Best Campsite EVER!!!

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Where I stayed
on a ridge overlooking the sea beside an ancient Lycian wall

Flag of Turkey  , Antalya Province,
Sunday, December 13, 2009

I was in a complete tizzy this morning.  Cooped up in a little room for too long is no good.  I want to be cycling!  Why won't the weather cooperate with me?  Half of me wants to go, but the other half has gotten lazy and can't bear the thought of hills and rain.  What to do?  I don't know.  Woke up at 4am and still couldn't figure things out. 

Finally, we kicked our butts into gear and got things ready to head out

The terrain wasn't as steep as the last few days have been, bit I seem to b e a lot weaker than before.  Combination of the sickness that drained us, and not keep up our stamina, I think.  Brian doesn't have the same issues as me and keeps complaining about my speed.  Funny how 2 people can be so different.  i find the physical part challenging, and he's finding the mental part challenging. 

Nearing the end of the day (which comes soo early now) we needed to look for a place to camp.  We haven't camped much in Turkey, but heard that wild camping is no issue.  There are actually nomadic tribes still moving about the valleys.  There doesn't seem to be owners of land - families own and tend to the trees (olives) but don't own the land they're on. 

Wild camping has always been a bit strange for us.  We've done it a few times out of necessity, but now we get to do it out of choice.  But how do you choose and find a spot?

We thought about along a beach, but I was worried that it would be too built up with resorts.  Brian liked the idea of going near some caves we saw on a map, but I was worried that the terrain would be too steep for the tent. 

Around 4pm with the sun already set behind a mountain I saw a little dirt road with a small sign indicating a beach 3km.  This one would surely not be popular.  No hotel signs visible.  Actually, nothing was visible.  Just a washed out gravel road heading up over the mountain. 

Too steep for me today and my tires kept slipping on the loose rocks, so I ended up walking most of the way.  Got some strange looks but friendly waves from the shepherd families along the slopes.  A few cars stopped to say merhaba.  I'm sure they were wishing the language barrier was not in existence to find out why 2 cyclists were making their way up this hill. 

Nearing the top of the pass, Brian began to question the sanity in plunging down towards the beach only to climb back out first thing in the morning. 

Off to the far left on top of rise lay the remains of a very large cyclopean wall.  Brian, being curious, decided to scout it out to see if there was any flat places to put the tent. While waiting, I ventured a bit further up the hill to see about the beach - nothing great.  When I came back, Brian was returning all excited about what he’d found. 

An old Lycian wall or aquaduct (a little research afterwards tells me it may be the Patara Waterway or Delik Kemer) with archaeological digs all around.  Walking through an opening in the wall led to a tranquil terraced olive grove sloping down to a rocky shore and unbelievable views.  What a perfect spot to camp!

Getting our gear up to the site proved a little more difficult than planned.  As part of the Lycian Way trekking path it was not an easy climb, especially when lugging all of our bike bags.  About 4 trips in all, but it was worth it. 

Sat in silence and watched the stars come out.  So bright I wanted to just sit and stare all evening.  They looked like they were coming towards the earth to envelop me.  Making a bit of cay to try and warm up the hands, I watched shooting stars light up the night. 

In the morning I was greeted with a beautiful sky full of pinks and purples.  Watching the sky lighten from our little perch, I made our first Turkish Kahve in my little pot.  What a great way to greet the day. 

Not long afterward our neighbors showed up.  A family of olive harvesters were starting work very early.  Each curious about the other we needed to be satisfied with simple waves and good mornings. 

What a place to spend a night, spend a life.  But on we continued.  A beautiful sunny day of cycling taught us exactly why they call this the ‘turquoise coast’.  Shining waters, rugged coast, secluded beaches where the waves have pounded sand out of the rocks. 

If only the weather holds we can enjoy a few more of these!
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