Turkey in 2 Weeks: Kas & Kekova – Day 9

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One of the first activities that caught my eye when I was researching Turkey was sea kayaking through the Sunken City of Simena.  The ruins line the northern shore of the long island of Kekova and were the result of a series of earthquakes that occurred in 2nd century AD.  We booked our tour through Lukka Tours/Bougainville Travel for 60 CND (120 TL) and ended up on the same bus as the Intrepid group I had originally seen the kayaking tour listed – I guess we made a good choice!

We were picked up from their office in central Kas bright and early and headed out to the  docks where we were outfitted and given a quick lesson.  The day was perfect – sunny, with a cool breeze in the air and sparkling, calm waters.

Sea kayakying to Kekova

Sea kayakying to Kekova

We kayaked for about an hour and half out to the island of Kekova where we could see the partly submerged ruins along the shore and up to 6m below our boats.

The sunken city of Simena

The sunken city of Simena – think this might have been the harbour

Kekova & the sunken city of Simena

Kekova & the sunken city of Simena

Kekova & the sunken city of Simena

Kekova & the sunken city of Simena

Church in the sunken city of Simena

Church in the sunken city of Simena

After exploring the Sunken City, we kayaked to the protected village on the site of Simena called Kaleköy.  We spent a few hours hiking up to the Crusader fortress, followed by a delicious kebob lunch and a quick dip in the warm, shallow waters before heading back to the mainland.

Kaleköy

Kaleköy

Crusader fortress, Kaleköy

Crusader fortress, Kaleköy

View from the Crusader fortress, Kaleköy

View from the Crusader fortress, Kaleköy

Crusader fortress, Kaleköy

Crusader fortress, Kaleköy

Crusader fortress, Kaleköy

Crusader fortress, Kaleköy

Kaleköy

Kaleköy

We had another beautiful sunset for our last evening in Kas.  For dinner we went to Smiley’s, a laid back outdoor restaurant near the outskirts of town overlooking the water.  Our octopus casserole and lamb liver dishes were excellent, and were even more satisfying after a day of kayaking.

Kas

Kas

Octopus casserole, Smiley's, Kas

Octopus casserole, Smiley’s, Kas

Lamb liver, Smiley's, Kas

Lamb liver, Smiley’s, Kas

Such a lovely town, we were very sad to say goodbye to Kas!  But we felt relaxed and revived for our last leg of our trip.

Kas at night

Kas at night

Turkey in 2 Weeks: Kas – Day 8

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The next morning we continued along the coast and took a 2.5 hour bus to the equally charming town of Kas.  Nestled at the bottom of the Antiphellos Ruins, Kas is a mellow seaside town filled with winding cobblestone streets, cute artisan stores, colourful coffee shops and a small main square lined with patio restaurants.

Kas

Kas

Kas

Kas

Kas

Kas

We stayed at the Aqua Princess Hotel, a pretty seaside resort where we scored an ocean view room.  The hotel also had a pool that overlooked the water, as well as a lounging area and a bar closer to the sea where we had afternoon tea and brownies.

View from the Aqua Princess Hotel, Kas

View from the Aqua Princess Hotel, Kas

After a hectic first week, this felt like heaven and we relished the relaxing down time.  We spent the afternoon slowly meandering through the town, breaking for coffee and a relaxing meze lunch – our latest addiction.  I think I could eat this every day for the rest of my life and be content.

Meze platter, Kas

Meze platter, Kas

After lunch we strolled along the coast and lounged by the sea, jumping in for a quick swim in the chilly, but refreshing Mediterranean sea.

Kas Harbour, Kas

Kas Harbour, Kas

Eurasian Jay, Kas

Eurasian Jay, Kas

Kas Harbour, Kas

Kas Harbour, Kas

That evening we ate at Naturel, one of the many elegant restaurants located in the lively main strip.  Twinkling lights surrounded us, music filled the warm evening air and the stars danced in the clear night sky – quite the romantic setting.  We polished off a bottle of local red wine along with lamb over smoked eggplant, and meat and rice stuffed grape leaves with a creamy yogurt sauce.  The smoked eggplant was just to die for and the dinner was one of the more memorable ones from our trip.

Grape leaves, Naturel, Kas

Grape leaves, Naturel, Kas

Smoked eggplant, Naturel, Kas

Smoked eggplant, Naturel, Kas

 

Turkey in 2 Weeks: Ölüdeniz – Day 7

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The next morning we headed out on a small boat cruise along the Turquoise Coast. There are many excursions you can choose from along the marina in Fathiye, and they’re all pretty similar in price.  We took the Fulya10 for $25, which didn’t include snacks, drinks or tips on the boat so approx $55 total (with no alcoholic drinks).  The tour departed from Ölüdeniz, a beach town 15km from Fathiye.  The boat cruise had a bit of a party boat vibe, but it was still relaxing to be out coasting along the sparkling, clear, waters – though I would have preferred a cruise that didn’t have loud music blasting the whole time.

Turquoise coast boat tour from Ölüdeniz

Turquoise Coast boat tour from Ölüdeniz

Our first stop was Butterfly Valley, a gorge that in theory would have been filled with diverse species of butterflies had it not been for the loud tour groups.  The short hike through the gorge was still nice though, and it was fun to climb up the gorge near the end (some good water/hiking shoes like Keens are recommended!).

Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz

Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz

Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz

Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz

Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz

Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz

Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz

Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz

The next stop was the Blue Cave, where we all jumped into a cold spring that is supposed to take five years off your life.  Refreshing in any case!

Blue Cave, Ölüdeniz

Blue Cave, Ölüdeniz

We cruised through Aquarium Bay and ended up at Gemiler Island, also known as St. Nicholas Island where archaeologists believe was the location of the tomb of the original St. Nicholas.  If you’re in the mood for some more ruins, the short hike around the island is very picturesque, or you can just relax and swim off the small beach near the boat dock.

Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island, Turquoise Coast

Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island, Turquoise Coast

Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island, Turquoise Coast

Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island, Turquoise Coast

Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island, Turquoise Coast

Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island, Turquoise Coast

View of Turquoise Coast from Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island

View of Turquoise Coast from Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island

Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island, Turquoise Coast

Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island, Turquoise Coast

Chocolate and banana gözleme (Turkish crepes) on the boat

Chocolate and banana gözleme (Turkish crepes) on the boat

They were making fresh Turkish crepes called “gözleme” on the boat – a perfect afternoon snack after a relaxing day on the water.

Tomb of Amyntas, Fathiye

Tomb of Amyntas, Fathiye

In the evening we went for a long walk through the town, and past by the Tomb of Amyntas, an Ionic temple facade carved into this rock face in 350 BC.

Election campaign, Fathiye

Election campaign, Fathiye

The election campaign was taking over Turkey while we were visiting, and Fathiye was no exception.

Shopping in Paspatur Old Town, Fathiye

Shopping in Paspatur Old Town, Fathiye

The shopping area around our hotel was a fun, lively area to stroll through at night.  I wish we could have stayed a bit longer in this charming seaside town.

Shopping in Paspatur Old Town, Fathiye

Shopping in Paspatur Old Town, Fathiye

"For all seasons", Paspatur Old Town, Fathiye

“For all seasons”, Paspatur Old Town, Fathiye