Day 25: (almost) Belos to Finike

At 5:30 a.m. we awoke to flashes of light. Perhaps it was Andreas with his head lamp in his tent? Unfortunately, no. It was lightning and light sprinkle of rain.

We quickly hurried out of the tent and began breaking down camp. We knew from our last storm in Alinca (plus camping in Scotland on our practice hike) what a pain it is to have a wet tent. The rain stayed light, and we were lucky to get it packed up properly.

After a quick breakfast, we set out. We knew today’s walking could be slower because the rain makes rocks so much more slippery, especially going downhill. We had 1.5 liters of water between the two of us, an estimated 6 hours of walking to Finike, and now rain to contend with. It looked like the start to a challenging day, especially if we had to factor in lightning and heavier rain.

We set off at 6:50 a.m., all of us joking about the coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice we wanted for breakfast (Finike is the orange growing capital of Turkey).

It was longer to Belos than we thought, and we were glad we didn’t try to keep going the night before to make camp. We took a 30-minute diversion across a valley when we again lost our marks. It is so difficult to follow this trail sometimes without a proper ordnance map. We have to rely completely on the general directions in the book and the painted marks, and sometimes Mother Nature, the sun, and human intervention (or lack of) have conspired to make this nearly impossible. Having a compass and someone really good with directions (Warren) makes it quick work to get back on track or find a workaround, but still we think a GPS is probably a requirement on this walk more than a luxury as the book states.

Sarcophagus at Bellos

We finally found Belos, and it was a spooky place of overturned sarcophagi and ruined buildings. The rain began falling more steadily as we walked through, and the rocks underfoot became dangerously slick, especially with full backpacks. The path from Belos to the road is made up of rocks, but the trail is well-defined and easy to manage, even in wet conditions if you take a little extra care. The downside to this is that we were often looking down instead of around and had to remind ourselves to stop every so often and take in the view, which was still good even with the light rain falling.

We decided to follow the trail to the next intersection of the road and follow it to Finike instead. The entire Lycian Way is rocky, and rain means quite a bit more risk than usual. And since the roads themselves are still quite often remote and rarely traveled, it still makes for a good walk to use them when necessary.

We eventually saw Finike in the distance, and it took us about an hour down the steep hairpins of the road to get there. It wasn’t a difficult walk, but we were all feeling it in our hips, knees, and feet!

View down the road to Finike

When we got to the mosque we stopped for water but there was none (a first), so we kept going. Andreas spotted a quaint little side street to the right with cafes and suggested a proper breakfast and we quickly agreed, remembering our morning requests for coffee and orange juice at camp.

The cafe was called Neseli, and it was part of a complex of businesses of the same name on the street selling bread, tea, fish, and other foods. The owner formerly lived in Germany for a number of years and spoke to Andreas. We were seated in the back

room of this cute restaurant  and were serenaded with beautiful music on the stereo. We could have been sipping coffee in Vienna, it was so picturesque.

The waiter brought out an array of cheese, jam, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, flauta-like cheese and dill rolls (sigari boregi), bread, honey, and salsa for our breakfast, along with tea and coffee. It was so beautiful we could have cried. In fact, Andreas stood on his chair to take an ariel picture!

Best breakfast of the Lycian Way

As we were eating the rain stopped and the waiter hit a button to retract the roof. Could this get any better? We think not.

It was the perfect end to a strenuous hike as well as to say goodbye to Andreas, who was moving on.

We walked a couple of blocks to the Paris Pansiyon to meet up with Sherry. As we were taking the stairs far up the hill to our room, we laughed that Sherry must be playing a cruel joke on us to book a room at this altitude after the past 2 days of walking! The room was fine, but what we liked the most about this pansiyon was that the owner is obviously the Cat Man of Finike. When he’s out, cats sit by his office door or underneath the cars parked out front waiting. When he’s there, they are in and out of his office. He always has food and water for them. It’s quite a thing to see!

Sherry told us they had a huge downpour of rain the night before and that morning in Finike, and she worried about us on the mountain. And we told her it was just light rain all the way through, so we definitely got lucky on the weather.

We aired out our sleeping bags and tent on the balcony of our room, washed the worst of the mud off our pants in the sink, and then later joined Sherry for an excellent meal of döner from Mavi across the street before turning in to rest up for our walk to the lighthouse at Gelidonya tomorrow.

Daily Stats

Where We Stayed

Paris Pansiyon, a clean and budget-friendly hotel. The office is a storefront on the street and the rooms are either in the building nearby or up the long flight of stairs up the hill. (Unfortunately, we can’t find a website for it, but it is across from the fountain and very near the Neseli Cafe where we ate breakfast.)

Hours Walked

4:25

Perks

Ruins at Belos, breakfast at Neseli, a warm send-off to our new friend Andreas, a clean bed and shower, and a place to wash and dry out our muddy clothes and gear from the mountain, a big meal of döner for dinner.

Problems

The rain made it really slick to walk downhill on the rocks next to the cliff, so we took the road for the final portion of today’s route. Not a big problem really, and we’re fortunate the storm never got worse than a steady sprinkle. It also meant that we arrived sooner than expected, which was welcome since we were low on water.