Friday, August 10, 2012


We have met some amazing people from all over the world. Here are the countries that have been represented so far;
  • England
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Republic of Iraq
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Costa Rica
  • Brazil
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Argentina
  • South Africa
  • France
  • New Zealand
  • Germany
  • Poland
  • India
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Netherlands

Monday, August 6, 2012

My new camera...second time "wound"

This is a post in the works. As mentioned, my digital camera is hanging out with lost shoes, hats, watches and fellow cameras on a cliff hillside in Olduenız. Fear not, I have just purchased a brand new, top of the line, KODAK Ultra 27...wıth flash! (after 8 seconds of course). I already filled up one and have decided that with this new dısposable camera I will attempt to take just 1 or 2 photos a day. When you can clıck away and edit on digital cameras you dont have to be selective. I no longer have that luxury and will try to make the most of it by pretending that this was my genius, take the scenery in, plan and you will painlessly only have 27 photos to view!

Butterfly Valley Bliss

Our next stop after Fethiye was Butterfly Valley, a much less developed more pristine stop on the Lycian Way. Our dolmus slowly drove up and up until out of the overpacked windows, drop dead (literally) gorgeous views of the ocean were revealed. I want to say that I was cool, calm and collective as we wound our way up the narrow, guard rail free cliff side but my overly sweaty palms said otherwise...ew! The ride all together took less than 30 minutes but I was thankful to be in control of my own steps as we got off the bus. Our friends had suggested that we stay at Montenegro Motel and we were not disappointed! The laid back hotel manager Bayram showed us to the charming air conditioned bungalows equipped with their own furnished patıo. The best part of Montenegro was still to come, a traditional Turkish breakfast and dinner was included in the price. We weren't sure what to expect but obediently went to the restaurant balcony at 8 p.m. Just in time for sunset, we watched in awe at the seemingly fake sun as it slowly hid behind the mountains ahead. We were surrounded by cliffs on 3 sides and the ocean. Then came dinner...all 5 mouth-watering, carb-loaded courses. First the soup, then salad, then some fancy French word that starts with an "a" that I can´t spell, next the main course and fınally dessert. The food was amazing and the homemade bread was worth every calorie.
The next day we decided to make the trek down to Butterfly Valley (i guess we were technically on the valley´s cliff side). We had heard that the hike could be potentially dangerous. We decided to consult a local and asked Bayram. He was not convincing either way but asked to examine our shoes. Showing him our dusty,trusty, tread free TOMS, he gave us a kiss of approval and we were on our way. "Just follow the red," he yelled after us. As we approached the cliff side I realized that this was not going to be an easy hike. Greg, fearless as always, led the way. Easy enough at first, just a few steep steps and lose dirt. Then came the ropes. Greg and I had been rock climbing on a cliff wall in Santa Barbara. I felt confident that I could fınd some good features and sturdy rocks to cling to in a general "rock climbing" kind of way. But the catch was...there was no belay or harness. Just cliff, a rope tied to a tree branch and my seemıngly always sweaty palms. Greg volunteered to go first. I followed trying hard not to look down or up for that matter. Yikes! There were a few more sections of the trail like that but the hike really was amazing. We even stopped to enjoy our own echhhooo...echo...echo.
When we fınally reach the ground the water was gorgeous and the beach was almost empty. It was worth the work. We swam, enjoyed a bag of overpriced chips and looked for cool rocks (ok so mainly me on the last one..thanks mom). Although I dıdn´t see a single butterfly the adrenaline of the hike mıxed wıth the ıncredible scenery made me feel that we had stumbled on a secret piece of paradise. Of course we still had to go back up which proved scarıer at times than on the way down. Later we got a hold of someone´s Lonely Planet and flipped to Butterfly Valley. Turns out numerous tourist have met their end on the hike down to Butterfly Valley. Ignorance can be bliss.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Flying and Crying

I have not kept up with updates so now I’ll have to hop around a bit (and out of order!)

We were lucky enough to spend a lot of time on the Lycian Way although thankfully not hiking it as originally planned. First we went to Fethiye and spent time exploring the city, marina and making friends. Many of the friends we made were met on the bus ride from Pamukkale (more on that later!) Fethiye is home to spectacular rock tombs built into the side of the mountain. It’s unreal to think that thousands of years ago without today's tools, people were able to create building inside of cliff sides. The following day, and thanks to Greg's expert negotiating skills, we opted to take a 12 Island Tour (for 1/2 the cost) with our new friends from the bus and hostel, 3 Korean girls and 1 South African bra. Although I think we saw more like 6 islands it was an ideal day. We swam in the cool blue waters, hiked on uninhabited islands and took turns jumping off the top of the boat when docked. One of the girls, who admittedly didn't know how to swim, bravely climbed to the top of the boat where the platform was and sweaty hands holding, we jumped into the water below that seemed much farther away when looking down. Once back on shore the girls and I contemplated visiting neighboring Oludeniz famous for their Paragliding. With nervous smiles we agreed to give it a try. The guys, no nerves at all, agreed.

FLYING: Although I was excited and eager to take the leap and paraglide nerves were mounting as we waited over 4 hours safely on the ground in Oludeniz. Finally our bus to take us to the top of the mountain arrived. Unfortunately, it didn't help. Our driver, who either had too much Raki or was sensitive to high altitude and lacked sufficient oxygen to the brain, drove like a complete maniac. Driving entirely too fast with no guard rails on a gravel one-lane road, I tried to ignore the feeling of the back tires loosing all grip. As a whole we asked him to slow down...apparently a challenge to go faster. I was ironically so thankful to reach the top I could hardly wait to jump off the cliff. I met my "pilot" Atilla who gave me the instructions to walk when he says walk and run when he says run. The whole harness process taking less than 5 minutes, it wasn't long until he said it...RUN! At that we were gliding through the air with breathtaking scenery below us. It was INCREDIBLE! The beaches, the oceans, the mountains, all from a bird's eye view. It was picture perfect.
CRYING: In fact it was so picture perfect that I quickly grabbed for my camera to take a was not there. The rush of adrenaline mixed with the disappointment of losing all my pictures from the last 2 months (I tried to back my camera up in Zanzibar but it didn't work) was a polar opposite mix of emotions. I laughed, I held back tears (at least until we landed) and I did my best to enjoy the rest of the descent. Atilla made this quite easy as we did air acrobatics and spun until the skin on my cheeks shook and my head couldn't move from the force.

Despite our reckless driver and losing my camera, Paragliding was well worth it! The scenery of soft blue, white and green is an image I won't forget. The feeling of floating through the air and then later spinning through it is something I will always remember!