaking in a steaming spa tub, we stopped looking back and started looking forward… to the magic that is Cappadocia.