Monday 20th April 2020

written by Alison Ure

Good morning everyone,

Another sunny day in Turkey with highs of 22 degrees.

I shouldn’t really have had two big meals yesterday, but the fish on Meis is yummy and I love the kofte at Lola’s. I should know by now I can’t go to Lola’s without getting mixed meze starter and fruit for afters, on the house! It’s often the norm in Turkey which makes having a light evening meal tricky! I’ve known Neco the waiter for 15 years, and know he always looks after groups well. I hope those of you that joined us enjoyed your meal too.

Kasaba Valley

Today we are going inland to an area that Dave and Rob researched in 2016 so Dave will be telling you a bit about it. Our first stop is at a viewing point to look over the Kasaba valley which is on the SW NE alignment I mentioned at the briefing on day 2.  The snow-capped mountains in the distance are the Taurus Mountains, the Turkish equivalent to Alps, formed when the Himalayas were being built. We leave Kaş on the D 400 going back towards Antalya but turn left to go down into Kasaba valley through the little hamlet of Ahatli. This road is very rural and un-spoilt and how much of Turkey used to look before commerce arrived. Because Lycia is also known as The Land of Light, due to the amount of sunshine, large plastic poly tunnels breed like rabbits to grow salad crops in. You will have seen them on the way to Kaş from the flames on Saturday if you weren’t asleep. The first time we drove down this road in 2012 we even saw charcoal making in action.

Charcoal burning – more pictures HERE
The gorge entrance with rock cut steps
Causeway over the main river

Dave will talk about the river terraces he researched in the valley and we then continue to Dirgenler where we turn right to go through the gorge. You can see from the map that there is a confluence of two rivers here draining the valley through the gorge to the sea at Demre. The gorge used to be the old herders route and you can see the steps cut into the rock along the way with more rock tombs high up on the hillside. We’ll drive down the road over the causeway by the river confluence, built to take the heavy trucks used at the limestone quarries. They cut huge square blocks of limestone out of the mountains side, two to a truck. We passed the yard where these blocks are turned in to building stone just before we entered the gorge. We drive right through a quarry and although health and safety has improved a bit, the photos tell their own story! We will stop at appropriate places for photos

Limestone quarry. More of these photos HERE

As the valley widens towards the sea the river becomes braided and at the end of the mountains we swing right to visit the ancient site of Myra. This is where the real St Nicholas became the myth of Father Christmas before he moved to the North Pole. The house tombs are stunning and the theatre is incredible. This is high on the tourist trail so it is a bit touristy on the walk from the bus to the entrance, but hey if you want to buy a carpet or belly dancing outfit, be my guest. There are toilets and refreshments here and we’ll stay for an hour before going to lunch.

Theatre at Myra
House tombs at Myra, More photos HERE.

Weren’t the Romans amazing architects? I hope you got to listen to someone talk from the stage whilst you were up the top, the sound is so clear.  Now it’s time to get back on the coach and go to lunch in the town centre a 5/10 minute drive. We are going to a typical Turkish café/restaurant in the town of Demre where you can order one or several dishes of the day, laid out a bit like school dinners, or have a kebab. The day dishes are cheap, freshly cooked each day and scrummy, and include things like moussaka a traditional Turkish dish not Greek in origin, at least that’s what I been told.  For pudding I recommend the sütlaç a kind of cold baked rice pudding that Rob introduced us to in 2014. For those of you who want to, the Church of St Nicholas is just 100m from the café so you can pop along after lunch. The frescoes are definitely worth a look. We are here for a couple of hours so there’s plenty of time. Services are still held at the church on December 6th, St Nicholas day.

Fresco at the Church of St Nicholas,_Demre

It’s 3.15 pm time to board the bus and drive a couple of miles to our next stop the Museum of Lycian Civilisations at Andriake. This was the port to Myra then Kale, the town only became Demre in 2005. The port is now silted up and makes a fabulous wetland sanctuary for birds. The museum is new and built in the old Roman grain store. More information and photos are in the handout. The cistern is well worth a look set underneath the middle of the agora (Market place) and don’t forget to look for the piles and piles of snail shells. You’ll have an hour and 15/30 minutes to explore this site so aim to be back on the bus around 5 pm please.

Underground cistern at the Visitor Centre

See pictures of Lycian culture HERE.

I hope you you’ve enjoyed your day. It’s about 40 minutes back to Kaş and I’ve booked a table at Çinarla restaurant tonight. Again it is not compulsory to join if you want to go off on your own. Çinarla is the site of the original bakery in Kaş and although they do all the standard Turkish fare Turkish pizza or pide is their speciality cooked in a traditional bread oven.

See pictures of Lycian food – especially pizza – HERE.

Does anyone have any questions about any of the days so far? I’ve only had a small amount of feed back to these emails and if anyone is sick of receiving them please let me know and I’ll take you of the list.

Enjoy your evening I’ll see you in the morning for a 9 am start.