23rd November, 2019
- Day 14: Demre to Alakilise
- Distance: 15km
- Ascent / Descent: 1060m / 180m
- Weather: cool and overcast
- Accommodation: Kent Pansiyon ₺100pp including dinner
- Total cost for one (Turkish Lira ₺): pick-up from Alakilise 75, accommodation 100, entrance to Myra ruins 36 = ₺211 (~£27 / €32 / US$36)
We leave the pension at 8am on an overcast and cool morning. Rain is forecast again for the afternoon so we hope to arrive at the rendezvous point before it does.
We follow the road out of Demre for 4.7km before turning off it behind a greenhouse and beginning the long climb. The trail is hard to find initially; it’s either overgrown or it’s boulders and scree with no waymarks. Soon we reach a wide rocky trail (below pic) and wonder if this is the handiwork of the Lycians? This stunning trail zigzags up a small section of the mountain.
The trail crosses the road a couple of times and the waymarks become obvious and frequent. The terrain is uneven and rocky however and I’m glad to be climbing up and not down.
We pass a shepherd herding his goats and he points us in the right direction, down, then up a valley, passing gorgeous autumn foliage as we walk.
The clouds start to roll in as we get nearer our destination and I take a chance to visit the ruins of Alakilise. I have time and hope the weather stays on my side. I have to descend for a couple of kilometres but it’s worth it when I arrive. It’s just me, a few goats and the ruins of the 9th century Church of the Angel Gabriel. There’s engravings, columns, one remaining upright wall and a mystical feel to the site.
It’s nearing our pick-up time of 2pm so I hurry back up the hill to the road. Just like yesterday, the heavens open as soon as we get in the car.
When we arrive back at the pension it’s still early and there’s a couple of sights to see in Demre (Church of St Nicholas & the ruins of the ancient city of Myra), so I head out in the rain in my poncho to visit the oldest – the ancient city of Myra, just around the corner.
‘Myra was one of the six most important cities of ancient Lycia, along with Xanthos, Patara, Olympos, Pinara, and Tlos. However, it is believed to date back much further, as an outer defensive wall has been dated to the 5th century BC. In the 4th century AD, Myra was the capital of the Roman province of Lycia.’ http://www.turkishculture.org/archaeology/myra-1075.htm
In the evening, we eat dinner with the family again and then repack – we’ve been slack packing the past two days (just carrying rain-gear, first-aid kit, snacks and water), but now we have to load everything in again.
In hindsight, I believe we could have done this three-day mountain section without needing to carry three days of water. We would’ve needed food for the duration but as it happens there was water available yesterday and today. The recent rains may have helped. If I was to do it again and was unsure of the water situation, I would try to arrange with the pension to have a delivery of water but wild camp each night, not stay in the pension and have the pick-up service (saving time and money).
We’re using Komoot* for navigation and to record our own tracks. Prior to departing the UK we uploaded the GPX tracks to Komoot so we can now use them for navigation (with voice commands). We’re also using Komoot to record our own daily tracks which gives us the above maps, elevation profiles, distance, speed etc. You can find our collection of tracks on the Komoot App by searching ToughGirl for Sarah and followingthearrows for me. Or click the link in the caption on the above map to go straight to the track.
*Komoot premium was gifted and we also received sponsorship for this hike.
If you have any questions, leave me a comment and I’ll add a FAQ post at the end of the trip.