NAME David Gairns, Parkville, Victoria.
THE TRIP Lycian Way walk, south-west Turkey.
THE ITINERARY The Lycian Way is Turkey's first long-distance walking route. It follows the Turquoise Coast for an impossible 500 or so kilometres but we figured six days of it would be enough; we wanted physical activity but not that much! Through Melbourne's Passport Travel, we booked Mithra, a local provider, for a self-guided, supported walk. Promised were well-marked tracks, a wild and outstanding coastline, tiny villages, accommodation in pensions and small guesthouses and the chance to explore extraordinary Roman ruins along the way. Most days required 12 to 15 kilometres of walking, which seemed fine; my wife, Ros, and I walk a bit at home. Daily luggage transfer, breakfast, dinner and most lunches were included as well as a guide book, map, notes etc. We just had to carry a day pack with lunch and enjoy a great part of Turkey up close.
From Shiraz, Iran (Turkey was part of a larger trip), we flew to Dalaman in Turkey's south-west via Istanbul's Ataturk airport. Our tour started with a transfer to Misafir Evi guesthouse at Kayakoy, a tiny village near a "ghost town" of abandoned Greek houses from the 1920s. There we were introduced to mezes, dishes of olives, croquettes, aubergine and other enticing nibbles to enjoy before the main course. It was a lovely way to start. Our walk finished at Kalkan, a delightful seaside town on Turkey's Mediterranean coast.
Our expectations were greatly exceeded; the walk was a highlight of our whole trip. The track looks down on a truly spectacular coastline and azure sea. Along the way we walked through fragrant pine forests, across wild, rock-strewn slopes, met groups from Germany and Ukraine and enjoyed great hospitality in the simplest of places. At times one feels quite close to the rhythm of rural village life. Locals assisted with directions a few times, while on another day a local woman suggested a swim: we found an enticing deserted beach and bay all to ourselves.
The walk was an excellent way to get to know a new, for us, part of Turkey.
THE BEST BITS Breakfasting on tomato, cucumber, cheeses and olives staring down at a view to die for in tiny Alinca. Superb.
WORST BITS Sweating up some of the hills (but always the view was superb!).
BEST TIP It's helpful to have a navigation app on a phone; Pocket Earth showed all the walking tracks. We knew where we were all the time.
WHERE TO NEXT Coober Pedy and beyond. Outback Australia beckons.