Kas a lovely place to rest

Trip Start Apr 25, 2007
Trip End Jun 20, 2007

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Kas (in Turkish: eyebrow due to the shape of the cove) was a perfect antidote to our experience in Antalya and only 4 hours by dolmus (mini-bus to us Asians but much more comfortable and way cleaner and better maintained). It is a beautiful little town that began its life as Habesos and later became known as Antiphellos during the Lycian times.  It then became a fishing village and has managed to retain its small town charm in spite of some upscale development taking place on both its hillsides where holiday villas are being built.  Historically, Kas has some beautiful carved tombs, sarcophagi and an amphitheathre that you are still prominent today.

The highlight of the Turkish experience in Kas is the unusual setting of the village and its mosque.  Due the mosque's location which allows for sound to reverberate and echo through the hills, the calls to prayer are delivered and heard for miles around.  It is haunting and beautiful (and wonderfully read, not off tone and flat!) esp. the evening azans with a setting sun and long twilights in the summer.  Experiencing this on the comfortable rooftop of our pansiyon made it all worth it as you're inclined on your Turkish-style sofa beds.

Surprisingly, Kas has a mix of both German and British tourists as we learned later on that the two cultures do not holiday in Turkey in the same towns.  More on that later in Fethiye.  What I liked about it was that we were there before the start of the season in May so it wasn't crowded at all yet. 

We arrived around 1pm and were met by Suleiman (Sulo for short) who took our luggage over to the pansiyon (Hilal Pansiyon as recommended in the LP 2006).  The pansiyon's located on the hillside with a great view of the village and also very close to the mosque!  From the pansiyon's rooftop lounge and dining area, we could also the many Lycian tombs remaining that are carved into the hillside cliffs.  There was also a sarcophagus on the street in front of the Pansiyon.  Bizarre, but once again, reminded me that I'm in a fantastic country with ancient lands and an ancient history!

Dropped our bags and went to have lunch...more pides (Turkish pizzas with minced lamb toppings etc) and mezzes washed down with cold Efes beer.  Fabulous as usual.  After lunch, some of us decided to go shopping while Paul and Sherrin decided to head for the water already.

There's a main square area in Kas near the waterfront and we walked up the slope of one of its main shopping streets.  This street has some really nice jewellery shops worth browsing in but the highlight for me was this particular shop that sells hamam towels:  Papilio-Kas, whose owner and designer of the towels: Ms Sumru Sekeroglu Gizer.  100% Turkish cotton and with a wide selection of colours and designs to choose from, they make a great gift for family and friends especially those who spend a lot of time on the beach.  Apparently it's a trend to use hamam towels that are specially designed for the beach as sarong wraps and I can see why.  The towels are pretty thin and super absorbent so that means they dry quickly under the hot and Mediterranean weather.  There are thicker piles and thinner piles too if you want to re-purpose some for home use.

Shopping done, Jo and I headed on over to find the others.  But not before I found a ceramic shop (Atelie Anatolia) that was quite nice to explore - some contemporary pieces, including a few that were wheel thrown with a grey glaze and fish motifs.  Couldn't stay long and I thought I would try and return later (but never did)

Found Sherrin and Paul already lounging on their deck chairs like lizards and looking totally relaxed and chilled out.  Talk about chill... we were briefed by Alex to get into the water from the ladder away from the little channel between the main lounge areas as the water temp was significantly colder if you started the other way around.  Jo went in first and Fiona who arrived after us also jumped in.  I did not want to.  Used to the cooler waters as I was after last year's dives in  springtime HK and Bali's mantas, it was still more than "refreshing" to say the least.  Water in May in the Mediterranean was about 21-22C or that's what it felt like!  Glad to have had the sun shining is all I can say after getting in there!  Water was quite salty so buoyancy was not a problem nor was sinking an option :)

Dinner was at a restaurant opposite the ceramic shop famed for Mama's own recipe of deep fried meat-wrapped "burritos" and fabulous home-made tomato soup.  We loved it.  Sat outdoors enjoying the serenity, the setting sun and twilight and had great food, wine and company - another great meal.

Back to the Pansiyon to chill and cut our birthday cake.  It was Alex's birthday that day and we were belatedly celebrating mine as well (which was the evening we arrived at Nemrut Dagi (silent g and soft i) and climbed up to see the ruins as the sun was literally setting!).  What a memorable day in a beautiful place.

Next morning, we got up relatively early to go kayaking over more ruins, to be specific (!), a sunken Lycian city.   We got picked up and it was a 45 minute ride over to Kekova.  Instead of a half day trip for our group, we found ourselves joining a much larger group which had ballooned to 27!   The logistics to sort out and organize this number of people took a full 2 hours before we ever got going....

It was my first time kayaking and I wasn't sure how I was going to fare with this much of a workout esp. when my back was super stiff from all the long 10 hour bus rides accumulated from the first week so I chickened out and had Erkut as my back up.  Erkut used to be in special ops for the Turkish army and has the shoulders of an American football player.  Needless to say, we spent more time co-ordinating our strokes than others, plus the fact that the man loved speed.   Good thing was that we could laugh about it after we finished but I swear right in the middle of having him get us around a Lycian sarcophagus that was sticking out of the water like a small little rock-island, we were ready to finally "communicate" about not-communicating or co-ordinating!

If we had to do this trip over again, I would, but insist that you would be in a small group esp. when you're paying 50 Turkish Lira.  The itin. was perfect once you get out on the waer.  The water is very much sheltered from the open sea and it's wonderful to be on the water in such beautiful weather.  The first place was a little bay that was perfect for swimming.  We had a 30 min. stop there when it should have been for at least 1 hour.  Then we rowed over literally a sunken city on our way to the 2nd stop.  Because there were some other boat traffic, the kayaks had to paddle single file along the waters.  Sherrin later on said it looked really pretty as we paddled around rocks and inlets with the various coloured kayaks bobbing about in the Mediterranean light.  The second stop was where we were supposed to have lunch but didn't.  Another 30 minute stop before we paddled back to the starting point which was where lunch was going to be served.  By this time, it was around 3pm-ish.  We were obviously starving.  Food was so-so, even by Turkish standards.

Alex managed to get us some re-fund after she cleared the situation with the event organizer who had not realized that this trip had been so mis-managed through his contractor.   So hopefully, the future trips would revert to what they once were - a pleasant  day trip kayaking over an old Lycian city, swimming and stopping at leisure with lunch served at your second stop.

Still, it was really fun and us girls had a good laugh with Jo about having to paddle Paul for most of the time since he decided to "paddle" doing what he does best: talking! 

Dinner was a seafood barbecue back at the Pansiyon's rooftop terrace, which had quickly become our favourite hang out actually.  Sulo grilled some really fresh fish and squid, yum!  We smoked the nargile before dinner, a mixed fruit flavour which wasn't too bad and heard the evening calls to prayer again before calling it a night.  For some reason, I did not record it and I totally regret that now....all the more incentive to return to this wonderful little place!
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