This is a small town where the ferries arrive. We stayed in a pension overlooking the marina which was lovely. On our first morning we were wondering along the marina when we were asked if we wanted to join a boat trip for the day departing in 25 minutes. It was a great price so we jumped at the chance, after grabbing our bags in a mad dash! The boat trip was brilliant, the weather was sunny without a cloud in the sky, and our boat had a slide on it which ended in the sea, and sunloungers on the roof! We sailed to about 6 different islands, with time for a swim, lie down on the beach or walk at each of them. The scenery was stunning, and the crowd of over-excited boisterous guys on board made it a very entertaining day!!
We also spent some time exploring the town of Fethiye and the views overlooking the harbour.
We had heard, from other travellers, about the spectacular white calcite covered hills and shelves that have warm mineral rich waters flowing through them at Pamukkale . It was always a certainty that we were coming here to check it out… and it did not disappoint!
With the one 20 Lira ticket, you can walk amongst the white terraces that are filled with the warm thermal springs. We spent ages walking slowly up the hill which had a steady film of water trickling over, stopping for photos and a swim in one of the crystal clear hot springs. It was a good thing we thought to head out early to see it, as by 11am the bus loads of day trippers from the coast had arrived.
It was then time for us to move onto the second site: the ancient roman ruins of Hierapolis. We are definitely not ones who go crazy for ruins (after seeing the colosseum in Rome we thought no other ruins could beat that..) so we weren’t expecting much. We were amazed to find a really impressive amphitheatre that has been mostly restored by archaeologists. We walked all around the ruins and took in the great views across the valley.
On our last night we ate with a lovely and interesting couple we had been with since Fethiye, Jonathan (of French-Canadian) and Amanda (from Taiwan) which was a great way to end a great day.
Our accommodation in Kas was the best digs we’ve had in a while. The guesthouse was family run and they were really nice people, who also put on a great Turkish breakfast.
Kas is the main centre for diving in Turkey – the reason we paid it a visit. Ian booked onto a boat heading out for two dives, (his first Mediterranean dive) and they even invited Danielle to join them on the boat for free! Both dives were good, with visibility of about 40 meters, but the highlight was on the second dive, exploring a plane wreck (an old American paratrooper plane from WW2 – sank for the purpose of diving two years ago). The weather was hot and the water was crystal clear.
During the rest of our time in Kas, as usual, we walked around the town and marina, explored some nearby ruins including a mostly restored Amphitheatre, took in the views and enjoyed some local food.
We had just one night here to break-up our journey to our next destination. Alanya is a tourist haven where the coastal strip is lined with hotels and resorts. We didn’t arrive until around 4.00pm, but still had time for a dip in the sea before returning to our apartment which, thanks to the low-season, we bagged for an unbelievably cheap price!
Our next destination was Kizklesi, which we had read “boasts one of the regions loveliest beaches” and a castle which seems to be floating at sea. Perhaps we have been spoilt with so many beautiful beaches already, or perhaps as this place felt like a ghost town with barely anybody around, we were a little disappointed. We managed to get a beach-fronted hotel with ocean view balcony for super cheap, and we enjoyed chilling on the (rather deserted) beach, but we were pleased to have just two nights here.
A short drive out of town were several caves which we visited, the “Chasm of Heaven” an underground cavern 200m long, and 70m deep reached by 450 steps! And the “Gorge of Hell” with almost vertical walls and a viewing platform overlooking the 120m-deep pit.
It was nice to relax here, but we were very excited to continue on to make our way to Cappadocia.
Another early start for us, as we needed to get a Dolmus (local minibus) to the nearest city, Mersin by 10am, which was over an hour away. When our attempts to get onto the next bus were repeatedly stopped, one of the crew showed us the time on his watch – which to our confusion was an hour earlier than our watch – daylight savings had finished two days ago..! He then proceeded to broadcast our mistake to all the people around us, who all found it equally as funny.
We finally started our 7 hour bus journey to Cappadocia. Some of the buses in Turkey are so good, like being on a plane – each seat has its own built-in TV screen, and throughout the journey a crew member hands out hand sanitiser, tea, coffee, coke, water and refreshments – free of charge!
Our accommodation was in Gorome, a town in the centre of the Cappadocia region, which is famous for its caves and ‘fairy chimneys’. We actually stayed in a cave ourselves – it was really cosy and a cool novelty.
The landscape around Cappadocia was surreal – formed by volcanoes thousands of years ago followed by erosion and weathering. We explored the town of Gorome and one of the nearby valleys – Rose Valley on foot. On another day, we booked onto a day tour that took us to the Derinkuyu underground city, it is about 85m deep over 16 floors (the public can visit 8 of them). It was built during the 5th-10th centuries when it was used to hide Christians during enemy attacks. The day trip also stopped in at number of other amazing sites in the region. Unfortunately for Ian, he got very ill the night before this, probably from dodgy food, so this day was struggled through rather than appreciated!
We ended up getting a cheap flight from Cappadocia to Istanbul which gave us extra time there. This was a great thing as we were able to take it easy and see a few different things each day while we were there.
Some of the highlights were the first sight of the imposing Blue Mosque, walking across the Galata Bridge past the fisherman to explore the Beyoglu side of town, shopping in the Grand Bazzar and the Spice Markets and eating fish sandwiches with the locals by the river.
On our last night we met up with a Syrian guy called Yahya who we were originally going to stay with (through Couch Surfing), but we learnt that his house was plenty full enough without us! We went round to his house to meet and chat with him and his friends (he had 4 friends from Syria who had fled the war staying with him, an American flatmate, and some other friends from Turkey and Saudi Arabia. We each brought food to cook and share which was great and spent the night chatting, learning and laughing.
Istanbul was our last stop before flying to England and then to South America.
See next: South America