Friday, July 23, 2010

Mud baths and gorges

Fethiye was lovely. And the reason it was most lovely was because of our hosts Ayse, Brandon, and their daughter Aylin. One of our good friends Simay is the nice of Ayse and Brandon, and Mark had visited them the year before with Simay. Brandon told him to find a girlfriend and come back, and Mark had taken him at his word.

We arrived at the otogar not knowing how to get to there place, having a vague idea of where we were going. Waiting at an intersection for a dolmus a man stuck his head out of the window of his old blue station wagon to ask where we were going. Hearing we were going to Calis beach, he told us to get in. He pointed out the bar where he worked on the way past, and dropped us right at the beach before going to have a beer there. He refused our offer to buy him a beer, so we started the trek away from the seaside to Ayse and Brandon's house. Mark remembered the road, and so with no wrong turns we arrived at their house soaked in sweat. Although they already had five visitors they were very happy to see us, and we arrived in time for the barbeque.

Brandon's cousin John was visiting, as well as one of Simay's other aunts, who now lives in Denmark, her husband and two of their friends. Ayse invited us to come with them on their daytrip to Dalyan the next day and we happily accepted. After moving tables into the garden and watching Ayse grill mountains of chicken we all sat down and ate and ate until we could eat no more. And then the happy dog goldie got to eat the remains.

The day trip to Dalyan was incredible. Mark, John and I were in Brandon's car, and as Brandon doesn't like the new tunnel that they've built under the mountain so tourists can avoid the narrow windy mountain road, we took that narrow road. And the views were spectacular, although we got into a small amount of trouble later. At Dalyan Ayse negotiated a boat for us, and a young looking captain in a pink shirt with a mullet crazy looking hair cut took us out in his boat. Although he didn't look it, he did turn out to be a good captain. He first took us through the reed lined chanel (supposedly used in the shooting of the film The African Queen) to the sandbar beach which separates the lake and fresh water from the beach and sea water. Lots of sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach, and no one is allowed to be there after dark. On the way there we passed some spectacular lycian rock cut tombs on the cliff face. The beach was amazing - clear blue water, sand going out forever, small waves. Boarding the boat once again we went over to the crab boats to pick up our crab order, and to watch as guys threw crabs on lines out into the water trying to lure turtles up to the surface. One did pop up for a short time, but was apparently too full to reemerge. But still, I saw a leatherback sea turtle! And then sat on the boat and ate some amazing crab.

Our next stop was the mud baths. Basically, you go in, laze about in a warm muddy pool smelling strongly of sulfur. Then cover yourself and others in mud and wait for it to dry before rinsing off. Then you are sprayed down by a guy with a pressurized hoze before going into the very hot hot pool, which smelled even more of sulfer. And at the end the hot air feels cool, and your skin feels like a baby's. This is the mud that they export and sell for lots of money as facial masks. And it's oh so fun to play with. The final stop was a swim in the lake before going back to shore for some food and ice cream before returning to Fethiye and a dinner of leftovers and chips (fries).

I should clarify - Brandon and Ayse have two houses that share a well. So the Danes were staying in the other one. And the second night we slept in our tent in their garden after stealing their daughter's room the first night. But the next day all the inhabitents of the house we were in went off to Marmaris to visit relatives, and left us with the whole house to ourselves for two days, which was great. Our first day we went into town to explore Fethiye, and it's pork products. Calis beach is full of brits, which means it's also full of all day English breakfasts, complete with bacon and pork sausages. For a teacher living in Istanbul and very pork deprived (Mark more than me as I'd just been in France and the UK) this was food heaven.

Convincing ourselves we could move after our breakfast, we walked along the beach, and then took the water taxi into the center to research our boat trip. Lonely planet gives dire warnings about what can happen if you don't research your trip well enough, and we were scared. We walked on two boats and asked lots of questions, but in the end those boats didn't have space or weren't going on the right days. In the end we chose V-go, which had been reccomended by one of Mark's friends. That task down we wandered the center, visited the fish market, got some fish for dinner and went home. Mark cooked the fish to perfection.

The next day we visited the natural wonder of Saklikent. It's a canyon that's been cut into the stone, and is so narrow at most points that they daylight doesn't penatrate. We took a dolmus through villages before arriving at the entrance, renting plastic shoes and hurring in to be ahead of the large group that was massing. The first bit is a wade through an icy stream where they take your photo, but after that the water is shallow, and it's a bit boring until the canyon narrows, and then it's over rocks, up small waterfalls, all the time walking in the water. At time bolders are stuck above between the walls of the canyon. It's an absolutely incredible place. We hiked a couple of hours before deciding it was getting a bit too difficult, and we were getting very hungry after only sharing a toast that morning. We were a bit slower on the way back as we lounged in pools of water and found an amazing natural rock waterslide. The way into the gorge is on a walkway but for the brave of heart (or crazy people) for the return you can be swept away in the freezing river for a few hundred meters. Of course we went this way. Then you pull yourself out of the river onto the platforms of the resurant located there. We sat on a platform overlooking the river and shared quail and omlet before returning to Fethiye. Back in Fethiye we went for a swim in the sea at Calis beach and then had fish and chips to bring back a bit of Mark's childhood.

1 comment:

Marie said...

Sounds like you're having a wonderful time. The photos of Mark's last visit there were amazing so I'm glad you enjoyed it. The mud baths and gorge walk would have been fun. Chooing to be swept down the river rather than take the boardwalk is no surprise.
Keep enjoying. Take care.