Day 31: The Ruins of Phaselis and the End of the Trail for Us

Sunrise on our last day of the Lycian Way

Sunrise on our last day of the Lycian Way

For the first time on this trip, we had a lazy morning on a walking day…lazy for early-morning walkers, that is. The waves lapping on shore were so peaceful, and we unzipped the door on the tent so we could lazily watch the sunrise. It was perfect.

The Turkish camper’s dog was frolicking on the beach, and we admired his energy. We took photographs and talked softly in the tent until we heard Sherry moving around. Today felt different than the other days, and we couldn’t quite put our finger on what it was.

Instead of eating breakfast right away, we decided to walk to the next beach or find a table at the ruins of Phaselis. It was only a short distance away. We walked over the small hill to the next beach, which if anything was even more perfect than the one we stayed on. It also had great areas for camping (see, we can’t stop looking!).

We walked a bit further and saw the ticket booth for Phaselis, but no one was in it. It opened at 8:30 a.m., but since there were no barriers to entry and we were 30 minutes early, we walked in.

Phaselis was astounding. There was a wide avenue that made us feel like we were properly walking into the city ourselves. We could just imagine how the city worked in ancient times. It is well preserved.

We found a spot to stop and have our breakfast, and we wondered how many people had leaned up against those very rocks to have a conversation or share a snack over the centuries. Of all the ruins we’ve seen on this walk, this one brought the whole Lycian way of living to life. In the early-morning quiet of these deserted ruins, we felt like we had come full circle on this walk.

Breakfast at Phaselis

It’s a feeling that has been percolating for a couple of days now. We dropped Sherry off at the bus stop at the entrance to Phaselis as we followed the marks up to the highway to continue our walk. We kept talking about what we had done and seen so far and how much we enjoyed our camp spot last night and breakfast at the ruins today.

And then we thought about the next few days of walking inland and how we really weren’t excited by it. As we walked on this busy highway, which was a drastic shift to the mood after the peaceful ruins of Phaselis, we kept looking for a mark to turn left. We walked for half an hour, dodging traffic and quickly losing the zen we felt so fully just an hour before.

Finally, we got frustrated and stopped on the side of the road. Is it more important to finish the walk or to know when it’s a good time to stop? We were feeling pretty negative about the rest of the walk, especially when faced with yet another poorly-marked section, and decided to call it an end.

The ruins of Phaselis are a perfect end to this walk through history and the last ruins of the route, so we took it. We continued down the road to Çamyuva, where we soon flagged down a dolmuş to Antalya.

It was weird to wake up in a tent ready to walk and to end up a short time later on a bus heading back to Antalya…to a hotel, to our laptops, and to civilization. But it felt right.

The Lycian Way has been a great adventure for us, a physical and mental challenge, an exercise in teamwork, and an education. We’ve camped, stayed with Turkish families, rented rooms in pansiyons, slept on boats, and even managed to get through a big storm without a proper shelter.

We’ve enjoyed the hospitality of the Turkish people, eaten more than our fair share of pomegranates, touched the artifacts of history, made new friends, and walked some of the most beautiful land we’ve ever seen.

It’s been an amazing journey, both physically and emotionally, and we hope you’ll consider walking this incredible stretch of history yourself. Just don’t forget your GPS!

Last steps

Last day of the hike outside of Phaselis

Daily Stats

Where We Stayed

Sabah Pansiyon in Antalya, Turkey

Hours Walked

2:00

Perks

Laid-back morning watching the sunrise, breakfast at the fantastic ruins of Phaselis, knowing when you’ve reached the end, and the ease of finding a dolmuş when you need one.

Problems

Finding the marks was again a problem, especially since it put us on the highway for so long, but this time it was just the final signal that we were really done.