Myra and Ucagiz, Turkey

June 2015

After my travel companions left Olympos, I lingered for one more night. I told the men working at Bayrams where I wanted to go next and they arranged for me to hitch a ride with a tour bus heading in that direction the following morning. This saved me a little bit of money (although I’m not sure if that was part of the arrangement… The driver didn’t ask me for money…) and made the start of my solo journey just a little more comfortable.

The bus dropped me in Demre. I then walked 2km north with my bag to the Myra house tombs. As I walked, I cut through a street where I greeted many locals, pet the cats, and admired all the greenhouses for which Demre is known.

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When I arrived, I decided I should finally purchase a MuzeKart. For residents of Turkey, a MuzeKart costs 50 TL and grants you unlimited admission to many of Turkey’s sites for one year. If you get the 40 TL card, there is a cap on how many times you can visit each site. I decided to get the 50 TL card because it would allow me to visit places like Hagia Sofia in Istanbul with all my guests or even go on my own just to enjoy taking pictures. My card paid itself off quickly. Myra alone was 15 TL.

I was giddy with excitement as I got closer.  It reminded me of Petra. Less red, and much smaller, but Petra is the only thing I’ve seen anything like Myra.

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After Myra, I sat down for some pide at a restaurant where I held a delightful conversation with the staff in Turkish! I was so proud of myself… Until I ran out of words. Then I felt awkward and decided to move on. I had no intention of going to St. Nicholas’ church, but there was only one bus a day going from Demre to Ucagiz, my next stop, so I had plenty of time to kill. It is also a place that accepts the MuzeKart.

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I sat on a bench in the garden for a long time and finished reading “Last Train to Istanbul” by Ayse Kulin. I grabbed my bag and went back to the bus station not sure how else to kill time. I charged up my phone and waited.

It didn’t take long to get to Ucagiz. I stayed at Onur Pansiyon right on the water. It was nice to have a room with a real bed and shower to myself for a couple nights. In the last week, I had only washed my hair once and I never bothered to scrub my body. I just let the sea take care of me. Not knowing when my next opportunity to shower would be, I cleaned myself up.

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I wandered through the tiny town.

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There were lots of stalls set up where local women were selling their home made items. I grabbed a couple braceletes for my nieces, then went back to the pansiyon for dinner. The meze buffet was to die for!

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The next day, I decided to hike part of the Lycian Way. This is a long distance trail that runs between Antalya and Fethiye. It passes through this town, so I thought it would be nice to get a taste of the trail before hopefully conquering the entire trail in the future.

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Reasons Why I Should Never Hike Alone:

1. I have the worst sense of direction…
2. Which leads to my inability to find and follow a trail…
3. Which leads to being scratched by visious native wildlife and covered in burrs.
4. I don’t know my plants… So Lord only knows if any of that was poisonous.
5. When you’re covered in scratches and realize you’ve only made a small circle in a large amount of time, hiking isn’t fun anymore.

At least I tried, right? Come to find out, I wasn’t exactly where I was supposed to be to get on the trail, but even if I had been, I was told that much of the trail is poorly manicured and I probably would have ended up in the same position. Oh well. Next time. There WILL be a next time.

After picking the burrs off my clothes, towel, and shoes, I went around the corner to get a gozleme from an older woman making them outside her home. She was so sweet and I enjoyed watching her prepare my meal outside. Gozleme is basically a sweet or savory crepe. They’re delicious and cheap and filling. I spent the remainder of my day blogging, reading, and relaxing at the pansiyon. If you’re going to stay in Ucagiz, be prepared to relax. There’s not much else to do. Additionally, it may be better for you to stop there on your way east. Throughout my solo journey, I discovered that bus times were much more convenient going the opposite direction.

The next day, the owner of the pansiyon arranged for one of his friends who runs a boat tour to stop in Ucagiz to pick me up and take me along on their way back to Kas. A bus may have been cheaper, but as I said, there aren’t many ways to get in and out of Ucagiz, so I agreed to this arrangement. It gave me another afternoon on the sea and another opportunity to swim with turtles in beautiful water.

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