Finally got to take my son, Simon on a hiking trip with me. Joining my good hiking buddy Gary, and his son, Brandon to go the crossroads of Europe and Asia to hike the Lycian Way Trail in southern Turkeye (or as much of it as we could do in one week).
We discovered the best part about traveling in Turkey, is the food! And especially the desserts:
I don’t think I ever saw a strawberry, that didn’t look perfect. And the Baklava, Eclairs, cheese Danish’s? Man we ate some sugar on this trip!!!
Simon and I got there 4 days before the others so we did a little excursion over to Cappadocia to see the famous terrain and maybe see some balloons. Turned out the hiking there was some of the most beautiful I’ve done with the amazing formations of the geology there. Unfortunately the balloons did not fly that day due to weather concerns (although it looked fine to us)
Amazing, that we only saw 2 other hikers out there in 3 hours of enjoying all of these fabulous views!
But, on our drive over there from the airport at Kaysiri, we found out that there is still a ski area open in those high mountains we are seeing to the north. Since Simon is an avid wakeboarder, back in Thailand, but only could dream about snowboarding, he really wanted to try it. So, we drove our rental car up there and found out the prices were great for rentals and lift tickets at that time of year (spring skiing)
He loved it! And I still had some ski legs left as we both enjoyed some Turkish snow in April!
Flew back to Fethiye the next day to meet up with the other half of the team. Now Fethiye is a beautiful, touristy city, with a beautiful harbor that attracts many tourists and yachts.
We especially enjoyed the ice cream being sold along the boardwalk!
But it was time to start what we came for: Hiking the Lycean Way Trail.
The trail is aprox 500 kms long but we only had 7 or 8 days to hike, so we started at it’s western end and headed east on the trail.
Almost immediately we were seeing, and hiking on top of Roman ruins from 2,000+ years ago! Wow! Sometimes it was just mind boggling to see ancient aqueducts that were still carrying water. Someone mentioned that the Romans built aqueducts with a slope of 10 feet for every 3,200 feet of length. And they are STILL carrying water, across bridges over gullies. Amazing!
The hike was tough sometimes as it is a new trail and often new trails have to use goat paths, and steep ascents and descents without switchbacks as they are probably planned for the future, but so much needs to be done, including getting permission from landowners etc. But we like new trails and we don’t mind rugged hiking.
Water sources were so important and often times were cisterns as much of the rock was karst rock and we know from experience, that karst rock doesn’t do well with springs and small creeks so, we had to get the water wherever we could from the cisterns.
But hiking in Turkey in April can get cold. Too cold for me to be sleeping in tents every night like we had planned. So, we saw some other hikers that we had met on the trail, sitting in warm dining rooms, huddling around woodburning stoves as we hiked through some of the small towns along the way. It sure looked warm in there. So, after the 1st night, where we tented out, or “wild-camped” the Europeans like to say, we joined them a few times.
And the food in these places was much better than our freeze dried and dried pasta dishes that we normally cook on the trail.
Getting near Kas, our goal on this hike, we started to encounter more and more construction of new houses going on too close to the trail. It doesn’t look good for the future to call the Lycean Way a wilderness hike. But the trail started going through some beautiful pastures and flat ground that was slowly being turned into rural neighborhoods it seemed.
After 6 or 7 days, the town of Kas was in sight.
It turned out to be our favorite town in all of Turkey. Again: Great food, the boys enjoyed shopping for some new clothes, and we enjoyed eating at excellent restaurants. (always a plus when finishing a hike!)
After the R&R from the rigors of hiking, it was time to see more of the interior of Turkeye. We rented a car (all rental cars here are manual drive, which is fine with us as that’s what Gary and I prefer)
We headed eastbound, along the Mediterranean coast, towards the big city of Antalya.
And we discovered our favorite restaurant in all of Turkeye. Along the coast, it was simply called Grills as one of the boys called for a hamburger stop. But it was everything except hamburgers with 3 or 4 courses being brought out. I can’t tell you what everything was, but everything was very good. We loved this place and were catered too immensely.
Arriving in the large metropolis of Antalya, we got a room and flew out the next morning, back to Istanbul and another one of Gary’s Hilton Hotel perks. Thanks Gary. We love Hiltons!
A few days of sightseeing in the metropolis, both at the 16th century “Grand Bazaar” and the also famous “Spice Bazaar”
As well as one of the famous mosques and the underground royal cistern.
Time to eat again. This time we chose a fish stand down by the river with freshly caught fish.
But the next day, it was Gary and Brandon’s time to head back to the states and work. Simon and I still had another 2 days, so we headed over to the Asian side of Istanbul to see the difference.
It was definitely different over there on the east side of the Bosporus river. Much less touristy, cheaper prices for everything. But not many people spoke English and our Turkish was non-existent. We had
We had a lovely, big hotel room in the heart of the restaurant area for 1/5 the price of Gary’s Hilton Hotels. We quickly became friends with the staff, who invited us into their break room for some lunch. Turns out they were all from Kyrgyzstan, one of the former USSR territories that is now an independent country. The more I meet the people from the former USSR, the more I like them. Friendly, Giving, Hard Workers, and fascinated to meet Americans. Thank you so much!
One last thing, when we were flying home, I noticed the plane that pulled up to our gate was an Airbus A380, probably the biggest commercial jet in the world and it seats up to 800 passengers! BUT: there only seemed to be about 35 people at the gate! So, I went up to the Emirate’s worker and asked him what’s going on? He said: “It’s Ramadan, and Islam people don’t like to fly during this time, so the plane will be mostly empty. I told him they are going to lose a lot of money on this one, and he said that yeah, but we will have lots of room. Which we did! Thank you Emirates, Thank you Turkeye, and Thank you for watching.
We also made a youtube video of this trip, so you can see much more, without the explanations of course, as it’s all timed to Turkish music: https://youtu.be/Pc_zE0pXGJE