So after a day in bed feeling decidedly unwell I was ready to get out and see some of what Fethiye and it’s neighbour, Oludeniz had to offer. Given that we’d cycled through Fethiye on our way to the pansiyon and would be cycling back out past Chalis beach we decided to focus on Oludeniz first.
We caught a dolmus into town and picked up another to take us over the very large hill, down the other side, through the upper part of town and down to the most famous part of Oludeniz, the lagoon !
As the dolmus comes over the hill having left the upper part of town, you can see the turquoise sea glistening right in front of you, the day tripper boats all lined up ready for the off, people sunbathing already and the lagoon just to the right, all laid out with sun loungers ready for the sunworshippers to turn up….it really is a beautiful sight.
We got off the dolmus and decided to walk along the path to the lagoon, it’s part of a park and you have to pay to get in but this does mean they keep it clean and tidy. The sun loungers are not free but you can just put a towel down so long as it’s not between loungers or blocking access to the water, as we weren’t staying long this is exactly what we did. We’re not big on just lying out in the sun but an hour or so here would be very nice, the water is so warm and clear that it’s such a pleasure to be in it !
After an hour we started to get itchy feet and set off for a walk, we were trying to get some pictures of the beach and lagoon but we needed an elevated position. I stopped and asked a guy if there was a viewing area anywhere, he suggested Mount Babadag ! It just happens that they do the paragliding from there and before I knew what had happened I’d signed up for the next day, no need to worry about that elevated position anymore, Mount Babadag is over 6600 feet !!
So having just signed up to jump off a perfectly solid mountain with a large handkerchief to save me from falling dramatically to my death, I needed a beer and food, that done we set off back up the hill in the overpacked and very hot dolmus. Arriving back in Fethiye we decided to walk from the outskirts back along the waterfront. It’s quite a picturesque place, lots of expensive boats bobbing about on the water and even more expensive bars and restaurants fronting the water. I’m sure for some the view is worth the extra cost but when the sun sets, the view is lost and the bill…..well, let’s say it’s not cheap !!
We got back to the pansiyon, showered, relaxed for a while then took the dolmus back into town for a meal, we picked a small quiet little place up a back street, it only served Turkish food which frankly is all we wanted. The mezza we picked were some of the best we’d had and the casseroles weren’t to bad either, with a couple of cold beers to wash it all down it was a very pleasant evening 😉
The following morning we were up early, breakfasted and on the dolmus on our way back to Oludeniz, I’d been told to get to the reception at 11.00, although my time was likely to be nearer 12.00. We arrived early and took a walk, sat and had a coffee before going back nearer to 12.00. Nobody asked for a receipt or a name, no one gave any info, I was just told to wait, so we waited…for over an hour !!
At 1.15 we finally boarded the bus for the drive up the mountain, at this point Naomi was told I’d be down in about 80mins, she set off to watch from a bar near the landing site while I rode the bus up the mountain. It was a hell of a ride, very steep, very narrow, unmade road in parts but mostly paved, by the time we reached the top even the nervous were ready to jump rather than take the bus back down !!
At the take off point one of the pilots offered some playing cards, each person would pick a card and this would tell you who your pilot would be. Firstly I’d been told I’d get a small pilot to enable a longer flight and secondly there weren’t enough cards offered and two of us didn’t get one, basically we didn’t have a pilot !!
There was an immediate window of opportunity and the quick and the ready were soon in the air and on there way towards the beach. I’d been told that my pilot was on his way and would be half an hour, that half an hour came and went several times and in the meantime the mist rolled in and jumping was suspended !!
Frustrated by the lack of professionalism and lack of comunication I took a walk around the area for some photos, it really is an incredible place and when the mist clears albeit slightly you get incredible views for 360 degrees !!
After what seemed like an age my pilot did show up, not as promised but as part of the next group to fly.my pilot and I got off to a bad start when he told me to put my camera in the zip pocket of the seat I’d be in, I told him I needed it to take photos as this was the only reason I’d agreed to the flight in the first place. Initially he said no, as it’s against the rules but I told him that I’d been told by the guy in the office it would be ok. We reached a compromise in that once airborne and in steady flight he’d give me the green light to use my camera, he was as good as his word…very happy man !!
Well the mist cleared and he gave me the order to start walking, then run, keep running and before I knew it there was no longer any ground under my feet and we were flying, it really is a very sublime experience, it’s so quiet, so calm and very comfortable and stable…amazing.
My pilot of course tried to impress me with a few spins but I was busy taking photos and barely noticed, he gave me control briefly but again, I gave him the lines back as I had photos to take. I thoroughly enjoyed my flight and although initially very unimpressed with the attitude of the team I would still go back and do another…one of the best things I’ve ever done !!
Sadly with the very long wait, Naomi was on the ground also waiting and had little or no information from the ground staff, five hours in total she waited with camera in hand not wanting to miss my arrival and bless her she was there when my feet finally touched down…..brilliant !!
So having arrived in Oludeniz at 10.45 we were finally ready to leave at about 6.30 in the evening, a very long day but hopefully the photos that both my pilot and myself took would be worth the wait !
We got back to Fethiye and decided to just stop and eat now rather than go back to the pansiyon first, we found a quiet place by the water and enjoyed a pleasant meal and a good conversation with a couple of expats, Terry and Glenys, lovely people. They’d retired out here 21 years ago and know the place like the back of there hand, had a few stories to tell to but that’s between us !!
So that was our time in Fethiye, in the morning we’d be packed and ready to cycle out towards Dalyan, only about 65km and not to many hills, well not compared to some of our days out here.
When I say not to many hills, we still climbed over 450m and that was quite early on in the ride, we’d cycled out past Chalis beach as expected then out through a very pretty little road until we joined the D400 towards Dalaman. Just after Dalaman we turned left and headed towards the river and Dalyan. We’d heard about some pansiyons just out of the main town, in a quieter area and with good views of the Kings Tombs.
The place we picked was called Tolga Pansiyon and the garden runs all the way to the river where the boat waits to take you to the mud baths and hot springs, at a price of course. We showered, had a cold beer then took the boat to the mud baths, now I’ve been before but I wanted Naomi to enjoy the experience. First you cover yourself in warm sort mud, take photos obviously, shower in warm water then jump into the hot sulphur bath. Well everything was going well until we found they’d drained the hot sulphur bath, we couldn’t understand how knowing we’d just paid and that we were still there that they could do this, it ruined the whole experience. Luckily for us our captain knew of a private little spot where there was a hot spring bath and he took us there, it was great to be sitting in a thermal pool, steam rising and looking up at the bright blue sky…fantastic !!
We returned to the pansiyon and took a few photos of the tombs across the river from where we were staying, they are what they. There is a large cliff and into it are carved a series of ornate tombs, some large, others not so big, they are called the kings tombs although I’ve never looked at why !
Not only did our hosts have access to a boat, a beautiful home, garden and pansiyon, they were also quite adept at being salespeople and they asked if we’d like dinner, we not wanting to go looking elsewhere said yes. This gave them the opportunity to show of there skills in the kitchen, and boy did they impress. Mezza to start, huge portions of exquisite haidari, beans in tomato and something that looked like a seaweed, whatever it was it was gorgeous. And to follow that, Naomi had a beautifully cooked fish while I opted for Kofta, a huge salad, rice, bread all appeared and we washed as much as we could eat down with a cold Efes…we were stuffed, it really was a great meal !!
Leaving after such a good breakfast was hard, we’d got used to being pampered and could quite easily have stayed longer.
From Dalyan we were heading to Akyaka, this little town sits at the foot of one of our biggest climbs and would be a good staging point for our assault on it ! The ride itself was only about 60km and to be honest, nothing extraordinary happened, there were no big climbs, no particularly exciting scenery, in fact the only thing about that day was the fact you could see the huge climb that would be tomorrow’s challenge. It was a constant all day, looming ever larger as we got closer and closer, we could see trucks pulling low gears struggling up it, they looked small from even close up…it really would be a tough climb. But first, we needed a hotel and after trying at the first two places we settled on the Ates Otel, we just didn’t want to go any further down the hill as we’d have to climb back up the following morning!
After settling in and showering we set off for a walk to the beach, it’s a fairly steep road down to the seafront and over a kilometre away. As you’d expect it’s all, bars, restaurants and ice cream shops with numerous tacky souvenir shops thrown in for good measure !!
You have to crowd a small bridge over the estuary to get to the beach which to be honest isn’t all that big when you finally get there. It also seems to be the favourite spot for kite surfing, hundreds of them all along the waters edge, must have perfect wind conditions here as I’ve never seen so many in one spot !!
Well apart from eating and drinking we retired early to bed, saving energy for that climb in the morning !!
The moment had finally arrived, we’d finished breakfast, packed and loaded the bikes and it was time to face the hill, 14km and about 800 metres to climb…oh well best get in with it !
It was a tough slog, we can’t have averaged more than 5km an hour, it was already hot and there was no shade, it was very steep especially on the tight hairpin corners and the shoulder that we’d been cycling on just disappeared on us and it became quite dangerous. We did stop a few times, I claim it’s just so I can take photos but the truth is, I needed a breather and water !!
There was a slightly dramatic moment when a motorcycle coming down the hill suddenly lost control on a corner and ended up sliding across the road, fortunately he was going slowly enough that although the bike was scratched he seemed to have escaped injury, I did however help him get his bike stood up !!
Having conquered the hill the rest of the ride into Yatagan was fairly simple, we even had a downhill finish to the day 😉 We quickly found a hotel, settled in and were straight back out for food and drink, a little Wi Fi later on and we were soon ready for bed, tiring this cycling !!
From Yatagan we headed for Selimiye, not a particularly long ride but we at least knew there was a hotel there. It was a pleasant enough ride, starting with a downhill for about 3km before a series of short sharp climbs over the first 20 or so Km. After that it was a pleasant and fairly simple ride into Selimiye, we cycled into the town hoping to find a small local hotel or pansiyon but there wasn’t one. We did however stop for a cup of tea and caused quite a stir, I don’t think they see to many tourists here and certainly not ones on bikes covered in Lycra !!
After tea we cycled out of town and back to the main highway where we knew there was a hotel, it wasn’t much but it had rooms and they were fairly clean. The guy did however rip us off on the price but not having an alternative put us at a disadvantage !! At least he had cold beers and Wi Fi, luckily there was a garage about 200m back and a Gozleme salon across the road so we didn’t go hungry and the guy did cook us dinner but it wasn’t great and yet again he charged us a small fortune, no wonder he’s empty !!
Much smaller hills and a large lake waited us on our ride the following day, 65km to Soke, it really was a lovely ride. The first 25km was a series of small climbs but then you pass through a tunnel and descent to the lake. Then the road hugs the shore for a while before one final climb takes you up and straight back down to a very flat ride into Soke. About 6km out we passed through all the retail outlets and tourists stops, after that it’s suburbia and finally the town centre sign takes you left. There was a choice of hotels only about 600m on and we picked the first !!
Now Soke isn’t the first place you’d pick for a holiday, it’s just a stopping off point for us before the final climb into Kushadasi. We did however venture out for a walk and a bite to eat but it’s just like most other towns, a little dusty, a bit shabby, friendly enough although mostly surprised to see westerners and it has all the usual shops you’d expect…nothing new to report !!
So as there’s not much else to tell you, I’ll give you a few stats from our trip through Turkey :-
By the time we arrive at my sisters in Kushadasi we’ll have cycled 2100km
Our moving average will be 14.8kmh
My fastest speed was 76.5kmh
We’ll have climbed nearly 20,000m
We’ve had a great trip, the people here are so friendly, helpful and inquisitive. We’d had more generosity in this country than any of the other 29 countries we’ve cycled through and we’ve certainly appreciated it. I think I’ve consumed more chai here than anywhere else I’ve ever been, eaten more lentil soup than can possibly be good for you, and as for bread….tons of it !!
We are however now both looking forward to a good cup of Nescafé at my sisters and some good home cooking. We’ll also be taking a bus to Pammukale and Istanbul, blogs and photos to follow on both of those trips. So that’s almost it, just a short ride tomorrow and our 27 month adventure will be at an end !!