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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Ottostop

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A Screen Printing Workshop…

Mum and I are just back from a great morning being creative and getting messy with Leyla Temiz from Ottostop. In her own words Leyla describes Ottostop as an ” independent design & screen printing studio shaded by a large avocado tree in a jungle-like garden in southern Turkey. Inspired by nature, travel, local village life and traditional Turkish arts & crafts.”

She’s got that pretty much right!

“Ottostop” is a combination of the words Ottoman and Ottostop, which is Turkish for ” hitchhike” and immediately appealed to our bohemian, nomadic lifestyle.

We arrived the morning after the first huge electrical storm of the winter and both mum and Leyla were complaining about lack of sleep from the noise of the storm the previous night. The garden though, was glistening wet in the morning sunshine and looked all the more jungle like from its recent drenching.

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Inside Leyla’s studio we were briefed very professionally about the methods and principles of screen printing and encouraged to practise a few times on gift cards and paper, until we were confident with the required technique – we were also encouraged to create our own inspirational designs to work with, if we wanted to, – but mum and I were happy to work with Leyla’s prepared screens……. for now….

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Leyla was on hand permanently to cast an eye over our shoulders and pass on encouragement and also to humbly point out enormous mistakes ( such as still leaving the clear Perspex marker sheet down when you come to do your print ! Doh ! )

Even though some errors were made, we had loads of fun in Leyla’s studio, and in the end turned out some really great ad interesting pieces of artwork!

A delicious array of breads, olives, fruits and cheese were laid out on one block board unit in the corner of the studio, and between snacking and feasting upon these nibbles and matching colours for the most impact for each print we were attempting, the morning passed really quickly. Chattering the whole time, mum, Leyla and I were getting along like old friends, the teacher was most gracious and accommodating.

Ottostop workshops are offered all year round out in the hidden Yaniklar studio, they need to be booked with Leyla, obviously, and you can contact her through her website or her Facebook page to check availability and organise a session.

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The workshops are a great way to get in touch with your creative demons, and even though I wasn’t immediately inspired to create an image from my own designs, since I have come away I have been brainstorming some concepts for a new heading for my blog…. An ” adventurer in training ” conceptual logo… the sketch pad is on the table and I think we will be visiting the Yaniklar jungle again really soon.

The Best Places To Eat, Drink Or Chill In Fethiye.

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……always on the lookout for more………..

Fethiye, south west Turkey is a popular destination for Turkish and foreign visitors alike, I have decided to bring together some of the best restaurants and cafes to visit in Fethiye. A visitors guide to some of the coolest places to visit for coffee, a snack or a complete meal, This list isn’t in any paticular order, it’s just my top pick of places to go to in Fethiye, why don’t you give some of them a try?

Apple Cafe

On the Main one way Street in Fethiye, the Apple cafe serves a selection of homemade (and delicious) cakes, tiramisus and triffles. The friendly couple who own the place treat you with the best hospitality. This contemporary cafe is a great place to hangout with friends and family. Dishes include a selection of grilled sandwiches, pasta, and a large variety of deserts.

 

 

What’s it best for?

The Apple cafe suits people if they want to have a shopping break, either by taking time out to sample their wine and a cheese board, or a coffee and one of their incredible cakes.

 

 

 

 

Carikli

Located on the sea front on the way around to Calis, along the kordon towards the new marina, Carikli is ( in my opinion ) officially the best place for a Turkish breakfast in Fethiye. What makes it so good is the fact that the owner of the restaurant also owns the butchers shop in the fish market, so the meat is the best in Fethiye.

Dishes include Lamb chops, Chataubriand, Dallas Steak, New York Steak, and Turkish meatballs.

 

What’s it best for?

For people who want to go on a romantic evening, or a night out with friends, Carikli caters for your needs. You may want to try the breakfast there too!

 

 

Kukina

This Cafe is a must if you are in Fethiye. The decor and atmosphere are very relaxing, they are always playing the most ambient tunes and the staff are more than happy to help.

 

Although it is in the main bazaar, it is quite hidden, however, when you find it you won’t be dissatisfied. The food is very well cooked, and to me the ambience of the place is great. Dishes include Seafood Pizza, their own handmade selection of burgers, a wide variety of salads and lots of meat and chicken dishes.

 

 

What’s it best for?

If you want to go for lunch with friends, or just a simple coffee stop while shopping, Kukina would be the place to go.

 

 

Moziak Bache

This restaurant, which specializes in Eastern Turkish meals, is an excellent place to eat. Hidden away in the backstreets, the restaurant has a brilliant ambience, a hidden garden oasis within the city. Mosaic has great, friendly staff and wonderful food. Dishes include Lamb Kebab, Liver and Chicken Casserole, all of which are seasoned and cooked in a slightly more Eastern Turkish way.

 

What’s it best for?

As the food is so reasonably priced, you could go to Mozaik for lunch or dinner, or both! Who needs an excuse for great Kebab?

Saraphane

Although it’s only open during the winter, the Saraphane, which translates as Winehouse, is a brilliant place to eat. Illustrations of wine making, wine selling and wine drinking surround you as the open fire crackles in the magnificent fireplace. A well stocked menu, most of the dishes are made from locally grown/produced foods. Modern, contemporary food is cooked here, so great for steaks and often grouse too.

 

What’s it best for?

Saraphane is the place to go if you want to eat in the warm with friends. For a romantic tweet a tweet with your partner, the setting here takes some beating!

 

 

Yacht Classic

The famous place where Daniel Craig stayed when Skyfall was being filmed, the restaurant is a lovely place for an evening meal. With seating right beside the sea, the Mori restaurant has some delicious food and a great setting.

If you eat here for lunch you can then relax afterwards beside their pool aswell. Dishes I would recommend include their mushroom pizza or Chicken goujons and wedges for lunch, and they offer a wide variety of modern cuisine, meat and fish at dinner.

What’s it best for?

After relaxing by Yacht Classics pool for the day, sit at your table by the sea, whilst eating your delicious food.

 

Pukka Cafe

This recently opened coffee shop makes for a nice stop when going back to the marina from town. They offer a wide variety of herbal teas, coffees, wines and deserts and make this chic little coffee parlor an all new rival for Apple.

 

What’s it best for?

After exploring the town, you start walking back to the marina, when you suddenly need coffee. Don’t fear, because the Pukka cafe is only a few steps away. Opposite the main Barbour with the statue of Fethi Bey and the amphitheater on your left.

 

MOD Cafe

In most marinas, the restaurants normally have great food, but are very expensive. This cannot be said for the Mod Cafe. This very reasonably priced restaurant is a perfect place to eat if one does not want to walk into Fethiye after a long day sailing. The dishes are all healthy, and include Ginger and Lemon Chicken, Ottoman Kebab, and vegetarian meals too. Cooked fresh in the mods ample kitchen, there is a great selection of coffees, soft drinks and beers and wines too.

 

What’s it best for?

After sailing in and around Fethiye, you get back and realize there is no food on the boat. You can’t be bothered to walk into town, but you realize, that the Mod is only a skip away down the pontoon

 

An Absent Summer

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Explained……

 

It’s been a long summer, and although I’m not looking for excuses as to why my blog has been so quiet, I must explain that we have had such a large number of visitors this year, that it’s been difficult to find the time to step away and actually put “virtual pen to paper “.

And it isn’t even over! ( The summer that is! ) A heatwave from Libya is apparently gracing our shores throughout October and it’s still a balmy 27 degrees during the day, but the evenings are drawing in and the temperature drops to a chilling 16 degrees! The next fresh batch of visitors are due to arrive in a weeks time, this time it’s only my Sister, Summer, but she’s going to expect the full guest treatment. Little does she know that this time she’s actually going to learn to sail and pull a few bits of string, too long has she been the reclining passenger over the years!

 

We have had a hugely varied selection of friends and guests on the yacht with us this year, it’s been an interesting experience being able to observe and take part in the changing dynamics on board and a life lesson in being able to interact with all types of people. There has been excitement, adventure, discovery and adrenaline, wonder, surprise, exploration and lessons to learn.

All in all this has been a season of discovery and understanding for me. After being so insular throughout the winter, with my head stuck in school books and only the company of my parents, the exposure to ” real life” through the experiences of the people still living in it has been an exciting journey. – but one which I, for the moment, only wish to take from the comfort of my floating home and by listening to their tales……………..

 

I know, one day that I will be involved back in their world of fear, worry and political correctness gone mad, and I will embrace the route which I choose to take in it, but for now I will just listen to their tales and experiences and store it in the part of my brain which holds the ” things to come” information………. right now I don’t need that kind of indoctrination…. I’ve just started back at homeschooling and I’ve got better things to learn about.

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Actually, as a point of interest mum was reserved today about teaching parts of the biology schedule which goes into detail about genetics, genetic engineering, cloning, vaccines and antibiotics, she’s assured me that we will be learning about the alternative views ( especially regarding vaccines and the use of antibiotics ) as well as what the ” national curriculum” have decided we must study……… can’t wait! This is what makes home schooling so much more interesting than being in a classroom where what the teacher tells you is word.

 

We do tend to live a rather holistic lifestyle out here on the boat, mum opts initially for herbs, oils or spices as remedies for everyday ailments ( although we don’t get many…..ever….) and we have found a great local supplier – (as here in Turkey there are MANY oil, herb etc stores) – we have now narrowed down our main suppliers to two or thee different vendors and mum is still learning every day about brilliant supplements and remedies from them.

So, as we wind down for a little while now and get out the text books to study the UKs curriculum, and more, we can reflect upon a summer of travel, great food and adventure. It has definitely been an enjoyable study of people and actions, sometimes a laugh a minute and other times serious, but, all in all……..a season of great sailing adventures.

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Thanks for reading, and sorry to have kept you waiting so long for this instalment. With the winter (?!) around the corner there will be plenty of things to blog about. Stay with me!

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NEXT BLOGS………

A look back at the average trip, routes, menus, destinations and sights of a summer sailing trip.

The ten best places to enjoy eating in Fethiye.

The ten best days out from Fethiye.

 

 

The View From Here

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Gemiler Island

 

Gemiler
11th June 2017

So after being back in Fethiye port and going out for a few days sailing here and there, we set Off on the next large trip heading south towards the Kekova Gulf. We have ten days or so to play with until we return to collect some more friends from Fethiye.

Our first stop was Gemiler island, a small, now, uninhabited place which was once home to St Nicholas, aka.Father Christmas.

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The island is separated from the mainland by a small channel, which is where we would be anchoring. The water here is crystal clear and cold, fed from freshwater springs again.

Many different ruins are now submerged near to the islands coastline like the Harbour side itself and roads and the market place. Among other ruins if you actually visit the island and explore the island itself you can find churches, baths, and an interesting long tunnel which went all the way from the top of the island to the sea.

 

Excavations undertaken by Japanese archaeologists (?!) discovered that the tunnel joined churches three and four on the island, but local Turkish tales involve an over protective, eccentric man who had a daughter and wished to conceal her beauty from the rest of the islanders, it is said that he had the tunnel built for her so she could walk down to the sea to bathe without being looked upon by any body else there! I think I like that story best!

Most of the ruins date back as far as the 4th-6th Century AD, during the Byzantine period. Gemiler island means “Island of boats” in English,hence why St Nicholas was the patron Saint for sailors.

If you do head over to Gemiler to visit the island, make sure you take some water to drink and a little bit of cash ( if you don’t have museum cards) as its 8tl each to enter. Just a heads up.

 

Upon arriving at Gemiler, we anchored just before the tour boats started to embark of the island. As they came past the bow, we noticed groups of people dancing on deck, having a great time in a foam party aboard a pirate ship. The loud disco music echoed throughout the channel, creating a haunting noise that woke up all of the local birds.

That evening, we watched the sun go down beyond the hills, and before we went to bed that night, we enjoyed the peaceful sound of crickets, and the lapping of the sea.

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We decided that morning to stay in Gemiler for another night, so today we were going onto the island to enjoy the beautiful scenery and historic excavations. An open-air museum

It’s said that St Nicholas established a monastic retreat on the uninhabited island in the 4th Century, after he and some of his followers escaped persecution from the Romans. Today, the four 4th- to 7th-century rock-cut Byzantine churches and 40 or so other buildings remain shrouded in mystery.

 

There are no written documents about or by St Nicholas, and present-day signage is scarce.

Gemiler may also have been a key stop on the Christian pilgrimage route to the Holy Land. Pilgrims sailing to Jerusalem would put in at this safe harbour, replenish water and supplies and pray for their safe journey. Today, one can explore the remains of these early churches, baths and harbour.

After going to shore using the dinghy, we walked over the island exploring all of the ancient buildings. Excavation of the island took place in 1995 collaboratle between some Japanese archeologists and the nearby Fethiye Museum. After exploring the ruined and ragged island, we went back to the boat, were we once again watched the afternoon entertainment of Gulets and tourboats and charters trying to anchor, always amusing!

That evening, mum and I went exploring in the dinghy, and we went over to a nearby beach at sunset. A pretty ride.

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Cold Water Bay ( reccy ), underwater cave bay and Kalkan.
13th June 2016

We left Gemiler reasonably early because our plan was to try and visit a new, unknown to us, destination.

We were still heading down south to a Harbour called Kalkan, but I had found a bay half way between the two, which we may be able to stop at for the night.

Today, there was some swell, which made Asena quite nervous. The bay I had found was called Kötü Bükü, a large open bay which has little protection. It would be good for the future because the ragged coastline between Gemiler and Kalkan doesn’t have many bays for anchoring in.

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After arriving and anchoring, we considered staying overnight however the swell was too large making the boat uncomfortable , so we just stayed and had some lunch before continuing the long trip to Kalkan.

Passing the 6.5 mile Patara beach, we ran parallel to a thunderstorm. The storm had the most impressive Fork lightning I had ever seen before, and to make the whole thing even more spectacular, we saw a small pod of dolphins going in the opposite direction, parallel to the beach with the lightning illuminating them.

 

Upon arriving in Kalkan, we moored flawlessly, had dinner, and went into the town for an evening drink. We call Kalkan ‘Birthday Bay’, because of how many “happy birthdays” you can hear being sung in all the Harbour side restaraunts in the evenings. This year though, the whole town seems really quiet.

 

A Busy Couple Of Weeks

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Sailing Daze….

 

From Knidos, we sailed all the way back to Fethiye on a long 13 hour trip. We had decided to do the long trip to Fethiye because of strong winds approaching the entire coastline in those next few days. This passage was one of the longest trips the dogs had ever done, so it was great that they managed without needing the loo. Upon arriving in Fethiye the expected strong wind blew.

Whilst we have been in Fethiye, we have taken friends out sailing. On the 17th, we took our friend John out. He owns a Catamaran on our pontoon, but he hasn’t been out sailing for six months. We took him to Tersane, where he stayed on board for one night. With him, we did lots of sailing, practicing Tacking and Gybing.

On the 27th, our good friend Elaine from Kas was sailing north, but they had stopped in Fethiye for two nights. They were travelling with some of there friends. We managed to see them before they continued their trip.

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People we knew from England came out to visit us. Tanya, who came out last year, came out with her boyfriend Nigel.

 

We had a great week out with them, We took them to Wall bay, Tersane and Gocek, and they loved them all! They had a great time with us paddle boarding, snorkeling, swimming, and enjoying the sun.

They will come out again to see us later in the year when we do our Greece trip.

After staying on the boat with us for four nights, they went and stayed in the beautiful Olive Garden Hotel, in Kabak, where we went and visited them the following day and relaxed by their gardens and pool. The food there is great and the infinitey pool is amazing!

 

The latest person we took out sailing was Christine. We once again took her to Tersane, where she went on the paddleboards and didn’t fall off…she must have done it before!

Before we left to do another big trip, we planned to go south toward the Kekova gulf. At the moment we are in Gemiler, but that will be a separate blog coming soon. The plan is from here to Kalkan-(A place we like, but I have never blogged about it)-then to kekova where there are lot of bays to explore, and then back to Fethiye, where we will be taking even more people out sailing.
This year has so far been a busy, and will continue to be, a busy year…

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This isn’t normal Summer sailing wear!!

 

Mum and Geoff had an idea once about doing yacht charters, initially they thought the idea wasn’t great because for a week of a charter myself and the dogs would have to be off the boat, ashore somewhere….. then they had a better idea.

Basically, keep me and the dogs aboard and approach the market from a different angle. The new idea is to find people who might be considering giving up their conventional life on land in the U.K. ( or wherever ) and moving aboard a boat somewhere warm, and giving them a taster of what real life living aboard is really like. In effect this is what we actually did with our friends for the week, and funnily, they were virtually ideal candidates as their long term plan may be to buy a boat and live aboard!

The experience definitely went down well. They commented it was the best holiday of their lives. Now mum and Geoff might consider the idea seriously.

 

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Anybody out there want first hand ” live aboard” experience?

 

 

 

So, I’m Just Catching Up (with myself……… )

Knidos

 

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And thirteen hours home…….

16th May 2017

We love Datca. Apparently, the ancient Greeks believed Datça to have been created personally by Zeus. The geographer Strabo apparently said: “God sent his beloved creatures to Datça for them to live longer.”

However today we were leaving. We had decided that the weather towards Knidos wasn’t very good, so we planned to head to a Bay further in the Hisaronu Gulf.

However, preparing to leave, we spoke to the neighboring yacht, who had said that the weather and wind in the Knidos area was fine, and introduced the skipper to some great weather software, ” predictwind ” So, after further deliberation, we chose to head west towards the end of the Datca Peninsula, where Knidos lay.

After leaving, we motored into the wind and arrived in the calm but windy bay. The peninsula has coves, bays, and beaches in abundance. Sandy or shingly, they all share the same, alluring, crystalline turquoise waters.

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Knidos, with its ancient ruined harbour, was a shipping stronghold from the 4th century BC. However, over time Knidos fell into ruins through earthquakes, conquests and looting – the last treasures were spirited away to the British Museum, for example, the greatly disputed Knidos Lion with its glass eyes.

Within minutes, you’re able to collect hundreds of pieces of ancient Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman ceramics. However, I wouldn’t advise collecting them because if the authorities catch you with them, they’ll fine you and probably throw you to the wolves in some ancient arena.

Hidden behind Cape Kapi, notable remains are a few basilica arches, floor mosaics, ancient temples and the exceptional sea-facing theatre.

Today, the sheltered and beautiful bay offers a spectacular anchorage for those heading from the north and the south. So after some lunch, mum and I took the dogs for a walk around the ancient port.

Walking around, we passed shattered walls, walked over ancient mosaics, and even saw a round temple. There’s was even a path way made out of broken ceramics.

What made me laugh, was the fact that if there was something this old in the U.K, the authorities would treasure and look after this incredibly. However, here it has been left to break up. It may have broken up due to constant earthquakes in the area and the heat, but still. Just to imagine how this place was built and who lived here is amazing.
Much of the site has been excavated and is still undergoing excavation and the big theatre is being renovated to its former ancient glory which will certainly be a sight to behold.

After coming back to the boat, we sat in the cockpit. There is a lighthouse on the Cape that I want to walk to tomorrow, but I have to talk mum into it first, so stay tuned…

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