One of my New Year's Resolutions was to read 15 books this year. That comes out to be about a book a month with a few extras in there. Right now, I'm at eleven with four months left in the year, so I'm right on track!! If you have book recommendations, send them my way because I'm finally almost done with my long list of books I've wanted to read. When we were in Fethiye, I was reading the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed about a woman who hikes the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT...the west coast equivalent of the Appalachian Trail). Shoutout to my mom for the recommendation! I wasn't sure if I enjoy reading 300 some pages about hiking, but it was incredible and I was already planning my hike along the PCT when we got back from Turkey.
Luckily, God has a funny sense of humor and snapped me back to reality our first full day in Fethiye. One of the big things to do in Southwestern Turkey is hike (parts of) the Lycean Way. Lycea is the area of southwestern Turkey and the Lycians were the highly civilized people that lived there during the Roman Empire. They left a trail of old roads, mule trails and footpaths that is appealing to lots of hikers. If you hike the whole trail, it takes about 29 days, but there are lots of smaller hikes that people can do that take a couple of hours, a day or a weekend.
The owner of the hotel we were staying at recommended a short hike that a lot of the guests stay at and would only take a couple of hours and put us at the end of the trail in Oludeniz. We agreed that this would be the best way to do it and started out.
This is where God's sense of humor comes into play and our amateur hiking status really starts to show. By the time we got started, it was 11:00. Starting when we did meant that we'd be hiking during the hottest part of the day. Good job, Hogans. Way to plan that one well.
We started out looking at some old churches and schools that were still remaining.
As we were walking around the ruins, we climbed higher and higher getting a better view of the city and southwestern Turkey.
After a little while, we ventured past the ruins onto the actual trail. I think somewhere along that trail, any suspicion that I was part mountain goat was denied because let me tell you, that trail was tough. You wanna know who must of been part mountain goat though? The Lycians. If they were able to haul carts and goods along this trail, there is no way they didn't have something extra (read: mountain goat) in them. Mike and I were both struggling, although Mike's complaints were fewer and much farther between than mine.
We pushed through with the hopes that the view at the top of the mountain would be worth it. I have to say, despite all of my complaining and huffing and puffing, that view was pretty incredible and took my breath away (it was already partially gone from the hike, but the view was pretty awesome).
|This was the average terrain we hiked along. It may not look that difficult, but believe you me, the struggle was real.|
When we finally made it to the actual top, I made Mike stop for a photo shoot. This is where he took the opportunity to vocalize a few complaints, but I know he secretly enjoys it. Plus, I just keep telling myself he'll thank me later. Yeah, right....
|Rocking the Camp Alleghany t-shirt from 2005|
The hike downhill was a little bit easier because it didn't involve climbing up, but the slope down was not small and I may or may not have slipped and slid a few times. Needless to say, by the time we reached the end, we were glad to see civilization. We found a beach club that was filled with tons of Brits (Kelly Hogan, were you there?) and we grabbed lunch. Let me tell you, french fries never tasted so good.
God really has a sense of humor and likes to snap me back into reality when I get a little too ambitious. I enjoy hiking, but maybe I'll reconsider hiking the entire PCT or Appalachian Trail and stick to some moderate day hikes. I'm glad that we did this hike because the views were incredible and I have a newfound appreciation for the Lycians. I could barely do the hike with just myself. If I had a cart or a huge sack of stuff, I would have just died. More power to ya, Lycians!
After we made it back to the hotel, we still had the whole afternoon ahead of us, but the thought of exerting any sort of physical energy was exhausting in itself. We had also been talking about going to a Hamam, or Turkish Bath ever since we got to Turkey, but hadn't managed to fit it in.
The Turkish Baths were big in history and there is lots of art depicting people relaxing and socializing in the baths. It's evolved a little bit, but the full cleanse is still the same.
sore bodies + turkish bath + massage - physical energy = perfect combination
Our trusty Lonely Planet book recommended this one and described it as not too touristy, but not too authentic (read: you can wear a bathing suit). Mike and I headed on over and spent the next couple of hours in pure bliss.
When we entered, I stayed in my bathing suit, but they had Mike just wrap a towel around himself. We entered this big sauna room that had smaller rooms off of the side of it. In the middle was a a large table where two British women were getting their bath. We were escorted to one of the smaller rooms where we sat in the heat and felt all of the dirt, sweat and toxins melt away. As the first woman finished, I was escorted to her spot by one of the men performing the bath. I lay down on the table and he poured water and soap all over me. He put on these oven mitt like things that had scrubbers on them and scrubbed down my entire body. It was one of the most incredible feelings. I could feel all of the grit just coming off. For all of my horse people, it's what I imagine a horse feels like when you use a curry comb.
After the scrub down, he scraped off the dead skin from my feet and massaged my legs. He even had Mike come over and help massage my back. They also put olive oil all over you, which is really good for your skin. Once I was completely done, we went over to a large sink and he poured coldish water on me, which felt really good after being in the sauna. Meanwhile, Mike had begun his bath.
We decided that we also wanted to get a massage after the traditional bath, so after we left the sauna, we were escorted to massage beds. It was a worthwhile extension of our experience and we both left feeling like new people. We both marveled at how soft our skin was and spent the next few hours just sighing in happiness.
The Turkish Bath was something that I wasn't sure I would want to do, especially if I had to take my bathing suit off (I still don't think I would do it then), but this Turkish Bath was amazing. They were extremely professional and made us feel comfortable. I think the key is to find one that isn't too touristy and going to charge you an arm and a leg or deny you of an authentic experience, while finding one that isn't too authentic and makes you strip down or go in a separate room from your spouse/significant other. After doing it, both Mike and I definitely recommend it and add it to the list of musts on your visit to Turkey.
After the bath, we changed and headed out for dinner. We went back to the fish market because there was a butcher there that advertised dry aged steak (Mike's absolute favorite). He got the steak while I had lamb. We ran into the owner of the restaurant we ate at the night before and ended up eating there again. We wanted to try a different restaurant, but he grabbed us before we had a chance to go somewhere else. Mike's steak was pretty good, but I don't think he'd put it in his top ten steaks. I discovered that while I like lamb, it's not my favorite either. Oh well.
We ended the night with some drinks and watching a soccer match before heading home early for bed.