Day 5: Sidyma to Pydnai Ruins

Trail out of Sidyma

We left Jimal’s and his family bright and early to begin walking toward Gavuragili. The rain let up in the night and we had blue skies with a slight breeze, which we hoped would help dry Warren’s still-damp shoes.

We passed another set of ruins with a small group of campers within as we were leaving the village. They must have had pretty good protection there, and it looked like a great camping spot, though we were happy to have been out of the rain at Jamil’s house.

We continued walking to the village of Bel through a pine forest and then on roads until just after the village. It was stunning and unspoiled and such a welcome sight after yesterday’s rain. At the top of the hill after Bel we saw an old cistern and an olive grove surrounded by pine trees. This would be an excellent camp site as well if you had provisions. Why do we always find great camp sites when we aren’t ready to stop?

As we made our way through the pine trees we came to the overlook to the beach far below and it was breathtaking. It was a precarious and long climb down over the rocks to get there. Betsy fell at one point, catching herself with her poles, and getting a nasty bruise on her thigh and a thick and bloody scrape across the elbow. You really have to step confidently and pay attention when walking down these rocks.

View out over the sea

We arrived in the village of Gavuragili, which seemed deserted. There are a few really nice-looking pansiyons, but the gates were locked and there were no people about. We continued walking toward the beach and found a great camp spot overlooking the water, but we were a little gun-shy after our last similar camping spot almost got us blown out to sea. To add to our discomfort, there was an empty chain tied to a tree, scattered bones, and a pile of dog poop. Had someone been keeping a dog here…and was it returning?

We decided to descend the road into the actual beach and lower part of the village. We found abandoned ramshackle houses and fields of poorly tended olive trees. The guidebook said most of the population had moved to Patara to work in the greenhouses, and we talked about how much we enjoyed seeing ancient ruins while recent ruins sorta creeped us out.

Poles over the sea

After a brief stop for lunch, we decided to keep going and hopefully find some food and a camp spot near the ruins of Pydmai, and old fortress. We were immediately rewarded with a stunning view of the sea as we made our way over the hill and had a gorgeous 1-hour walk to Pydmai. It was hot and late in the afternoon, and saw a prominent sign for a restaurant just 400 meters past the ruins.

We arrived at a rickety bridge leading to a restaurant with outdoor tables, a broad parking/camping area to the side, and sheep and ducks wandering around. There were also several greenhouses behind.

We climbed over the bridge with the intention of eating and then going back to Pydmai to camp, but the owner of the restaurant let us camp there for free and use the bathrooms/shower as long as we ate there, so we made camp for the night and enjoyed the luxury of having light after dark, chairs to sit in, and food and drink upon request.

Daily Stats

Where We Stayed

Free campground 400 meters past the ruins of Pydnai next to a restaurant and stream (you can’t miss the sign).

Hours Walked

6:10

Perks

Additional ruins at Sidyma on the way out of town were much better appreciated in the sunshine (you could even camp there). Gorgeous pine forest and stunning views over the water below after Bel. Another visual treat after climbing up from the beach at Gavuragili. Hot food and cold beer plus free camping just past the ruins of Pydmai.

Problems

The steep descent after the olive grove and pine tree area is steep and not for the faint of heart. Betsy fell on her knee at one point and banged up her elbow pretty good. We took more time descending here than we would normally take. The city of Gavuragili, which was supposed to be our stopping point, was a little too depressing to stay. It’s not bad; it is just recently deserted and feels almost ghostly.