Stories, thoughts, observations, rants and dribble. Just another of my attempts to keep the interested people informed ...

Friday, March 24, 2006

Butterfly Valley and Ölüdeniz

Ahh this exercise malarkey ... my arms and legs hurt, but in the good way ...

We arrived at the top of Butterfly Valley, near Faralya, after a 7 hour journey on two coaches and a dolmuş (minibus) which carried us up a precarious cliff road with more hairpin turns than I could count or look over. The people at George House (ignore the prices, they're very old!) are fantastic, and the food is to die for. Dinner was traditional Turkish food with homemade bread, organic vegetables and local honey and yoghurt. Spring water aplenty, endless tea and coffee and a wonderful central stove for those chilly nights.

Michelle wasn't feeling up to it (and she's done it before), but the rest of the team managed to brave the 400m-almost-vertical cliff walk down to the waterfall and beach ın Butterfly Valley itself. The track includes several well-placed ropes to help with the rockfaces, and at quite a few points I wondered how we had gotten down (and then up on the way back). [The guidebooks describe it as dangerous, and possibly life-endangering, but I think this is more as a disclaimer. I know of people who have done it at night, which is obviously going to increase the risk factor exponentially.] The beach was beautiful, and despite the slight chill, I couldn't resist having the quickest of dips in a new sea. The way back up was sweat-pouringly challenging, but I'm proud of myself for managing it (not that I had a choice, I don’t think the boats were running!).

After a bit of mountain goat watching from the top of the cliff (those little guys are amazing), a hot shower, another wonderful dinner and a quick game of He Said, She Said, I helped dissect and translate an article on ethnopsychiatry for the only other guest, a Belgian guy doing his homework on the way to SoulClipse. I forget how nice it is to use my brain every now and again, and especially since it was in an area of my own personal interest. Tom was fascinating in his own right, and to repay me for my assistance, he made me tea and we watched a DVD called Ibogaine - Rite of Passage. Even my vague memory of pharmacology lectures knows I've never heard of this one before - a hallucinogenic drug derived from an African plant root that can reverse addiction after one dose. A well-conceived documentary which I would recommend to anyone who is affected by drug addiction or has an interest in traditional medicine or US drug laws.

Today finds us in Ölüdeniz, another daring dolmuş ride and a few bays west. Ölüdeniz is something of a tourist resort town, but as we were a few weeks before the season started, it was nicely deserted. We walked two hours over a hill (mountain more like) to the town of Kayaköy, home of a 17th and 18th century deserted town. We were accompanied all the way by a couple of dogs who took a liking to us. They seemed to be showing us the way and generally keeping an eye out for us. The "ghost village" is made of about 2000 stone houses which were abandoned when Turkey did a population swap with Greece. The roofs were removed and used for another town, and the houses and churches were never used again. It was eerie but amazing!

I will probably not have internet for the next week and a half or so, so updates will have to wait until well after the eclipse. I'm sure they'll be full of awe...

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