“Lycia? Where is that”, people ask me. I do my best to pinpoint the region on an imaginary map of Turkey but to most inquirers Turkey remains just a faraway place. I can’t blame them for only a few years ago I could not have answered the question either, but since then I know better. So let me share this experience with you.
My first encounter with Lycia happened earlier this year when I joined Peter Sommer on his tour “In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great”. During that trip, I spent a few days aboard this same gulet sailing around the bulge that Lycia makes in southwest Turkey, roughly between Dalaman and Antalya. The rugged landscape just stole my heart and I was determined to come back, some day, not knowing it would be so soon. Peter is leading this tour, as he did the one about Alexander the Great, and to me, he is the most wonderful guide I ever met. He is very thorough and knows the magic words to bring the ancient sites alive. His love for this country and its history is simply catching!
Now there is this Lycian Way we will be walking and which I find most intriguing: a 500-kilometer long trail across ancient Lycia, partly running along its coastline. The route goes mainly over footpaths and mule trails, often over hard and stony limestone. It has been set out by Kate Clow as recently as the year 2000 and it is listed as being one of the world's top ten walks – nothing less!
My flight to Istanbul takes only 3 ½ hours and another hour and a half to Dalaman, a good six hundred kilometers to the southeast. I land there around one in the morning and spend too much time waiting for my suitcase that took a joyride of its own, but at last, it arrives. My dear friend, Cem, has patiently been waiting for me at the exit and gives me a very warm welcome. Boy, am I glad to see a familiar face! He drives me through the night to Göçek where the Almira, is moored. All is quiet on board at this wee hour but the captain wakes up to welcome me with a broad smile. I tiptoe to my cabin and it must have been 3 a.m. by the time I hit my bunk – happy to be here.