Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Getting to Alinca

We spent several days in Olympos, which was very touristic, although very enjoyable laying on the beach and exploring the ancient ruins there. In fact, at one point after a swim in the beautiful blue Mediterranean and laying baking in the warm sun, all I could think was "this is the life!". Coming back from the beach one day I was chased by a man into a fruit shop, where his wife proceeded to fill my turned up shirt bottom with fresh, green Turkish plums.

Getting to Alinca:
After Olympos, our agenda was to do a three day trek on he Lycian Way, stopping in small villages for the nights' lodging. To get to the start of our trek, we needed to take a bus to Esen and then find a way to Alinca. Esen is pretty far off the tourist track and this turned out to be quite an adventure. Our bus driver from Olympos dropped us off on the side of a road surrounded by fields. He told us that soon a Dolmus (small local bus) would come by and we could take it to Esen. On arriving in Esen we began walking down the road, looking for the bus station. Soon we were surrounded by 6 to 8 people talking loudly and excitedly to each other, and occasionally, to us in Turkish trying to figure out why we were here. We were finally made to understand that there was no Dolmus or Taxi that could take us to Alincha.
"Dolmus, no."
"Taxsi, no."
"12 kilometers." A scissoring motion is then made with the fingers.
I say to Tim "I think they mean we have to walk".
Someone nods the affirmative.
"12 Kilometers walk"
He motions his hand forward and then jerks it to the right, indicating where we will find the route. Someone shouts at him.
After more shouting back and forth between them, we are made to understand to wait. A couple of the men ran off. After a little bit, another man shows up on a scooter. He speaks a little English and has been asked to come speak to us. He tells us that another villager is looking for a taxi and invites us to his tea shop for the inevitable, addicting Turkish chai. He asks us why we want to go to Alinca,
"you will find nothing there" he says.
I jump up and run into the small shops, desperately searching for food that can be carried. The English speaking man, Metin, helps me and I am able to procure a loaf of bread, a large amount of cookies, and a bag of delicious homemade goat cheese. On walking out of the shop Metin grabs two tomatoes and gives them to me (In the US we would probably say "steals" but it is more casual here). I have spent about 3$ US.
Eventually someone shows up with a car (not actually a taxi, although they continue to call him Taxi driver) that is willing to drive us for about 27$ US. In case this seems like a lot (It was a lot!), I will just mention that petrol here is about the equivalent of $10.00 US a gallon! Garden tools and bags of cement are adjusted in the trunk to make room for our packs. Finally we are off! The road to Alinca climbed about 2100 feet (700 meters) on a narrow, steep, winding gravel road. Eventually the "Taxsi" driver stops in front of a few stone and plaster homes perched on the edge of the mountain and says "Alinca". At this point, I am laughing so hard I can barely get out of the car. For me, the most unknown and foreign parts of the trip are the most fun and memorable. We begin walking up the road, looking for the pension we had read about in the lonely planet guidebook. A women with a long, sharp looking garden scythe begins following us. To our relief she said "Hosh Geldiniz" (Welcome) when we turned to face her. "Hosh Bulduk" (good to be here) we replied.
She points down a trail. We follow the trail for a bit and to our relief, we did find the Pension. We have made it to Alinca!

The beach at Olympos

Olympos ruins

A man pauses by the road to pose for my camera where we are dropped off near Esin


A woman with her red haired daughter in Alinca

His shoes are just a bit too big!

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