Day 19: Üzüm Iskelesi Beach to the Ruins of Aperlae

A night sleeping under the stars…is there anything more magical? Because of the tiny sliver of a moon we were treated to a blanket of stars all night. Every time we woke up we had to reorient ourselves because of the lack of a ceiling overhead. This was also the first morning in weeks we haven’t had some soreness from sleeping in the tent, and Warren said it was his best sleep in weeks.

It’s not so much that the tent is uncomfortable as it is that we have laid down for too many hours. We are tired at the end of our walks, and the cool night air or bugs/mosquitoes have kept us inside. And as much as we love our tent, it is not big enough to do much other than lay down to read, talk, or sleep. On the boat with friends and electricity we were able to easily stay up later than usual, which meant less time lying flat and less sore muscles.

So lucky we have two more nights of this! We woke before sunrise and and watched it come up as we ate our breakfast – fried eggs, tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese, and bread with jam and honey. And then Osman said, “Today, I think you will see turtles.” Now that is something that will make us want to hurry back to the boat!

Boat at sunrise on the Lycian Way

We saw our new friend Andreas packing up at the beach and waved to him as he left. Then we motored over in the dinghy to start our own walk just before 7 a.m.

Today was easy from an effort perspective – no great ascent or descent – but we did get a little lost amongst a field of rocks.

Walking to the water

Trail through the rocks

By reading our guidebook and checking Sherry’s GPS on her phone we started heading in the right direction and finally picked up the trail again. Because we’re trained to look for campsites we did find a few flat areas about an hour after our start near a clump of olive trees and a large carob tree. But tonight we’re sleeping on the boat!

Goats on the trail

The route goes near the town of Bogazcik, but it doesn’t actually go through it. So if you need supplies or water you’ll have to add time to your schedule to get it. Since we were all set, we just kept following the trail.

We arrived at the foot of the hill of the ruins of Apollonia. It was hot, and we chose not to make the climb to the top to see them. This is something we now regret, as Andreas told us they were magnificent.

As we finally started descending to the sea at lunchtime – way ahead of schedule despite getting lost – we came across another set of ruins at Aperlae, a city half sunk by an earthquake in ancient times. We walked through ruins of houses, graves, and sarcophagi. In fact, there are overturned sarcophagus lids littering the beach right next to a few lounge chairs!

Tombs at Aperlae

There is a pansiyon/cafe/campsite called Purple House, so named because it is where they used to produce the expensive Tyrian dye for the incredibly wealthy. You can also camp right on the beach for free amidst the ruins of Aperlae, which is what our new friend Andreas did.

The area is really quiet and peaceful, and we only saw 3 other people. We met Captain Osman at the beach and he motored us back to the boat. We immediately went for a swim and were surprised to find ourselves standing on old columns and ruins underneath the water. It was an eerie feeling to swim above the ruins of a sunken city.

We later saw Andreas on the beach and Osman invited him to join us for afternoon coffee, and we spent the rest of the day leisurely enjoying conversation, food, drink, and naps. We talked about the upcoming 3-day trek over the mountain before Fineke and Andreas told us he had quite a bit of mountaineering experience. He offered to walk it with us, and we gladly accepted. We hope this is reassuring to Sherry because we know she’s worried about being able to carry enough food and water during that time and still walk. She’s having a bit of trouble acclimating due to jet lag and still not sleeping well. It makes us really glad we were in this time zone for a week before starting the walk ourselves.

We watched a giant turtle swim by the boat just before a glorious sunset. Then Osman started a fire in the grill off the boat to prepare dinner. The site of the setting sun and the blazing fire of the grill were mesmerizing. As we were eating, we heard some unusual noises and Osman showed us how to spot the wild pigs rooting around on the shore and drinking from a fresh spring. We joked with Andreas that he’d have plenty of company in his tent! And with that, he departed to check his campsite and we looked forward to another night sleeping under the stars.

Sunset over the boat life ring

Tomorrow we have a short day – less than 4 hours estimated – so we will then explore the castle at Kale (pronounced: ka-lay) and then Osman will take us by boat to see the sunken city since diving and swimming is not permitted there. We could definitely get used to having a boat as our Lycian Way basecamp…at least until we get to the mountains.

Daily Stats

Where We Stayed

On Captain Osman’s boat, the Selin-3!

Hours Walked

5:20

Perks

Another day walking without heavy packs, walking through the ruins of Aperlae, gorgeous sea views, turtle spotting, stunning sunset, BBQ on the boat, and another night sleeping under the stars.

Problems

It was a little confusing to find the path after Apollonia. It’s stony and filled with meandering goat paths (and goats!). But we used Sherry’s GPS again to point us in the right direction of the trail and soon found it.