Day 30: Çıralı to just past Tekirova

Ramazan opened the kitchen up for us so we could enjoy hot coffee before we left at the crack of dawn. Today’s route was estimated to be 8 hours, so we didn’t want to waste precious daylight hours. The sunset at 4:30 p.m. definitely means no lazy mornings if you want to make it to the next destination before dark!

Pebbles on a beach at Cirali

Today’s walk was terrific. The book mentioned it was only uphill for part of the way and mostly down, which is untrue. It is instead and meandering path from deserted beach to rocky headland, going up and down all day but always with the reward of great views, private beaches, and plenty of trees.

Sunrise out over Cirali

As we walked, we talked about how we were going to ease back into regular life after a month offline and away from our daily comforts and routines. We wanted to keep this zen with us all the time while still enjoying perks like hot water and soft beds! It was a weird feeling knowing this walk is coming to an end soon and wondering how we’ll process all that we’ve experienced and learned and use it going forward in our lives.

The road to Tekirova View of Mount Olympus

We stopped to have lunch on one of the beaches and met a group of German and Austrian day trippers. We were surprised to learn from them that we were just 1-1/2 hours away from Tekirova at this point.

We finally arrived in Tekirova, which is a fairly sterile-looking resort area with big hotels/apartments and shopping and lots of white tour buses parked outside. Many of the shop signs are also in Russian, and many of the store advertisements feature models who look Russian and modeling furs (weird to see in a beach town in Turkey), so this must be part of the route for Russian tour groups.

It was pretty quiet mid-afternoon, and it took us a while to find an open restaurant. Once we did, we sat at an outdoor table and were immediately greeted by half a dozen cats. We talked about what a great day of walking it had been for Sherry’s last day as the cats began to multiply even more.

By the time we finished eating, we had an audience of cats. Because we didn’t feed them, the mangiest one walked over to Warren’s bag and left him a little present. This is the downside to having so many stray cats around…they have to pee somewhere! Thankfully most of it hit the ground instead of the pack and we quickly cleaned it off.

The market next door was a good resupply station, and we began walking out of town to the beach to camp for the  night. We were going to try the SUndance Camp recommended in the book and then Sherry was going to stay on an extra night before heading to Antalya to meet us at the end. The instructions to Sundance and the trail were very confusing, and if we hadn’t had Sherry’s GPS we might not have found it before dark.

Terrible marks on the trail

Terrible marks on the trail

We had to go behind houses and past a ramshackle pen with a half-bear looking dog howling and pulling at his chain after us. The marks we did find were so faded as to be almost invisible.

We finally reached Sundance after about 45 minutes of walking from Tekirova center. It’s a little more run down than we expected, and we had to search around for someone who worked there after being greeted by barking dogs. We were surprised to find that the rates to camp were 57 lira per person (about $28.50). The rate included breakfast and dinner buffets. The bungalows on site were even more expensive. We quickly decided that we weren’t going to pay $57 (for two) to camp in our own tent, especially when we already had food, so we kept walking.

Night was coming, and we hoped to find camping nearby. Lucky for us, the almost-deserted beach just 10 minutes past Sundance has great camping spots, and we set up our tents. The evening was warm, and we rolled up our pants and walked to the sea to soak our feet. We talked about all the great sights of the day and enjoyed the relaxation that comes from being in such a perfect place at the perfect time.

Camping on the beach

After sunset, we sat on rocks near our tents and talked in the darkness. We met a Turkish man who was also camping on the beach with his dog and kayaking along the coast. Then an Australian couple who just finished biking from France to Turkey stopped by on their way back from the ruins at Phaselis (tomorrow’s destination). They complimented us on our perfect camp spot and we spent an enjoyable half hour hearing about their adventures.

As we turned in for the night, we could hear the water lapping against the shore in a steady rhythm. Warren joked that people buy sound machines to play this exact noise to lull them to sleep, and we were getting it live.

This was a terrific day of walking, and we’re starting to realize this walk is almost over and we’ll be returning to modern civilization soon.

Daily Stats

Where We Stayed

Camping on the beach about 45 minutes past Tekirova

Hours Walked

7:30

Perks

Gorgeous scenery all day along a good path. We found the perfect camp spot on the beach and were able to dip our feet before bed. No mosquitoes, so we could stay up talking into the night.

Problems

There were very few markings, but since it followed a road for the most part we didn’t have to worry about it too much. From Tekirova to our camp spot was difficult to follow due to missing or faded marks, and the trail is actually a little iffy looking as you go behind people’s houses and through an area guarded by a chained dog.