We’ve made it to the very tippy top of the Lycian Way in Fethiye. Well, that’s where our bus deposited us after which we then had a 15 minute or so taxi ride back to our accommodation in Ölüdeniz. This popular resort town is positively teeming with Brits, where the “Strip” through the main town displays prices in pounds, shows all the English Premier League football matches and provides full monty English breakfasts, including bacon, at any time of the day.
We’ve swept our way 170 kilometres around the coast to the bohemian town of Kas (pronounced cash). We’re expecting big things from this town of roughly 10,000 (although the wider district is much larger at close to 50,000), with a lot of people saying it’s a much more laid back place than the other seaside resorts along the Turquoise Coast. With sparkling blue waters, loads of cool cafes and plenty of ancient Greek historical sites to check out, first impressions are that this is more our kind of place.
We’ve made it to the exquisite Turquoise Coast, situated in the southwest of Turkey and which also goes by the somewhat unoriginal moniker of the Turkish Riveria. The undisputed beauty of this stretch of water is such that the Roman General Mark Antony is believed to have given this area as his wedding gift to Cleopatra. Measuring more than 1,000 kilometres, the Turquoise Coast is one of Turkey’s most popular tourist spots. It’s easy to see why, with its consistently hot and dry weather, beautiful beaches, warm crystal clear water and fabulous montain scenery. Well, that and the fact that full English breakfasts are available at pretty much every restaurant as well as beer being served at any time of the day. Yep, we’ve made it to one of the favourite haunts of the Brit Flop and Drop crowd.
We’ve decided to stop off for a couple of days in the culturally significant city of Konya, Turkey’s 7th-largest with a population of 2 million. Inhabited since 3,000 BC, Konya is best known for being the final resting place of the Sufi mystic Rumi (Mevlana), whose tomb is now an important pilgrimmage site. With a reputation for being one of the more religiously conservative places in Turkey, it is as a result substantially more difficult to find a decent drink, which, after enduring the six hour bus ride from Goreme, was high up on our agenda of things to do when we arrive!
For most people the highlight of any trip to Goreme will be a ride in a hot air balloon that provides spectacular views of the moon-like landscape from above. However, as good as this might be, it doesn’t provide you with an opportunity to see up close and personal 4th century AD rock-hewn churches and multitudes of magnificient fairy chimneys, hoodoos, cave cells and rock formations. To do that, you need to scope out the many valleys that surround Cappadocia’s most famous town on foot.
Landing in the small town of Goreme in Cappadocia, it seems like we’ve been transported to another world. We opted for the easier route of flying into Nevesehir 35 minutes from Goreme via Istanbul which gave us an opportunity to see some of the natural rock formations that this part of Turkey is famous for, in particular its “fairy chimneys”, on the drive in. With a population of around 2,000, tourists seem to outnumber residents and the town is easily covered in 10 minutes walking from one end to the other which will take you past a plethora of restaurants, guesthouses, tourism offices, supermarkets selling mostly water, beer, chips and cigarettes and carpet shops.