Now time for the south, my favorite part of Turkey. Since I was here with Milos 2 years ago, I fell in love with the coast. Sunny, green, mountainous, full of history. We started in famous Marmaris which I’ve always wanted to see. Our lovely driver besides buying us lunch took us to the beautiful beach away from the centre. I think it was difficult for him to say goodbye as after an hour he came back saying he was sorry he left us in a shithole. That’s how we got to the centre which is pretty impressive but really commercial. All right, if I wanted to have a nice relaxing maybe… 3 days of holiday I could stay here. Nice hotels, boat trips, coctails on the beach, parties – heaven. But after few days quite boring. Castle, nice port and a promenade- other than that there wasn’t much. If you want to enjoy the best part of Marmaris – which is nature – you need your own boat. As in this touristic hell we couldn’t find any free space to camp we caught a car who took us to some empty area on the side of the highway. Good for us if the driver wasn’t a professional racer and didn’t enjoy scaring his passengers driving 200 km/h on the curvs. Anyway we survived and after nearly sinking in the mud we found a safe place to sleep.
Hitchhiking is hard. Especially in the middle of nowhere with sweat dripping down your back. But we got there. Saklikent canyon, one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in Turkey, didn’t disappoint us. Even though there was a lot of tourists it was amazing to cool ourselves walking in the water surrounded by 100 metres high walls of pure sandstone. We couldn’t miss Patara either and although we didn’t have time to see the famous ruins at least we had a chance to stop and relax for few hours on Patara beach. I was expecting crowds and rubbish everywhere but the place was really beautiful with golden sand dunes surrounding the shore. Lovely family that brought us there and paid for the entrance fee offered to take us to the next town when we were ready to go. Laying on the soft sand and looking at the sky we realized we had to slow down. We would love to stay there longer but the schedule was calling us and at 5pm it was time to go.
“Hi there!”, a nice 45-years old lady waved to us stopping at the bus station. We were in Kas, another touristic place but a little bigger and more beautiful. Our host Mary looked like an old style hippie who moved from America to work as a nurse. I don’t think I would move from US to Turkey personally but that’s her choice. She offered us her flat on the top of the hill with a beautiful swimming pool and a small insane kitten. We spent few relaxing days visiting the town and enjoying the beach. We knew that after the southern coast we wouldn’t see the sea for a while. We didn’t have much time to talk with our host as she was caring of one irresponsible British who injured his back. It was enough though to notice that she has been through a lot but she was still in shape and didn’t loose her smile. She looked like an elderly version of Janis Joplin, that’s how I remembered her.
As I mentioned our “sneaking inside for free” technic, the day came when we had to use it. After we got to Demre and walked 1 hour in 45 degrees to Myra, we asked helpful waiter to show us the secret way to the ancient city. Jumping over endless torns we sneaked in, pretending we are one of these posh German tourists with thick wallets. Theater was interesting but the main attraction were ancient tombs which were really impressive. The smell not so much though.We had cay with our savior to thank him for the useful tip and hitchhiked to Antalya where our Iraqi host waited for us.
He actually had a very interesting story of life which I have to mention. He was born in Iraq and grew up in Syria with his family. Great start, ha? After he noticed the situation in Syria is getting worse he started to drift from one country to another including living for 8 months in a park in Georgia. He had nothing. But he had people who helped him and that’s how he moved to Turkey. He actually has a Polish girlfriend who was applying for a visa so in a meantime he was enjoying the time with couchsurfers. We shared couple of bears and couple of stories which hopefully inspired both of us. We had a little overview of Antalya while visiting the centre and looking for a job for Gathii. Callum also had a chance to test his climbing skills when we had to get to the flat through the balcony when our host forgot his keys. But after all our effort was rewarded by swimming in our (again!) private swimming pool. Life is beautiful.