This article was written for Fethiye Times by Sian Midgley.
Like many others, during the recent lockdown period I’ve put on a bit of weight or, as it is affectionately known in the UK, the Corona Stone. Of course, being stuck at the old girl’s gaff in the UK also meant I had access to all those lovely sweet treats you miss when you live overseas. In fact, I’m still waiting for an email from Mr McVitie to thank me for keeping his Custard Cream factory busy during these tough times.
Home Sweet Home
On arriving back in sunny Fethiye, and having completed the obligatory 14 day quarantine in place at the time, I decided to combine my need to lose weight with my need to reaquaint myself with this stunning part of the world and what better way to do that than go for a walk?
Having already proved to myself just over a year ago that I have no sense of direction (click here to find out more) I reached out to my pal Tony who knows the local walkways and asked him if he’d take me on a stroll somewhere off the beaten track. ‘Of course’ was his enthusiast reply, ‘how about we do (muttered something) Kaya to Ölüdeniz?’ Kaya to Ölü, yes I could do that, I’ll get my walking boots on.
Of course, I made two fatal mistakes – I didn’t ask him to repeat what he muttered and I didn’t take into account that he is an experienced and qualified mountain leader for summer walking.
Off We Go
Anyway, the day came and I met him in Central Fethiye where we jumped in a cab to Kaya…except…the cab was going the wrong way and we were heading through the boat yard. And then it dawned on me, oh dear Lord did it dawn on me…that muttering had actually turned the full sentence into ‘we will walk from Fethiye via Kaya to Ölüdeniz’.
‘Oh bugger’ (not exactly what I said but children might read this). Oh well, now that I’m here…
We started up the track from the peninsula to Kaya, a track I’m familiar with as I’ve cycled (ok, pushed my bike) up it many a time. Tony pointed out interesting flora and fauna, I pointed out where I’d left half the skin from my elbow when I fell off my bike on a too speedy descent.
The walk to Kaya took about 90 minutes and offered beautiful views over the harbour and bays along the way. We only saw one other person – a keen (insane?) runner who was running the same route while dressed in shorts, t-shirt and a jacket. Maybe he was expecting rain, I don’t know.
Once in Kaya we stopped for a refreshing çay, coke and breaded product before continuing onwards.
The Best Bit
The highlight of Kaya for me, and the route we took, was through the Ghost Village. A village that was abandoned in 1923 during a population exchange of Muslims and Christians between Greece and Turkey. Now it is an fascinating area to wander around and definitely worth a morning of your holiday. Kayaköy (to give it it’s full name) also offers plenty in the way of restaurants, cafes and bars for you to relax in after your walk and can easily be reached by dolmuş.
Once through the village we began our decent into Ölüdeniz. Despite the fact we had started early the sun was now getting a tad warm, my boots were rubbing, sweat was running into my eyes and I started fantasizing about the aforementioned dolmuş and wondering why I wasn’t on it.
Just One Cornetto
Finally, after about another two hours of going down hill, the lagoon came into view. Oh what a beautiful sight. Turquoise waves crashing against an almost empty beach, signs of civilisation and a shop where I could buy a Cornetto – heaven.
Thirty minutes later we eventually stopped at a beach bar in the centre of Ölüdeniz for a much needed coke and beer before doing the sensible thing and finally getting on a dolmuş to take us back to our respective homes.
And you know what? I loved it. Ok, I was hot, sweaty and my feet hurt but it had reminded me just how beautiful this region is, how much more it has to offer than simply sunbathing and places to eat and drink and how much I appreciate being able to live my life in this little corner of paradise.
Get Out And Explore
To that end – why not get out and take a look for yourself? There are local companies who offer walking tours, safaris, quad biking tours and even horse riding. But if you do decide to head out into the wilderness independently be warned; because the regular walking tracks haven’t been used much due to lockdown they have become overgrown and difficult to traverse in some places. Despite being with an experienced walker even we lost the track briefly so please don’t go walking completely on your own, tell people where you are going, make sure your phone is charged, take plenty of suncream and water, wear appropriate footwear and, if you can, go with someone who is familiar with the area.
But, most importantly, if someone agrees to take you for a walk, make sure you ask them what it was they mumbled earlier…