T is for Turkey’s Turquoise Coast part 2, Akbel to Ucagiz

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Written by Lucie and Mark.

This is part two of the ‘T’ adventure for the Alphabet Challenge. Read background information about the trail, plus our sweet tips for hiking the Lycian Way.

Check out our blogs for other sections of the trail:

Day six

Akbel to Patara, 17km

We had a luxurious start: breakfast in bed, which consisted of bananas and oranges dipped in chocolate hazelnut spread.

The first part of the hiking day was along another ancient aqueduct, and was again overgrown with very scratchy bushes. Even Mark put on long trousers so you know it was bad.

We reached a long bridge for the aqueduct where the water would have travelled along a pipe, created by large square stones with holes in the middle, which all interlinked. It was very clever. And we enjoyed walking on top of, and alongside, the structure.

Wooo, ancient water thingy!

After this, we continued down wider paths, past a few water sources and houses with olive groves. We finally broke out from the hillside above the Patara ruins, at the eastern end of Patara Beach, which we were at two days ago.

The entrance way to the city.

Patara was the capital of Lycia and was established over 2000 years ago. In 43 AD Lycia became a Roman province and Patara continued to be the ruling seat for many more years, until the port silted up.

The grand theatre.

The city’s grand tri-arched entry gate is in excellent form and we sat in its shade to eat lunch. Then, we spent a few hours walking around the ancient site, which included several bath houses, churches, tombs, a basilica, a well-preserved amphitheatre and the government building. The theatre had seating capacity for 6000 and the parliamentary building could seat 1400 – Lycia is reported as being the birth place of modern democracy. It was really interesting!

The seat of early democracy.

After we had explored, we walked down to the beach, which is a bearing place for sea turtles, for a much-needed cool down and wash in the ocean.

We filled all of our water containers at the ruins and hiked back up the hill, getting very hot and sweaty again. About 4km from the beach we reached a high point and set up camp with 180 degree ocean views plus views to the ruins. We watched a beautiful sunset, had dinner, looked at the stars, and went to bed.


Day seven

Patara to Kalkan, 15.5km

Our morning began with a downhill hike. The trail was just off to the side of the road and quickly became totally overgrown and full of massive holes. We were about to bail and just walk on the road when the trail and road rejoined anyway. We followed the road the rest of the way down.

Another dreamy sunrise.

We walked along the southern loop of the peninsula along rural roads and Mark got to practice his Turkish when he met a local at a water fountain.

We continued along and saw the aqueduct getting closer, before we recovered a short section of trail from the previous day, however, we soon turned off towards the cliff. This section was very pretty and we looked down into bright blue waters. A couple of kilometres along the path turned right, to get even closer to the water, and broke out onto the cliff face. We were then clambering up and down the rocky cliff, right on the edge. The rocks chinked like metal when our pole tips hit them.

We needed to get around this little bay. It seemed so straightforward…

It was a very technically challenging section and the sun was beating down of us. There was no shade, just rocks and scratchy bushes.

After about an hour or so we found a large overhanging tree and excitedly flopped down into its shade for lunch and a long rest.

It still looked good, and we could see the next town.

After lunch, we had been walking for about one minute when Mark took a tumble and badly hurt his ankle. We took off his shoe and sock to assess the damage and could already see a lot of swelling. We bandaged it and dosed Mark up on ibuprofen. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much we could do except to keep walking out to the closest point of civilisation. Lucie took both backpacks and Mark leant heavily on his poles to slowly limp along, with lots of rests. It wasn’t too far to Kalkan, but the trail was still very difficult, even without a dodgy ankle, so it took a long time.

In Kalkan we went to the closest cafe, which unfortunately was not on the edge of town but involved going up a really steep hill past lots of holiday villas (mostly owned by Brits or Germans). We finally reached Cafe Vita and immediately got a bag of ice and a beer for Mark. We also got chatting to someone who lived in Kalkan and worked in some sort of rescue organisation. He told us several stories of people getting stuck in canyons or generally having problems on the trail.

From the cafe we took a taxi to a hotel in town, cleaned up and got more ice for the ankle, which we determined was badly sprained but nothing more serious. We had a weird hiker trash dinner of soup and crackers in our hotel room and rested up.

Days eight to fourteen

Kalkan to Kaş
After a full day of rest in Kalkan Mark’s ankle was huge and starting to bruise a lot. We decided that we were not going to be able to get back on trail for at least a week and would now be unlikely to complete the whole Lycian Way in our timeframe. After doing a lot of trail research, we thought that Kalkan to Kaş (pronounced cash) sounded too technical for a freshly damaged ankle and so we hopped (one of us somewhat literally) onto a dolmuş along the coast.

These pigeons were very interested in our breakfast.

As Mark started to recover we took a few strolls around Kaş to the weekly food market, Lycian rock tombs, an ancient amphitheatre and some beaches. Plus we took a day trip to the Greek island of Kastellorizo (in Greek)/Meis (in Turkish), which is just 2km off of the coast.

Just sneaking in a little trip to Greece!

Day fifteen

Kaş to Çoban Koyu Beach, 8km

With Mark’s ankle feeling much better, although still quite bruised and a bit weak, we decided to get back out on the trail, albeit very gently, both in terms of distance and terrain.

We walked slowly out of Kaş, heading east along the water front. We went along the small coast road and saw a pebble beach on the edge of town. Then, we turned off the main road to stay on the coast and go through an outlying hamlet and start off down a walking path.

We’re back baby!

We took the inland route, rather than the cliff route, because the cliff path was said to be pretty tricky terrain and we wanted to warm the ankle up slowly. The inland path (still marked as the Lycian Way) was quite gentle and we stopped for lunch next to an ancient sarcophagus.

After lunch we continued on, rejoined the cliff path, and then a little further on found a water cistern. This was another stone bunker with a water pool quite a long way down from the tiny doorway. With our pole and yoghurt pail set up we drew up enough water for the night and continued on our way.

Next, the trail became more rugged and popped out onto the rocky cliff. We took it very slow and easy, picking our way along and watched a tiny fishing boat putting out nets. At one point the path crossed over a very narrow chasm with a water inlet a long way below. We could hear the water washing in and out and splashing up the rocks, but we could not see it.

Rocky cliffs, not quite what Mark had wanted on his first real outing.

The scenery was gorgeous, there were lots of islands just off of the coast and up ahead we could see another tiny pebble beach where we planned to camp.

When we reached the beach we found a nice spot for our tent and saw one other tent further inland. We had a cool down in the ocean, watched the brilliant red sunset and then went to cook and get ready for bed. It was still quite early however, and so Lucie impressed Mark by engaging him in sports chat until we were ready to sleep.

Are you sick of amazing sunset and sunrise photos yet?

Day sixteen

Çoban Koyu Beach to Apollonia, 14km

We set off from the beach and after 2km of slightly rugged trail, we reached another pebble beach with a few buildings that were all closed up, presumably for winter.

From there, we walked along a dirt road and decided to stay on the road, rather than walk down to the ‘rugged inlet’, in order to protect Mark’s ankle. After a while we rejoined the trail at a small beach where we stopped to have lunch. We managed to temporarily adopt a dog who sat with us the whole time we were resting, apart from a five-minute period in which she dashed off to chase a cat. She was a good doggo.

What are you doing human? Why are you not petting me?

After our lunch break we continued along a narrow, rocky coast path and our dog friend decided to turn back and go home.

The path along this section was quite tricky, and even though it was now several degrees cooler than when we had started hiking two weeks ago, it still got pretty hot on the uphill climb.

We reached another dirt road and continued on the uphill. We met a herd of goats and found a water cistern but the water level was so low we decided to keep going.

As we came into Boğazcik we met two grumpy dogs who wanted to bark at us a lot and were coming quite close, we fended them off by pretending to pick up a rock to throw at them (sad but effective). Then we found a water tap and stopped to fill up all of our bottles while the dogs continued to bark on and off.

Once we were fully loaded with water we moved on and were glad to get rid of the dogs. We then followed a small dirt track out-of-town (past more greenhouse!) and saw two more dogs very similar to the first pair! Fortunately, they weren’t so bothered by us and we continued on until we found a nice flat piece of ground at the base of the Apollonia ruins. We were treated to a very red sunset before setting up camp, having dinner, and turning in for the night.

Day seventeen

Apollonia to Üçağiz, 14km

We woke up to a cool breeze and continued on the trail from the base of the ruins along the dusty and rocky road. After briefly joining a more major road (and meeting two more barking dogs that looked very similar to the first) the trail peeled off and started to descend back down to the coast.

Standard rocky path, great for weak ankles.

We passed a number of minor ruins sites before eventually hitting the edge of the Aperlei ruins. There were buildings large and small, and a tremendous amount of sarcophagi. We continued to walk through the ruins all the way down to the shore and some appeared to continue into the ocean!

There was a tiny hamlet at the shoreline including a pansiyon that the trail went right through the grounds of. The trail then travelled along dark red, flat dirt roads to the next beach upon which was a cafe. We continued along the trail climbing to a higher point where we adjourned for a spot of lunch.

The trail went on at a higher elevation offering occasional views of the next bay. After a while of following the nice easy trail (lovely for Mark’s ankle) we descended back down to the coast line and stumbled across some locals working to put in some water lines. The trail then followed the rugged coastline for a few more kilometres before reaching the town of Üçağiz.

This was a friendly place with a cute harbour and plenty of places to stay, eat and drink. We picked up a bit of fresh fruit for breakfast and Mark treated himself to an ice cream. About a kilometre out-of-town to the east we found a good camp spot and according to our map there was water only 200m further on. Mark started to set up camp while Lucie went for water.

Yep, another glorious sunset. This place is unreal.

Unfortunately, the tap was dry so Lucie took the long walk back into town to fill us up for the night and the next day. On reflection, we should have filled up on the way through but hindsight is a wonderful thing…

We ate dinner by moonlight and watched the stars, which promoted a conversation about constellations, zodiac signs and birthdays. This led Mark to ask Lucie, “when we you born?” Before realising his massive mistake and laughing uncontrollably.