Walk along the Lycian Way to Butterfly Valley

Trip Start Apr 01, 2008
Trip End Jul 15, 2012

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Tent and tree house

Flag of Turkey  ,
Friday, May 23, 2008

Once Tom had fully recovered from his bout of illness we embarked on a stunning 3 day walk along the Lycian Way from Kabak to Butterfly Valley through sublime mountains and lushious forest. (The Times lists it as one of the top 10 walks in the world). This walk was one of the highlights of our trip. On day one we came across dozens of wild tortoises and a jolly, little, moustached Turk in a clearing, halfway up our first mountain who was on his way home having been for a swim at the bottom of the valley (a mere 3 hour round trip). He was dripping in sweat, had terrible teeth, spat continuously, and was sporting a shocking/uber trendy pair of rubber brogues, but despite this he was absolutely lovely! He had a very kind smile and took it upon himself to guide us up the mountain, singing and whistling intermittently.

When we arrived at the top we stopped for 3 (free) glasses of chai at a modest farmer's house amidst glorious green fields overlooking the coastline. Although it was very difficult for either party to understand the other, we managed to explain we had a tent. After the much needed break our little friend led us into Alinca over the other side of the mountain (a hamlet of about 10 basic dwellings several hundred metres above sea level), and over onto a small field with a tree and some horse dung, surrounded by a herd of mountain goats, a shepherdess, a snaking road leading off into the distance, a few naughty cattle and 2 giggling girls. He promptly cleared away the dung and told us to pitch our tent as it was his piece of land. He asked if we were hungry and suggested we eat with him, but being polite English folk in the early stages of our travels we declined his generous offer, explaining that we had provisions in our bag. We have since made a pact to accept such invitations.

As the sun was sinking behind the sea and the shepherdess rounded her herd into the safety of their pen, the cattle misbehaved and the little girls continued their giggling, I felt very lucky and quite emotional to have been shown into such beautiful, remote, natural surroundings. It was really fantastic. So was waking up. At dawn the goats and cattle were back out grazing, and the sheperdess was hurling stones at any animal straying too far from her watchful eye. She had a strong and lethal arm. Our friend reappeared with his wife and horse, exchanged some friendly banter, then settled down to some hay collecting. After breakfast we packed up our tent, filled our camelpaks with fresh water from the only tap in the village, said our farewells and set off for Kabak. The walk down the mountain was equally beautiful and shaded under a canopy of trees.

After a relaxing night (aside from the ferocious doberman) in a little sanctuary above the beach in Kabak we journeyed on towards Butterfly Valley in the baking sun, passing a few elderly ramblers on the way. We completed an extremely hairy hour-long climb down the mountain face from Faralya village to Butterfly Valley. It was so steep that there were ropes in parts where we had to lower ourselves down backwards. With faint recollections of an Australian straying from the red markers and falling to his death, I began to get serious vertigo and had the first of several slight panic attacks as we clawed our way to the bottom . Thankfully it was worth it! 21 years ago two Turkish men arrived at the cove by boat and decided to make it their home. It is now a little haven of peace and tranquility run by volunteers who tend to the vegetable gardens and general upkeep of the community. Accommodation is made up of tree houses, teepees & tents and the food is strictly vegetarian (v.delicious).

We would have liked to stay there for a while but had a pre-booked 4 day 'blue cruise' to endure - what a hard life! En route to the gulet (wooden yacht) we were given a guided tour of a ghost town called Kayakoy.  It was formerly a Greek community, but as part of a population exchange agreement between Turkey and Greece in 1923, the inhabitants had been sent back to Greece and Turks living in nearby Thrace had moved in.  However they failed to settle and moved on, leaving the village deserted as it has remained ever since.  It is a fascinating place, with literally thousands of abandoned Greek-style houses, schools, churches spread across the mountainside. 
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