Instead of a gentle trail through woods we had to tackle a fifty-foot almost vertical, narrow, scree slope with a sheer rock face on one side and jumbled rocks on the other. 

On Thursday 11th October we were awake at dawn and breakfasted and packed by 8am.  We left our rucksacks in the ‘caf鐠while we walked around the village to the amphitheatre.  The yards of the houses were speckled with pink autumn colchicum and we even saw a patch of bright yellow sternbergia.  Apparently the theatre seated 10,000 and most of the seats are still in good condition although the performance end of the structure is now a large heap of tumbled masonry.  From our viewpoint on the top row of seats we could see the children of Selge, touring the village collecting their bayram sweets – although strictly speaking it was still the final day of Ramazan.  Our hostess had warned us about this the night before and suggested we visit the theatre to avoid being mobbed by sugar-seeking children.  We timed it perfectly.  By the time we returned to the caf矴o collect our packs and head off on the trail, the kids had all disappeared to visit a different area of the village, and we left with the usual promises to return in the future.

Initially the trail was mainly down hill, out of the village, walking through a landscape reminiscent of Cappadocia with similar rock formations – though not as large and, as far as we saw, none of them had ever been inhabited. The trail led along a dirt road which gradually narrowed to a path and then turned up through forests which, alongside the usual pines, carob and olive trees also had sweet chestnut.  We stopped for lunch: boots off to let feet breathe while water boils for hot drinks; and when we set off again the nightmare began.  Instead of a gentle trail through woods the route led down rock faces where foot and hand holds were minimal; and then we had to tackle a fifty-foot almost vertical, narrow, scree slope with a sheer rock face on one side and jumbled rocks on the other.  The male members of the team rallied and made their way down; dumped their {mosimage}packs then returned to take females’ packs down before helping us make the descent.  When we were all gathered at the bottom there were sighs of relief, that turned out to be very premature as the horror of the hazardous route continued for another couple of hours.  By the time we reached another wide tractor road through the forest our legs were stiff and we had almost exhausted our water supplies.  Never mind, we thought, at the bottom we will cross the river on a natural rock bridge to find a camping spot by a place suitable for swimming (I paraphrase the guide book here).  Of course the water levels are so low this year that the only water in the river at that point was very shallow and scummy and the camping place was a dry, sandy wasteland with too many flies.  Still we stopped and brewed up with the last of our water while we gazed at the sheer rock face we had descended.

Revived by hot tea we walked on for a kilometre or so to the ruins of what may have been a monastery, clearly there are the remains of a church and several other buildings, and a large clear space ideal for camping may once have been a courtyard.  A water supply was found, camp set up and, after a pasta and sauce dinner, we retired to bed under an amazing canopy of stars with the Milky Way directly overhead.

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