Cyprus

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Here We Come….

Day 10-12

23-25th April 2018

The first three days of this blog were spent resting and looking around Alanya. We have actually been here before, and explored the place thoroughly, so if you want to read about our experiences here, click here, here and here….

Day 13

26th April 2018

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Anyway, that morning we cleared Turkish border authorities and, after fuelling up, we set upon our course for a bay six hours down the cost from Alanya were we could rest for the night, and set off for Cyprus early the following morning.
This is the part where I’d usually write the long trip down, however, I fell asleep…so I’ll just talk about the nearby site of Anamurium…

The walled castle stands proudly over the coastline, and is that of a typical medieval castle, complete with a moat, towers and crenellated walls. The site was first fortified by the romans in the 3rd century AD, and over time came under many different and diverse cultures, including Armenians, Seljuks, and ultimately the Ottomans. They kept it in good condition through into the 20th century, since not too far away was the British occupied Cyprus.
Also not too far away is the remains of the ancient ruins. The buildings are believed to date back as far as the Roman period, with some later Byzantine additions. The site though, is believed to have been founded by the Phoenicians in the 12th century BC.

When I did wake up from my long slumber, we had arrived at the bay. It was quite unprotected, but thankfully, the weather was good.

Day 14

27th April 2018

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We set off that morning quite early, and for the first four hours of the ten hour trip, there was no wind. Eventually, the wind came, and for a change it was in our favour and we had a brilliant close hauled sail going almost all the way to our port of entry into Cyprus, Latchi.

Day 15

28th April 2018

Since there’s really not an awful lot to do in Latchi, we spent the day at the beach.
There’s really not much to write about, and there’s not much to see, so I’m going to bring your attention to something a little bit more interesting…

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On the past few legs of our trip, Geoff and I have been trying to gain information regarding some of the harbours and bays on the Turkish coast. Although there is information galore on the bays between Bodrum and Kas, there’s a little amount of information for the area of the Turkish coast east from Antalya. This is down to the fact the sailing ground here is rubbish, and is very much unexplored.

This gave me an idea. I decided that I’d say what each of the the 12 places we’ve visited so far are like, in regards to the berthing style, depths, conditions and what the place is like overall. You guys will be able to read about the technical side of this trip iminently…..blog and info to follow

Day 16

29th April 2018

We set sail from Latchi at nine o’clock that morning. There wasn’t much there really, so it was a relief to get out of the place.

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The day before, we had invited someone we met at a restaurant to join us. Oli had been in Cyprus for 18 months, and was happy to show us around the place, we actually accosted our very own tour guide.

My guide book says that once, the coastline between Latchi and the Bath of Aphrodites, used to be the most pristine and beautiful in Cyprus. However, since the mid 1990’s, that’s history. Lots of it has been developed in to hotels and complexes, what’s left is either preserved or irrelevant.

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Soon after leaving the Harbour, we anchored off a bay called the blue lagoon, a recommendation of Oliver – as he used to work on the trip boats out here.

This beautiful place has crystal clean waters that are perfectly clear. Sadly, the bay is now congested with loud tour boats.
We paddleboarded in the brilliant bay, once the home of Monk seals, Turtles and a favored bathing place of Aphrodite.

A short while later after a Turkish breakfast (!) we set sail again and followed the coast around to Paphos.

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On route, Oli pointed out to us the several shipwrecks all dotted along the coast, apparently this coastline is reknown for them.  Many of the submerged wrecks had become diving centres, whilst others that stayed above the surface have become hot spots for photographers, who go for that rustic kind of photography. It isn’t, however, encouraging for the sailor………………..

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Eventually, we moored in Paphos.  The town is meant to be very interesting, but we’ll see about that in the next blog.

Day 17

30th April 2018

That morning we went off on the bus into the old town of Paphos. What we’ve seen of Paphos is very touristy, and is mainly popular with English and Russians.

As the bus slowly lumbered up the hill towards the old town, traces of ancient, Ottoman, British and post invasion architecture could be recognized, all located within large complexes, bustling streets and crowded bazaars.

 

Once in the old town, most of the shops sold the usual tack which could be found at almost any other shop in any other city.

We then went on to the Tombs of the King, making the most of our five euro daily bus ticket.

This UNESCO World Heritage site is located close to the new shopping mall.

Rock outcrops near the shore- called ‘Paleokástra ‘(‘Old Citadels’) for there similarities to castles- conceal dozens of tombs hacked out of the soft strata, since this was a permissible distance outside the city walls of Kate Pafos.
Despite the name bearing the word ‘King’, no king was actually buried there, the rich higher class being those buried.

Some of the tombs are rather plain and small, but the more elagant ones, such as Tomb 3 or 4 are much neater and nicer, since they include a small courtyard with Doric pillars.

Despite being a World Heritage site, it is rather boring.
However boring it is though, it is very eerie, the drumming of the distant sea and chirps of nesting birds the only sounds.

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So far Cyprus is failing to impress, I definitely think we have been somewhat spoiled by living in Turkey for so long, Turkey with its genuine beauty and it’s beautiful people…. Good grief, I’m getting homesick!

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.Photo Album….

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Sundays Great Adventure.

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A long Day….

22nd April 2018

Day 9

We set off that morning just after sunrise, and after the sunrise tour boats and gulets had left.

We had woken up this morning to the anthem of Titanic which tour boat operatives insist on playing to their excited Asian – photo obsessed – passengers which in many respects added to the romantic ambience and feel of this mornings planned journey. The dawn start tied in with a spectacular sunrise and we shipped out.

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Following a small trip boat out and around into the main bay we were struck with awe as we sailed close by to Duden waterfalls – another Antalya landmark – that were constantly thundering into the sea, so we decided to pause the trip a little there whilst we admired the beautiful setting.

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Even though Johns friend David was now sailing with him, I decided to sail with them for one more time., so stayed aboard the Catamaran again for this trip. Whilst motoring out of the harbour, we dragged our main sail up and unfurled the head sail. Even though the wind was still quite calm, we anticipated it to pick up slightly around the headland.

Back on course, the wind had picked up, and eventually, it was enough to sail. Though this lasted for less the half an hour, we eventually put the engines back on.
Soon after that, the wind was completely dead, and we furled up the headsail once again.

After a while, the sea state became slightly choppy, and we recived a radio message from Steady on Jean, who said-
“Coral Reef, Coral Reef, Steady on Jean, Over”
“Yeah, go ahead Geoff…” replied John…
“Hello John, keep and eye out for dolphins because we currently have two playing on the bow of the boat at the moment, over”
“Okay, will do, Coral reef out”
So David and I stood on watch at the front of the boat, waiting for the elusive dolphins to start playing on the bow of our boat……..fingers crossed……

After 5 minutes, they hadn’t shown, so I span around to walk back to the cockpit when a black triangle poked out of the water…
“There’s one” I shouted over to David. Out of nowhere, two came along, three, four, five and eventually six turned up, all jumping, breaching and playing on the bow wave.

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These dolphins were unlike any I’d ever seen before, and their sheer size shocked me. We quickly identified then as Bottlenose dolphins, and it was incredible to see them crisscrossing, and elegantly performing on the bow.

Soon however, they had all gone, and we continued on towards the destination of

Plan A,

Side.

The wind had now picked up again, and we unfurled the headsail once again. From the sea, it was quite difficult to identify the harbour, though after much examination, we saw the small breakwater to the left of the Temple of Apollo. Eventually, after weaving through isolated danger marks, fishing pots, and cardinal bouys, we entered the harbour while Geoff and Steady on Jean held back. We were all aware that the approach and entrance to this harbour were extremely shallow, so we, with a much shallower draught than the monohull, had been sent ahead on a scouting mission.

Inside the harbour, there was no sign of the a harbourmaster, and the depth was too shallow along the harbour wall for Geoff to moor although he had picked his way precariously through the entrance!

David managed to hook what seemed to be a lazyline, though we had a struggle to turn the boat around because of the wind.

And Geoff headed back into the bay and explored the anchoring situation on the west of the harbour….the depth here also was a huge concern!

So plan B was in put into actions.

We motored ahead of Geoff, and whilst john made lunch, David and I set about putting the sails back up. I took the helm while David set the sails. Minutes later we were sailing along fast whilst Geoff and his clearly incompetent crew were a mere pinprick in the distance…….I think David and I should apply to be the new crew for the British Americas cup team!

Plan B

Consisted of getting to the nearby river mouth entrance of the Manavgat river, where we had read and been informed that we may be able to moor on a pontoon or against a wall. The jury was out on wether this place would be a) entirely suitable for our boats and b) wether we would be able to get in…. again depths were apparently an issue.

Before we arrived there though, we had a rip roaring sail in some 30 knots, of wind where we were averaging 7-8 knots in the Catamaran . This was perfect cat sailing weather, and when Geoff and Steady on Jean eventually caught up with us, we were duelling for first place, though the monohull wussed out of it to put reefs in their sail.

Around 2 miles from the entrance, we dropped the sails and motored In to the river mouth. The Cat again was sent ahead again on a scouting mission.
We recognised strong river currents and eventually, we settled upon mooring side to into the current and against the river entrance wall.

Mooring here was a relatively difficult, since you had to take into account the river current, sea surge and the wind. Berthing in a place like this is usually something rare in the Mediterranean, but Geoff and John have had tidal and coastal experience all over the world, so enjoyed this rare technical challenge.

Safely moored, our attention turned to the wall, since there were one or two problems with it.
It was too high, you had to mountaineer your way to the shore..
Iron spikes stuck out from it, these had to be hammered flat to prevent damage,
There was a huge swell from pirate trip gullets each time they passed,
And swell from the surf on the beach had begun to pick up……

The surging and snatching of the boats was obviously putting all the warps and in fact the situation under considerable strain, the ropes of the fenders were being strained to the max …so much infact, that our biggest fender “Bertha” snapped from the shrouds with a huge bang! She was quickly rescued from a terrible fate with the boathook which itself was no mean feat with the rising and falling and surging of the swell and the boat, and we all looked at the Skipper…….

The decision rested on Geoffrey…should we stay or should we go?

“Lets go!” He said, and soon, with some very nifty planning and manoeuvring we were safely back out of the entrance to the river and now surfing huge, great waves to get back out to the ocean.

The afternoon swell had increased considerably and we were now in a big and uncomfortable sea. Plus…. it was soon going to be dark.

Plan C was initiated…

The rest of that sailing journey was a night sail, the first I had done in around 2 years. Though, it was all good practise for the trips down to Israel from Cyprus, it was a little unexpected. From Manavgat we would now go to Alanya Marina, some 30 nautical miles away.

We didn’t arrive there until ten o’clock that night and locating the entrance to the marina in pitch darkness was another scouting mission for us and the cat………..

Safely moored alongside, we all heaved a sigh of relief….it had been a looong day!

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Beautiful Antalya

Minarets and Waterfalls

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20th April 2018

Day 7

The phrase you read at the end of the last blog, is from a book I have. It’s a Collins independent travellers guide all about Turkey. The book was published in 1988, and is written by a bloke called Daniel Farson. In it, he provides the “essential practical information required by the independent traveller and contains many illuminating personal reflections on the country and its people,inspiring the reader to explore this still largely undiscovered land”.

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It’s an interesting insight and a somewhat humorous comparison to observe the differences in the forty years since the book being published and the present day which show how this country’s look, and the overall holiday scene, visitors and tourist industry has changed dramatically.

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This can be seen upon arriving at Antalya. Farson says Antalya is more, “Miami then Med”, and from afar, sailing towards the town, one cannot help but agree with the author.

The tall, stunning cliffs have been mounted by towering apartment blocks, and office buildings, shopping malls and industry but the long and unspoilt coast and beaches are impressive and inviting, nestled at the foot of the sheer, domineering cliff faces.

Kaleci Harbour isn’t really geared up for accepting private yachts. There was an operation at the harbour mouth which seemed to be involving divers, police, gendarme, paramedics and Soldiers and we milled around at the entrance for a while after contacting the harbour operations, awaiting guidance on entering.

Geoff had been trying to contact the harbour operatives by various advertised telephone numbers prior to arrival here, none were responsive – so once closer to the harbour itself – he reached them by VHF.

It seems that the responsibility for Kaleci harbour has recently changed and now it is being run as a private co operative….Yet to really be aware of how to operate and accept private yachts, Geoff gave them a beginners “how to” guide and we tied up and checked in.

Upon mooring in the Kaleci, also known as Antalya’s old towns, the palm lined promenades and an impressive 5 kilometres castle wall, which date back to the Roman periods, make Antalya different to any other place we’ve been to in Turkey. In fact, it reminded us of Kos and Rhodes, with the castle walls, history, and tour boat packed harbours.

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An hour after parking in the old town harbour, we went off a walk into the well preserved old town, on a quest to find the Fluted minaret.

This thirteenth century minaret was built during the time of Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad. This eight thousand year old minaret has now become a symbol of Antalya. The 38 metre tall minaret is conjoined to a mosque still in use, and the ancient turquoise blue tiles and Arabic inscriptions can still be seen. In many respects, this mosque is something I would expect to see somewhere like Konya.

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We then continued walking into the city centre, where a tall statue of Ataturk celebrates the Turkish Republican movement after World War One when the Ottoman Empire was dissolved by the victorious allies.

The City is very busy and multi cultural with travellers and tourists from all around the world. There is a vibrant city buzz which we haven’t experienced in the Turkish towns we have visited recently.

 

There is an energy in Antalya all of its own and the new town is alive with tourism in all its forms.

 

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21st April 2018

Day 8

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The Antalya Archeological museum is a half an hour from the the Kaleci and harbour. It houses a unique collection of Neolithic, Bronze Age, Hellenistic and Roman pots, coins, jewellery, scarghoigy, statues, all from the important and known sites such as Perge, Aspendos, Termessos, Patara and Xanthos.

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The museum was created at the end of the First World War, when Antalya was under Italian occupation, Italian archeologists started removing archeological treasures that had been found in the city center and surrounding the Italian Embassy, which they claimed to do in the name of civilization. To prevent these initiatives, Suleyman Fikri Bey, applied to the Antalya post of provincial governor in 1919, had himself appointed as voluntary curator of antiquities, and established the Antalya Museum to try and collect what remained in the center. The museum was first set up in the Aleaddin mosque, and changed location again until it was established in its present location.

The Antalya archeological museum is surprisingly one of the most important in Turkey, probably due to the fact many the museum consists of 13 exhibit halls, the first few with halls consisting of pins, bone, stone tools and decorations which were used in Mezzolithic and Palaeolitic age are exhibited. Most of these are from the Karain Cave.
Other parts of the section host numerous remains of the Chalcolithic, Neolithic and Early Bronze Ages. One exhibt shows the top of the skull of a Homo Neanderthal human…

Other halls show the plethora of incredible statues of Gods, Goddesses and Emperors. Most of these statues date to the 2nd century BC and are impressive in their own right.

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One of the most famous statues in the museum is the ‘dancing lady’, which is well known because it was made using two different types of marble. The statue, which originally came from the nearby Perge, is now a reknown symbol of the museum, along with the ‘three graces’, a statue of three nude women standing beside each other.

Through the halls of scarcophaghi and pillars, you reach the amazing statue of Heracles, which is noted as one of the best statues in the world because it is so well preserved.

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After leaving the museum, we had lunch with awesome views from along the cliff tops before heading back to the boat.

Later that afternoon, we went back into town and walked through the old town to discover Hadrians Gate.

Can I just say, thanks so much for reading and following along guys, I know these are coming through slowly but the internet has been evasive so far on this trip, so I know it seems that we are playing catch up…….Stay with me…more great stories to follow!

And So It Begins……..

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..On The 2nd Anniversary of my first blog, ever….

14th April 2018

Day 1

We’ve once again been marina bound this winter, with a timetable for school each day, morning exercise consisting of long, arduous cycles, and Evenings spent watching rubbish American movies, a short trip to Britain, wilderness camping, and many hikes. Finally though, our winter has come to an end, and our sailing season has now began. This years first sailing trip…Cyprus and Israel.

We’ve had previous thoughts of sailing eastwards along the Turkish coast and down to Cyprus, however, we’ve never done it. So since our good friend John told us that he wanted to go and explore the Antalya-Side-Alanya area, we thought we’d join him and go to that area too with the possibility to go on to Cyprus. In February this year we decided we would do the trip, and go on to Cyprus, and then continue on to Israel. We also said that I’d sail with John until Antalya, since his friend would meet us there.

We started counting down the days for our departure. These past two weeks have been hectic with the boat getting its bottom cleaned, sorting out transit logs, fixing anything and everything, and finally shopping for supplies….gin and tonics all we need!

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Since I am the flotilla navigator, I have devised a plan that will keep us away from Fethiye for three months. With certain dates having to be fixed, I’ve said that we’ll be in Antalya(Turkey) on the 20th , the 28th in Bozyazi-(where we exit Turkey for Cyprus)-Limassol(Cyprus) on the 4th of May, Israel for two weeks, back to Cyprus for a week, Turkey and then Fethiye on the 9th of June. This however is only part of this years plan, since we are also going to be sailing around the Greek islands and mainland later in the year, as well as “road-tripping” in Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia, but that’s for a future blog…

Our trip to Israel however does depend on the current situation in that area regarding today’s events, so we will be keeping a close eye on that…

Today was our first leg of the trip though, when we left Fethiye on a short trip to Gemiler island. We left our berth, fuelled up and said our goodbyes to our friends we would dearly miss, and to Fethiye…the sailing,food, marina and the wonderful people we have met here. It will be really strange not being in Turkey for most of the year, and Fethiye has now started to feel like our home. It will also be a shock not saying “Merhaba” to everyone!

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Today’s trip was relatively boring, since the wind was nonexistent, and it was quite a short trip. However, we always like coming to Gemiler, since it’s a beautiful anchorage with wonderfully clean and clear waters. However, the temperature isn’t exactly bathtub water…only 19 degree Centigrade, so I only swam for ten minutes…

15th April 2018

Day 2

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Sunlight broke around the mysterious island, quickly heating the hazy air. Our trip today would take us to the next possible stop, the sleepy town Of Kalkan.
Setting off from Gemiler at nine o’clock that morning, the five hour trip would probably be, and as it turned out to be, boring, since the wind once again was nonexistent. We motor-sailed the whole trip, eventually passing the finest beach in Turkey, Patara beach.

Like a desert by the sea, there are miles of sand and hardly another person in sight. This beach is at the mouth of the river Xanthos, and has ruins all around. Pydnai castle at the northern end of the beach, the ruins of the old port of Patara at the southern end, and Xanthos and Letoon close by. Most of the Lycian sites in this area were discovered by the British explorer and archeologist Sir Charles Fellows. Before he came though, captain Beaufort-(the man who created the Beaufort scale, a wind scale used by sailors)-charted the area on land and sea.

Upon arriving in Kalkan, we were awestruck by the sheer heat in the protected harbour. When you come to Kalkan, you can feel the the village like atmosphere, and the echo of the old Greek community, which was removed by the 1923 population exchange.

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Today, the Harbour is like a bustling shipyard, with tour boats and gullets on the harbour wall all being fixed up, ready for the season. From the Harbour, you can see the modern complexes and lavish buildings which cover the main area of the town. The remnants of the old Kalkan, however, which managed to survive the 1953 earthquake are still visible on the waters edge. Many of these buildings have become restaurants and shops for the foreign holidays makers.

The next port of call is Andraki, close to the town of Demre., but we have to pick up our friend Elaine first, tomorrow from Kas.

Andraki will be the furthest east we’ve been by boat so far.

16th April 2018

Day 3

We left Kalkan at 9 o’clock this morning. Todays trip took us to Andraki, a small fishing port on the east side of Kekova roads.
As we left Kalkan harbour though, I drove John’s catamaran out and the lazy line got caught on the propeller and fouled the engine. Thankfully however, the rope was wrapped around the prop loosely, so when John dived down he managed to unsnag it, and it easily came off. The reason we wanted lazy lines in the first place was because the previous time we’d been in Kalkan the anchor got snagged on the concretes block which held the lazy line. Thankfully, we eventually managed to get that free that time, too.

Before we’d go straight to Andraki, we had to collect our friend Elaine from Kas.

Two hours later, Outside the harbour wall, bothboats waited whilst I went in onboard Johns rib. Knowing the engine on the dinghy was difficult to start, I was hoping we could leave the engine running. However, Elaine was waiting at a slipway, so the engine had to be turned off. This lead to some difficulty a) re starting the engine and b) because a tour boat was being re launched from its winter mooring at the same time, and I was stalled right behind it……Eventually though, after rowing out away from the launch site, I got the engine started.

Setting off once again, John and I hoped the wind would be in our favour. Surprisingly, it was, so after navigating through a series of islands, we began sailing, as did Geoff, mum and Elaine. The problem John and I have on the catamaran compared to the monohull which the others were on, is that they can go much higher on to the wind.
Bearing this in mind, John and I kept on a steady course heading towards the North African coastline, a few hundred miles away!
We joked with Geoff that we’d see him later in the year since we were off to Egypt!

After managing to sail upwind, the wind eased and eventually became nonexistent. We started the engine and continued the trip.
Eventually, after motoring into the apparent wind, we came upon our port of call, Andraki. Reading from the pilot book, it talked about the harbour being busy with tour boats and gullets, however, since the summer season hasn’t really started, we were hopeing there’d be some room.

When were less then 15 minutes away from Andraki, Geoff called us up on the VHF radio to ask if we could raft alongside him. We said “yes” so when we entered the harbour area we were anticipating coming in close to the harbour wall, we thought it would be easy for us even though the depth was proving difficult for the other boat, i.e.: it was sitting on sand on its rudder!!! Surprisingly, it was too shallow, even for the catamarans 1 metre draught. This led us to raft alongside Geoff who by this time had four shore lines tied together(!) with no lines ashore on the cat and just anchor.

After half an hour, we setteled down, thankfully not touching the bottom.
Andraki certainly seems untouched, very different to the next few places we’ll be going to, such as FINIKE and Kemer…

Andraki was used as the ancient port for the nearby ruins of Myra, and dates to around the 5th century BC. This small port was used to export incense to Eygpt and Constantinople, and grew rich because of it.

17th April 2018

Day 4
The next morning, after a hot night, we readied ourselves for the trip to the nearby town of Finike. When there, we’d visit the nearby site of Myra and the church of St Nicholas-(Also known as Father Christmas)
A short motor sail later, we arrived in Finike. I do hope that one day we’ll be able to sail…

Finike is a market town located at the foot of the Gulmez Daglari, a long spur of the Taurus mountains, and on the banks of the Karusu ( Black water) river. In ancient times, Finike was called Pheonicus.

The original harbour, once noted for its export of the timber that was used in the building of the Ottoman navy, is now buried underneath the modern Setur Marina that has been built. During the Byzantine times, Finike was know for its surplus of Lebanese cedar trees, which once dominated many wooded hills and forests in the area. The wood, which was used for shipbuilding, has now ceased to exist in these areas.

Finike has since prospered through the export of citrus fruits and vegetables. The towns logo is actually an orange.

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Myra is located inland of the small village of Demre, and has many tourists, mainly coming from Russia and other Orthodox European countries. This is because these orthodox countries consider Saint Nicholas, who was the bishop of Myra, the national Saint. Incidentally, St. Nicholas is also the patron saint of Aberdeen, Galway, Greece, The Hellenic Navy, Liverpool, Bari, Siggiwi, Moscow, Amsterdam, Lorraine, and the he Duchy of Lorraine.

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We then visited the church of st Nicholas, he was well known for his philanthropy and benevolence, he became a legendary figure on account of the help he offered orphans and the destitute. He won the love of children when he gave them surprise gifts.

His fame spread over time, and we now know him as Father Christmas. St Nicholas today is the patron Saint of Children, as well as sailors and pawnbrokers-(an odd duo, though maybe not, bearing in mind how expensive sailing is these day)

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The first church, built here in the 4th century, was destroyed by an earthquake shortly after his death, but, as Myra was now an important Christian centre, work immediately began to rebuild it. After many raids in the 7th and 8th centuries, an Italian merchant came in the 11th century, broke st Nicholas’ tomb open, and stole his bones, taking them back to Bari in Italy.

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Even today, both places say they have the bones of St Nicholas.

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18th April 2018

Day 5

We left Finike that morning excited for the next part of the trip. The journey there was relatively boring, and despite being so long, we couldn’t sail.

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We arrived at the next stop,Cinevis rather late in the day. Since the water in Fethiye is quite dirty, and John hadn’t been able to clean the bottom of his boat, we decided to try and beach his catamaran in shallow water. After some unsuccessful attempts, we finally managed to get it into an area shallower than one metre, the draft of Johns catamaran.

For half an hour, he scrubbed away at his anti fouled hull getting rid of the seaweed and barnacles. After a while, he finished, but he still had to dive down under the boat and clean the cats keels. He said he could do these at a later date.

The bay is very beautiful, with tall cliffs on either side and because the tourist season hasn’t yet begun, it’s very peaceful and calm.

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That evening as the sun began too set behind the cliffs, we dined on barbecue chicken, and the dogs licked their lips in anticipation.

19th April 2018

Day 6

After a great nights sleep, we left Cinevis at nine o’clock. The bay reminds us to that of a bay in between fethiye and Marmaris called Asi Beach, though for me, it reminds me of Gemiler Island.

Since the day before we had used nearly all of the boats anchor, we were pulling the anchor up for what felt like an eternity!
Eventually though, we were on our way once again…

Today’s trip was rather short, but as per usual, the wind was non existent.

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Today’s trip took us past Cirali beach, a favourite for us.

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Close to the beach and sea is the ancient site of Olympus. The extraordinary setting is hidden behind overgrown bushes and rows of trees. However, the ancient site is not one to miss, with beautiful ruins and great places to camp.

Further along with the coast is Phaselis, and like Olympus, it is in a beautiful location on the waters edge. The harbour, which is shaded by towering pine trees made it a favourable place for smugglers and pirates and was made Alexander the Greats port for the winter as he favoured the place so much. All this history is dominated by the very pointy Mount Olympus, which has one of the longest cable cart systems in Europe.

Kemer is built upon the Russian tourist market. The town suffers from ‘concrete syndrome’ say one of my guide books….and I must say, I do agree. Much of the place is very built up, and even when we went into the main shopping area, they were still doing work. My book goes onto state-
“The club Mediteranee at Kemer is a model for tactful development with low lying developments set among gardens and trees with breathtaking views of the Taurus mountains behind and a translucent sea and sandy beach in front. Unfortunately, the exemplary French partice has not been followed by the new holiday complexes, largely subsidised by West German finance which could explain the prison camp atmosphere.”

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20th April 2018

Day 7

The phrase you read at the end of the last blog, is from a book I have.

It’s The Collins independent travellers guide to Turkey. The book was published in 1988, and is written by a bloke called Daniel Farson. In it, he provides the “essential practical information required by the independent traveller and it contains many illuminating personal reflections on the country and its people, inspiring the reader to explore this still largely undiscovered land”.

The forty years since the book was published and the present day show how this country’s look, and the overall holiday scene has changed dramatically.

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This can be seen upon arriving at Antalya.

Farson says Antalya is more, “Miami then Med”, and from afar, I agree with the author. The cliffs have been mounted by towering apartment blocks, and office buildings, but the long and unspoilt view is still magnificent.

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Upon mooring in the Kaleci, also known as Antalya’s old towns, the palm lined promenades and an impressive 5 kilometres castle wall, which date back to the Roman periods, make Antalya different to any other place we’ve been to in Turkey. In fact, it reminded us of Kos and Rhodes, with the castle walls, history, and tour boat packed harbours.

An hour after parking in the old town harbour, we went off a walk into the well preserved old town, on a quest to find the Fluted minaret.

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This thirteenth century minaret was built during the time of Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad. This this eight thousand year old minaret has now become a symbol of Antalya. The 38 metre tall minaret is conjoined to a mosque still in use, and the ancient turquoise blue tiles and Arabic inscriptions can still be seen. In many respects, this mosque is something I would expect to see in Konya.

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We then continued walking into the city centre, where a tall statue of Ataturk celebrates the Turkish Republican movement after World War One, when the Ottoman Empire was dissolved by the victorious allies.

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The Fethiye Discovery Trail…

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…A Look At Fethiye’s Past…

Over the last few weeks, my family and I have been going on trips to incredible historic sites such as Kaunos, Xanthos and Sidyma, but I have yet to write about Fethiyes history and ancient sites, so I decided that you could actually see all of these fascinating sites on a walk around the town.

Fethiye has a lot of history, dating back much further before Christ.  Its been influenced by everyone, from the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Lycians, Ottomans, Italians and its had a name change everytime. Starting off as Telmessos, when it appeared in the 5th century BC, and then becoming Makri, in 1284 under the conquest of the principality of Menteseogullari, and finally being named Fethiye in 1934, in honour of Feti Bey, who was the Ottoman Air Forces first ever combat pilot.

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The start point of the walk is next to the 2nd Century BC Amphitheatre.  This site is a frequently visited attraction in Fethiye, even though is currently undergoing a complete restoration.  The site was once a massive theatre that was capable of accommodating up to 6,000 people, and many of the ancient structures of Roman columns and marble statues are now in the Fethiye Museum-(More about that later on).

Facing towards the tourist information office, there is a sarcophagus next to a set of steps.  Photo opportunity of the ancient tomb, then look up to the top of the cliff above…a pink, Greek/Italian styled building, confirms that the old town had many influences, from the Greek who came over from the Greek islands that were part of the Ottoman Empire.  Buildings style could be compared to those that are located in the Greek islands of Halki, Symi and Kastorlerizo.

Go up the steps until you meet the street running above the amphitheatre,

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it’s quite a climb, but keep heading upwards, through the houses, until you meet the last flight of steps leading up to the viewing areas….You can take a break here.

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Once at the top, you follow the road, keeping the incredible view of Fethiye to your LEFT.

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Continue along this road until you get to the junction for Kayakoy.  I do recommend that if you need a drink from the climb and the walk along the road, then there’s a lovely mangal restaurant, which is very reasonable and has some beautiful views, a perfect place for catching your breathe.

Turn left, going down the hill on the road called Kaya Caddesi, so you’ve got the castle to your left.  If you have time, you can have a walk around the ruined castle grounds.

This castle has a prominent and strategic location with a full 360 degree view of Fethiye and the surrounding terrain.  Some parts of the castle are believed to have been built by the Venetians or Crusaders, other parts in much earlier times. However, it really came into its own when crusaders, known as The Knights of St. John (also known as the Knights Hospitaller), created strong and formidable towers and ramparts.  The Knights of Saint John also built the massive castle in Bodrum.

Continuing downwards, turn right onto 129 Sokak, the street next to the Lycian Start Point Sign.  Follow this road onto 135 Sokak.  Continue to the top, almost opposite the Kings Garden Resturant, and you’ll see the great rock cut tombs of Fethiye.

Known as the Amyntas Rock Tombs, these prominent tombs overlook Fethiye and its large lake like bay.

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The story behind these rock cut tombs, is that the Lycians believed  their dead were carried to the afterlife by Angels,  and it was made mandatory for their honoured and cherished Lycian heroes to be put dead in high places such as cliffaces and hillsides. These rock cut temples date back to the 4th century BC, and on particular ones, the front are adorned with tall Romanesque columns, duller from centuries of weathering, yet still worth the visit.  If you look on the inside of the largest tomb, and the furthest left hand side pillar-(as if your facing it, with your back to Fethiye)-, there are even some ancient engravings!

Leaving the site, which only costs a small 5 lira per person, -(Unless you have a museum card)-turn right and head along 117 Sokak, onto Kaya Caddesi.  If you look to you left, you will see the three ancient scargophigi.  One is located in the middle of the road, whilst two others are in a small fenced in green area.  Stay on this road until you reach Atatürk Caddesi, where you turn left.  Follow the road, until you get to Tas Firin, and turn right down 505 Sokak, which is between two schools.  This takes you to the Fethiye Museum.

Here, you get to see some of the artefacts, columns, statues, pots and the history behind Lycias great era, and many places such as Pinara, Sidyma, Letoon, Gemiler Island and Oeneonda, as well as ancient things from Fethiye, which was known in ancient times as Telmessos.

Back outside, turn right and head for Fethiyes seafront promenade.  Follow 505 Sokak and then turn left at 510 Sokak.  Here, cross the road and walk on the seafront.  If you like, there are several nice little cafes which you can stop at for some lunch.

As you continue to stroll along, a large column like monument  protrudes into the sky.  This monument is a rememinder to the horrific Gallipoli campaign during the First World War.

Just to the left of the memorial, theres a statue of Ataturk, in a large flat square, directly infront of the blue culture centre.

Continueing along the sea front, follow it around until you get to a right/left hand turn.  Go straight ahead, so you’ve got the blue culture centre to you left,  and then go over to the right, where a massive scargophigus stands next to the Government office and taxi rank.  This Goliath sized tomb has reliefs of men fighting and ladies sitting down on all sides, and the shape of it is meant to be based on the design of a wooden hut, with the bits sticking out of each side representing wooden beams.

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The last part of the walk is going along Fethiye high street back to the ancient amphitheatre, passing the Feti Bey statue (read about it here), and another two statues of Ataturk.  One of him on horse back, and the other of his head on the roundabout.

The walk ends here…

I hope you enjoyed it, and learnt a lot about Fethiyes fascinating and incredible history…

Make sure to check out some more of my brilliant blogs, and make sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, as well as the blog itself….

Leave a comment if you know of any other incredible ancient sites which i can write about.

 

 

 

 

 

Afkule Monastery…

IMG_6741…An Unknown Monastery…

 

Situated, literally, on a cliff face – a few miles away from Kayakoy – Afkule Monastery (which means “Tower of mercy” or “Tower of hope”) overlooks the Mediterranean sea.

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It’s location is relatively unknown, considering its close proximity to Fethiye and it has an ostentatious position cut into the tall and  prominent cliff face.  On clear days the Greek island of Rhodes can be seen.

To get to the Tower of Hope, you have to go on a short, pretty woodland hike, passing through the sprouting wildflowers and ancient pine trees.

 

 

The Monastery, which was built in the 11th Century by an eccentric Monk was used until the 1920’s.  The monk, called Ayios Elefterios discovered this far-off spot, and decided that it would be a brilliant place to worship God and pray. Soon after finding this location, he began constructing a monastery on a 10 square meter area right beside the steep slopes. It is said, that “Building of the monastery was his way of doing penance to God in utter solitude, and it cost him his whole lifetime”.

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After the First World War though we he monastery became useless because the Greeks who worshipped at the Monastery were sent back to Greece because of the population exchange which occurred in 1923, as part of the Treaty of Laussane.
Nowadays, the Monastery seems to be little known except for the locals, who come for picnics and fires with their whole families.

The ancient Monastery is still standing strong though,  clinging to the steep, high cliff face with steps still cut into the rock.  Perhaps the incredible view and scenic walk are the reasons why the locals who do come enjoy this secluded place.

 

 

You approach the ruins from above and then scramble part of the way down to a wide ledge where you can take in the spectacular views.  Following the track down, you come to the ruins.   The ruins include cisterns , storerooms, cells (Monastery rooms), a wine cellar and possibly a vaulted tomb.  One chapel, which is on the same level as the cells, still has painted frescoes which can still be seen faintly.  The Monastery is located up some steps, which have been cut into the commanding cliff face and are accessible with care.

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From the top of the Monastery, Rhodes can be through the slight mist.  Incredibly, the Monastery has a balcony type structure which you have to climb through a small window to get onto, again, please take care when climbing!

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Inside, frescoes can stil be seen on top of doorways, and even wooden beams are still apparent in the remaining arches.

Afkule Monastery makes for a wonderful weekend picnic place for all the family.  It’s beautiful setting and brilliant walk make it completely worth while and not too much of an energetic hike is required.

 

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To conclude, I’d certainly recommend Afkule Monastery as a brilliant day trip, this weekend, for those who enjoy historic adventures.

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Oenoanda…

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…A Mountain, Not A Hill…

Along the D-350 towards Antalya from the west, a strange landscape appears tucked behind the commanding and formidable mountains.

Ancient Oenoanda lies on a strategic hill, overlooking the untouched valleys and villages of Seki and Incealiler.  Gated in by the surrounding mountains, Oenoanda is tangled in tree’s, shrubbery and history.

Oenoanda is very remote…on a hilltop that is rather inaccessible to be honest.  This however, did not stop the inhabitants from yesteryear building a ten meter wall around their town.   Walking up the secluded ancient site, you can see why it was impossible to attack.  Layers and layers of shrubbery, rocks and trees make the terrain quite impassable.

 

To be honest, I would recommend only those who are good and confident on difficult terrain to attempt this hike, because it can be quite difficult at times and is seriously a hike!

 

The drive to Oenoanda is quite simple.  You basically follow the main highway out of Fethiye and drive towards Antalya along the mountain road.  Upon reaching a sign for Seki, turn right, but upon reaching the village the drive gets very tricky because you have to drive through all of the small, dirt tracks which eventually peter out into nothing and the road/track literally ends…..

The village is a very silent place compared to the bustling streets of Fethiye. When we drove through, a man was staring at us – for a rather long time – but we ignored him, in a UK registered car, we are used to it….more about that later…….

In Oenoanda, there is an amphitheater, agora, basilica, and an unknown, unrecognised arched building.

Most of these date back to the 2nd century BC, when the site was under roman rule.  What makes the site renowned amongst archeologicaists and historians alike is its link to Diogenes of Oenoanda.  We know very little of Diogenes. He was thought to have been born in the second half of the first century, and was thought to be rich and politically influential, though as a good Epicurean, he never became involved in politics. What we do understand is that before he died, he wanted to pass down information and “stuff” down through the generations, so he wrote “stuff” on large rocks, which eventually became a wall,of eighty metres long by four metres high which surrounded this town.

 

 

After we explored the site we started the descent.  It was alarming to start with because a kangol had appeared from nowhere and sat himself, barking loudly and fiercely, on the ” path” which we needed to take downwards there were no human owners anywhere to be seen, and I actually think the Kangol – let’s call him Fred- was far more afraid of us ( vodka, anyway ) than we were of him, but, you know, best to be on the safe side.

 

We kept on returning to the last rock which we could definitely recognise and then aiming in – what we thought – was the right direction, after four goes at this andWith the Kangol guarding the real path we stumbled through the rocky undergrowth and found ourselves on the wrong side of the mountain.

 

Panic hadn’t set set in yet but we were all starting to realise the importance of being prepared….. which for this hike… we weren’t.

 

We did got lost coming back down. We set up standing points and shouted to one another for twenty minutes until I eventually stumbled upon the rocky goat track “which could be… erm, yes I think so… ” was the path . Relief was kept under wraps!

Upon finding the path and beginning to chat to one another again as we climbed down we realised that we really should be more prepared next time we go on these hikes, because if we hadn’t managed to find the path, the worst case scenario would have been having to stay there overnight, so there is a rucksack packed with essentials waiting to accompany us in future. Also, as we have already downloaded the app ” map my walk ” it seems like an appropriate time to figure out how to use it!

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When we started to drive out of the village, we were invited to join a village family for tea, by the man who had been staring at us as we drove through the village to Oeneonda.

It turned out  that the man, who’s name is Husain, is a guide who takes people up the mountain to the site, because he knows the correct route upwards, he had cards written in every language to show us, the cards read ” Hello, my name is HUSSAIN and I am a guide up the mountain. It is important to come with me as the mountain is dangerous and the track becomes easily lost. It is safe to come with a guide. So let’s go!”

 

We also learnt that he helped Martin Ferguseon Smith, the explorer, go up to the incredible ancient site, and he didn’t get lost once!

 

To conclude, I’d recommend this place for serious hikers, and not those who want a day trip because of its maze of tracks going up and a steep climb. I would recommend finding HUSSAIN or another local guide, wear good shoes or boots, take water and maybe leave a trail of breadcrumbs for the goats… I mean, ….to find your way back!

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By the way, GEOFF didn’t climb in those shoes, he had changed out of his boots in relief!

 

 

Leave a like for more blogs about these ancient sites, close to Fethiye or further afield!

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