Sun cream, water and a very camp looking scarf prepare me for a 3 hour trek through elevated woodland.
Magical tortoises, baking in their shells scurry away at the rare sight of mad English tourists clambering, labouring and sweating through their dusty homes. I am not going to lie, but having no concept of how far we were going to have to walk in this baking heat, with very little water and half a banana in my pocket, I did start to feel the panic kick in again.
However, spirits started to lift as we approached the first sign we were nearing our destination, an old water condenser sat atop a view which took my breath away – we were presented by a stunning vista.
Olive groves, orchards of apple, orange and lemon, paddy fields, dusty goats, parched donkeys and friendly local farmers wheeling barrows along barren tracks.
A life goes on under the shadow of the ash coloured, stone houses and churches of Kayakoy, or Levissi as it was known. It was deserted after World War 1 by its mainly Ottoman Greek inhabitants who moved back to Athens, leaving this ghost town, which can only be described as something out of biblical times, yet it is no more than 300 years old. As is usual in Turkey, you are free to stroll around these ruins as you please, destroying Southern Turkey’s history in the process.
We stop off at “Muzzy’s” for some lunch, a half built, open café-come hotel complex with swimming pool, which sits at the foot of Levissi. Muzzy waves us in from his throne whilst animatedly shouting at his mobile phone and we are treated to a lovely feast, replacing all the cholesterol we burned during our hike.
Muzzy waivers the bill until our return from our historic climb, up into the village that is no more.
Halfway up the hill, Liz and Mum decide the “hippy” style café back down the bottom seems more appealing, while the male instinct to “conquer” drives Jamie, Dad and I up the hill. Two hundred metres above sea level, I clamber up to a small monastery.
Pulse pumping I snap some photos back over the valley and cheer as Jamie finds his path blocked by an angry ram.
Soon afterwards, Dad joins me and we admire the view.
By making my conquest into a competition, I fend off further panic, especially as I realise I am very high up, very hot and very dehydrated and I have to clamber all the way back down to the café before I can relax.
I realise that I have spent too long sitting in an office, wasting time with electronic technology – surely this is what life is really about!
We make our way back down to Muzzy’s and veg on harem-style cushions drinking tea and coffee while Muzzy lounges like Jabba the Hutt, laughing with friends in between shouting at his chefs and waiters. I only see him move once, and this was to pass us the bill. He limps his huge mass towards us and smiles through toad-like eyes. I imagine he is probably very good friend with James Bond, he seems to know everybody and things seemed to work around him to his satisfaction – whether this is down to wealth, culture or bloody hard work, I do not know, what I do know is it looks like a good life.
For this evening’s meal, I am treated to a true Turkish port town experience. We walk around Fethiye’s fish market, eyeing up an assortment of the day’s catch. Once you spot something you like the look of, which I find is far easier done by the way the fish looks at you rather than actually knowing what they all are, the fishmonger packages it up, takes your money and then it is passed to one of the restaurants who cook it up into a tasty meal. I still don’t know what the fish was I went for but the langoustines I chose were bloody fantastic!
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