|The Ballards - Turkey Olu Deniz|
is 4 hours West along the coast from Antalya on the Southern coast of
However from ground level the beach is dull and touristy, so we only visited once before moving on to more interesting things.
OluDeniz, Ovacik (where we were) and Hisaronu
are a true tourist bubble.
OluDeniz is a popular microliting area due to the scenery
That said, I think these amphibious microlites looked a bit too dodgy even for me. Water resembles concrete at 45mph and the drag on these once they get airborne must be horrendous, so I opted for land-based microlites.
You can learn to fly these babies in a few weekends, and although they won't go as fast nor as far as a Fouga Magister, and you're not going to do 9G barrel rolls, they are a great way of seeing the scenery, and if you run out of fuel you can land on the road, taxi to a petrol station and fill her up with 4-Star.
The pilots at Fly
South in Ovacik were very patient with me and my incessant questions.
We flew over Butterfly Cove which is inaccessible from the land side and apparently has some rare butterflies at one end, but you had to pay and they were reportedly disappointing so we passed.
Microliting is the motorbike equivalent to driving a
car: better views but you are much more exposed to the elements....
It's interesting how much flatter the world looks from
Among other places we visited the beautiful Gemla Bay which, apart from some very expensive and poor value for money restaurants (hint: don't rent a sunlounger) is relaxing and offers great swimming and snorkelling.
Fethiye is a different matter: a thriving market town
of 56,000 people based around a port where tourism vies with boatbuilding
and commercial timber and mineral exports.
Private motoring in Turkey is still struggling to escape
the license-built Renault 12 knock-offs made locally and in huge quantities.
We visited Saklikent Gorge, one of the better known tourist attractions
in the area.
Saklikent Gorge runs all year round and is surrounded at it's bottom end by the general tourist tat, but all the restaurants use the naturally ice-cold water as "natural air-conditioning" by spraying it around or having it running under the dining tables: very effective.
The entrance to the gorge involves wading through some
ice cold water.
The backdrop of the Taurus mountains constantly reminds you how narrow the coastal areas are and how unpopulated, inaccessible and wild the areas further inland are.
Fehiye has a bustling market selling local produce as well as the expanding tourist stuff. We love markets and it's always worth seeing a slice of local life.
Many of the stallholders were just roadside farmers selling
their small wares: loads of vegetables and fruits.
Gocek is a port half an hour's drive along the improved
road West from Fethiye, full of large motor yachts.
Katranci Bay, just West of Fethiye, is a beautiful bay surrounded by trees. Certainly more beautiful than Gocek.
At the top of the 7,000ft Babadag mountain towering above
Oludeniz (we boiled the crappy Italian buzzbox hirecar getting up there...)
they paraglide down to the beach at OluDeniz.
The Turkish Forestry Service have an interesting attitude
towards conservation of the wildlife on the Babadag: they want to keep
it pristine and unspoiled.
Snuggled half way up the mountainside is a hidden valley.
The trucks go up and down this 6000ft run 4 times a day. No barriers, dodgy brakes, a slippery and steep track. Hmmmm.....
The views from the Babadag are great: well worth the
effort, although the road up is scary and best tackled in a 4x4.
The evening sunlight in OuluDeniz is bright and photogenic.
The town of Fethiye offers an interesting idea I've not seen before elsewhere:
in the fish market you may select your (ungutted) fish from the market
stall, they will gut it on the spot, then you take it to one of the restaurants
clustered around the market square and they cook it for you.
Fethiye and the surrounding areas have been criticised
for unfettered expansion in recent years.
We certainly never had a bad or dodgy meal during the whole of our fortnight (mind you, Ness has steered us away from many a salmonella-infested joint over the years)
The harbour in Fethiye has been "done up" and
hosts a huge number of day-trip pleasure boats (ugh!) who all seem to
go the same places.
From the air you can see the layout of the canals used to drain the marsh and allow building.
Over the bay from Fethiye is the ultra-swish all-inclusive resort of Letoonia (sounds like something out of a Roald Dahl novel...) which I'm sure is fine if you never want to go out during the whole of your stay and see anything of the real Turkey, but not really for us.
Fethiye is still a boat-building centre. they make mainly
a particular type of large wooden yacht popular in Turkey and frequently
rented by Northern Europeans.
My second flight in the microlite took us back over Kayakoy where the simple block house remains took on abstract shapes around the hillsides.
The area around Oludeniz and Fethitye was settled by
the Romans (then fought over by virtually every major Empire since).
One such remain is Tlos where, true to form, the uninteresting
castle section requires an entrance fee whereas the far more interesting
amphitheatre section is entirely open to the public (and visiting masonry
So, another sucessful and hugely enjoyable holiday in
Turkey. No funny tummies, the girls spent two weeks in the pools and got
brown as berries.
A short distance from Ovacik is the deserted town of Kayaköy, a thriving town until the Greek/Turkish population exchanges in 1923, when the Greeks were shipped off, and were to be replaced by Armenia Muslims. However, these guys decided the town was haunted, so it has remained empty since. Huh?