After living our new life for one year, Baz and I wanted to thank our followers and figured that we had received enough questions via our social media ‘homes’ that we could put together a Q&A session.
One thing Baz suggested was to keep it more interesting that we could visit different locations and answer a couple of questions at each one. Not only would it be less boring just watching two talking heads, but everyone would get to see some of the places that we’ve been fortunate enough to visit while we’ve been based in Kaş.
I won’t go into the ins and outs of the questions because you’ll be able to see them on this week’s YouTube video. But I’ll give you a little idea of what each place was like to visit.
In the harbour on our boat – Kaş harbour on our yacht was the easiest location to visit as we literally only had to step up the companionway steps and negotiate the side deck! We just had to ensure that the sun was in the right place, so we were well lit, didn’t have too many shadows on our faces, and also had a decent backdrop behind us. This location was an interesting backdrop because as well as seeing the side of one of the tourist gullets and the architecture of some of the houses that face the harbour, you can also glimpse the mountain that sits snugly behind like a protective giant. One Q&A session sees us sitting in the saloon discussing a rather interesting ‘alien’!
Smiley's restaurant – another easy location for us to get to as it is just a walk around the harbour to the bottom of the main street. Smiley’s as you’ll have realised by now if you’ve read more of our blogs or watched some of our YouTube videos, is like a home away from home in many ways. Not only are Smiley and his wife Serpil very helpful at providing information or contacts for pretty much anything a person needs, the staff are genuinely lovely and welcoming.
As a location, Smiley’s restaurant is a treasure trove of visual delights. From the chillies drying in strands hanging from the ceiling rafters, to the colourful flags and tables and chairs behind, it was a very colourful place to film a couple of questions. Unfortunately, we weren’t aware that our microphone would pick up the background music quite so well, so the audio levels aren’t quite as clear on these sessions as we’d have liked.
The local amphitheatre – Kaş amphitheatre is about a 15 minutes’ walk from our boat past Smiley’s restaurant and the Hellenistic temple ruins (that we featured in a YouTube video Episode 48 along with the amphitheatre). This 2nd Century BC amphitheatre built out of local stones is nestled in the hills with olive trees. I love visiting this ancient place as it sits quietly overlooking the bright blue Mediterranean Sea, with the Greek island of Meis a mere 4 nautical miles off shore, visible on the horizon. The view itself is beautiful and there is a peacefulness emanating from the surrounding hills that make this a special place to visit. I’m glad we answered a couple of questions here.
Gömbe’s snow covered mountains – We wanted to bring you snow. We could see it on the distant mountains from the roads between Fethiye, Kaş and Kemer, and it called to us, like moths to an icy flame. The week we hired the car so we could go to Kemer to finalise our residency applications, we made the most of our wheels and visited as many sites as we could.
Early one morning, armed with a tourist map, we headed inland towards the mountain town of Gömbe. The mountain road twisted and turned higher and higher, passing through little villages, and occasionally we had to slow for a handful of goats nibbling various tasty greens along the roadside. On one occasion, we passed a goatherd herding his animals into a field, carrying a rifle slung over his shoulder. Baz and I jokingly bantered that he must be protecting them from bears!
"Maybe porcupines," I chuckled. We'd seen evidence of a porcupine shedding its quills a couple of days earlier. “Or maybe its wolves,”
“Are there bears in Turkey?” I asked, suddenly curious as to the real reason this man was carrying a gun.
“Not sure,” Baz replied. We didn’t know just how close we were to discovering the answer to that question!
As we travelled, the trees changed from dry Mediterranean palms and olives to pines and then as we left the verdant fields behind, silver blue fir trees took their place, showing we’d arrived at the colder elevation.
We stopped at Gömbe, thankful to find the town’s petrol station as we were getting low in the fuel department. Baz filled up, paid and hopped back in the car. As he stopped at the garage exit, he checked the rear view mirror.
“Hey! We’ve got a stow-away!”
I looked round to see a cat, snugly curled on the back window ledge.
“Where did that come from?” Baz and I stared at each other bemused. As we looked back at the cat, we noticed the fuel station guy grinning and coming towards our car, motioning that it was his cat.
“Wow, lucky,” Baz said. “We could have taken that cat for miles and then not realised where we’d picked it up!”
“It was bloody fast,” I grinned. “You opened and shut your door really fast. I’ll bet this isn’t the first time it’s snuck into someone’s car!”
We drove out of Gömbe towards the snow covered mountains behind the town. Of course, all mountain roads twist and turn, and we followed several up and around nearby hills, through farms and along country lanes before we found the right road that took us to the snow. So more by luck than good judgment, about an hour after leaving Gömbe, we rumbled up a rocky road towards the line of snow that tantalised us in the near distance.
The hire car was a bit of an unknown in terms of how it would manoeuvre on the icy, unmade, elevated track that didn’t have any safety rail between us and the sheer drop down the mountain. So Baz turned the car around and parked just beneath the snow line. From there we got our warm foul weather jackets, scarves, gloves and beanies on – and I even donned a pair of gumboots. We hiked a short way up to where the snow was thicker and, before the sun sank behind the mountain, we filmed our Q&A session. I also had an attempt at making my first snow angel, but the snow was too compacted and my arms just flapped over the top of it like a fish out of water!
On the way back to the car we saw some interesting paw prints, that looked like cat prints. We hopped into the car and had just pulled onto the dirt road when I spotted a large footprint in the snow beside the car.
“Stop Baz! What’s that?” Baz pulled the car to a halt.
We both went to examine the print. It actually looked like a large hominid print, with a big heel, round ball of the foot and with toes at the front. It was huge.
“Well it’s not a Yeti!” Baz said. “It’s got to be a bear print.”
“That’s one massive bear,” I speculated. “Jeez, I’m glad we didn’t see this before we did our Q&A session!”
I quickly took a couple of photos on my phone and, just in case it was a bear print, we hastened back to the car.
Researching back at the boat confirmed that there is a small wildcat, called the caracal or Persian Lynx, that survives today in small numbers in the mountains. And there is indeed a brown bear that lives in the region. One of Barry’s Canadian friends confirmed the large print to be a composite of front and back paw prints together. We were amazed that we’d seen evidence of these endangered animals, and also a tad relieved we hadn’t met the owners of the prints.
Pinara – I have to say, that of all of the ancient sites we’ve visited, Pinara is the one that has touched me at a deep level. It is situated close to the coast, not far from Fethiye, about 6Km off the main highway up a ubiquitous twisting mountain road. As we climbed, the views of the distant mountains peaking around the corners were stunning. The last 2-3Km are on an unmade road and when Baz and I drove up there after a week of rain, the last kilometre was too muddy with deep rain-washed crevices that proved a tad too “unmade” for our little hire car. Baz backed the car to a safe grassy patch on a bend in the side of the road and, taking our cameras and backpacks, we hiked the last kilometre down a rise towards Pinara. A steep mountain rose out of the trees in the distance ahead and we could see dozens of open tombs carved into the sheer cliff, giving the appearance of glassless apartment windows.
As we walked, dodging the muddy patches, we speculated on how the Lycians had accomplished this feat. After a few minutes we arrived at the entrance which had a sign that gave a short history and a few other signs pointing to various tombs, an amphitheatre, temple and other ruins. There was no-one else there. The little entrance kiosk was empty and the only sound was that of water flowing gently nearby.
My first impressions of this place were influenced, not by the grand cliff tombs, but by the ancient glade of trees, set in rocks with a stream tumbling past. A small concrete bridge took us to the first of the tombs situated more or less at ground level, which were impressive in that they were carved completely from the rock. Exploring the area further, Baz and I came across fallen columns from a temple – scattered where they’d fallen, in green grass, surrounded by trees on the hillside. The most amazing aspect about these columns – they were heart shaped! I’d seen one piece of a column a couple of days earlier at Patara, but this whole temple had had heart shaped supports. I really wished I could have met those Lycians.
We climbed through the grassy rocks up the hillside, discovering other ruins, and then descended, and crossed the dirt road to look over a vale that contained ruins and settled in the hillside opposite, was an amphitheatre.
Baz got out his drone and while he took aerial footage, I sat on a large flat carved block, overlooking the valley, allowing my imagination to wander back through time to when this place was a vibrant hub of activity.
Leaving Pinara several hours after we’d arrived, Baz and I confirmed how much we both appreciated this place. For me, there was a peaceful strength that exuded from the hills itself, that enhanced the beauty of the ancient ruins and added a dimension that I hadn’t experienced in the other Lycian ruins we’d previously visited. If I ever discover how to travel back in time, Pinara is definitely on my visit list!
It was great to be able to bring you Q&A sessions with two different backdrops in Pinara. One location has the beautiful snow covered mountains in the distance, and the other has one of the amazingly ancient carved Lycian tombs just behind us.
Jens’ yacht - Christmas Eve in a foreign country can be a little lonely, but we’ve been fortunate enough to meet some wonderful travelling companions while we’ve been here. I say “travelling” rather than “sailing” because some of our new friends are making long journeys overland in awesome purpose built trucks. Two of these friends are Dagmar and Oliver, who we met for the first time on Jens’ boat Dilly Dally. He invited us, along with friends we already knew – Mark and Ruth – to celebrate Christmas Eve on board his yacht, anchored at the nearby bay of Limanagzi. We had an absolute ball on board, being joined by two other yachts that rafted alongside of us, and you can see all about it in our YouTube video Episode 50!
While everyone else was chatting over drinkypoos in the cockpit, Baz and I snuck forward and sat on the forward deck, answering a couple of questions. Limanagzi is the perfect anchorage setting to give you an idea of how beautiful the bays are in Turkey. Halfway through there was a tap-tap-tapping from below us! We opened the forward hatch, looked down and there was Mark, standing on Jens’ bed, offering Baz a cold beer! We’ve kept that bit in this week’s video!
I hope that you enjoy the experience on today’s blog, and also on our YouTube video this Saturday. As I type this, I’m sitting in Dagmar and Oliver’s apartment with a makeshift office that Baz has put together. Dagmar and Oliver are out for the day and they’ve very kindly invited us to spend the day here and use their washing machine to wash our laundry. Thanks guys, we very much appreciate that!
So, until next time, if you have a washing machine, remember to give it a little “thank you” next time you’re passing. It’s amazing how much you miss them when you don’t have one!
Link to Aannsha’s next blog