Erica and Alex Come to Visit
We were so excited to have our daughter Erica and son-in-law Alex come and stay with us on Onward for 10 days during their 3 week trip to Turkey. After a long flight from Toronto to Istanbul and then Fethiye, they arrived with big smiles all around. It wasn't until they unpacked a few items that they realized their luggage contents were entirely soaked from heavy rain at Toronto. We presume their luggage sat outside for some period before being put on the plane. Mom set it right with 4 loads of early morning laundry.
Our first day was comprised of a long walk around town to show them the local sites. The promenade follows the shoreline where there is lots to see and do. A stop at one of the many monuments, this particular one highlighting the history of Turkey's many Sultans. Another stop allows us to energize ourselves on the fitness equipment located in one of the parks. This equipment is popular at many parks enabling adults to work out as well as youngsters to play on their equipment.
We had a quick lunch at our favourite doner shop and introduced them to our Turkish friends that work there. We all laughed when Alex quickly realized that what he thought were pickles, were actually hot peppers.
Tomb of Amyntas
Even though the day was heating up, we pushed on to see the Tomb of Amyntas. Fethiye is nestled between the sea and mountains, and right in town, the lower foothills give rise right behind the town. We walked up the hillside to see the Lycian tomb of Amyntas . The impressive looking tomb was built in 350 BC and today overlooks the town and harbour. Numerous smaller tombs are also along the hillside.
Given that they had just arrived from a long trip, we headed back to the boat to enjoy a leisurely dinner aboard.
A Turkish Shave
One of the many shops you'll see as you walk the streets in a Turkish town is a barber. They are everywhere! We had been told by another cruising friend of his memorable visit so Trevor and I had planned to get Alex to visit one (even though Trevor hasn't been brave enough to go himself).
So one afternoon the four of us stopped into a shop to get Alex a shave! The three of us laughed quietly in the background as we told Erica about the technique of burning nose and ear hair with a lighter and awaited Alex's surprise.
He sat back and enjoyed the elaborate lathering of his face, the shave with a straight cut razor, heated towels and massages, including his neck and shoulders. He kept looking in the mirror and his eyes would wander back to us waving, laughing and awaiting the flame. His eyes opened wide at the site of it, but he persevered and in the end enjoyed the whole affair so much, he didn't shave again for many days so he could go and be pampered again.
Kayakoy is just outside Fethiye, so we drove up to see it on our way to another nearby village of Oludeniz.
Kayakoy was built on the site of the ancient city of Carmylessus in the 18th century. The town population was mainly Anatolian Greek speaking Christians as well as Muslims of Turkish and Greek and Armenian descent. In 1900, the population was about 2,000 but was largely abandoned after a population exchange agreement was signed by the Turkish and Greek governments in 1923, after the War of Independence.
It is a museum village of rundown but still mostly intact Greek-style houses and churches which cover a small mountainside and are under the protection of the Turkish government. Kayaköy was adopted by the UNESCO as a World Friendship and Peace Village.
Today it appears more like a ghost town with the approximately 500 houses that lie in ruin with the stone walls and fireplaces less their original wooden roof tops.
The photo to the right shows the many abandoned homes along the hillside. It's a fun place to explore and for anyone that has read the book "Birds Without Wings" by Louisde Bernières, you can imagine, visualize and feel what the village was like at the end of the Ottoman empire. It tells the story of the Christians and Muslims lives who where rooted here and who they intertwined for years. It describes interesting town characters, friendships and what life was like within the village until the War of Independence destroys the lives of young men who go to war and how the population exchange between Turkey and Greece finally tears apart the families and friends and destroys the fabric of centuries-old peace in this small town.
Oludeniz and Paragliding
I think we would all say the highlight of our time together was our Mother's Day excursion..... Paragliding off Baba Dag (Father Mountain in Turkish). Only a few miles outside of Fethiye is the site of Baba Dag and Oludeniz.
Erica and Alex had planned to do this excursion as one of the activities while here so Trevor planned to join them. But not me! Jumping off the side of a mountain wasn't really something that jumped up in front of me saying "go, go".
But hearing the three of them talk about going the night before, I began to feel a little left out and thinking that they were going to be talking all about it afterward and telling me what a great time I missed. So I decide to go after all.
After a hair-raising van ride up the mountain road with the 6 pilots and their 6 customers, we arrived to the highest of 3 take off platforms at 1700 meters.
I was very surprised when I got to the top and saw a wind sock flying straight out. For some reason, I wasn't really expecting wind.... I thought I was just going to float down. It was quite scary as the pilots watched the wind conditions at the top deciding whether or not we should go and I quickly told Erica that I couldn't do it. Her quick response, "Sure you can Mom". This is the daughter that I couldn't even convince to go on a rollercoaster as a young girl.
But unfortunately, Alex's pilot said the wind conditions weren't good enough for him to go with Alex. They were right at the weight limit and there wasn't good enough updraft for them to go. We were all really disappointed as today was the last chance for him to go. Tomorrow they leave Fethiye for the rest of their Turkish vacation.
I was the first one in our group to go. Whether the pilots could see my apprehension and decided to get me going before I really changed my mind, I don't know. But everything started happening very quickly and before I knew it, Ali was telling me that when he said so, just lift my feet up.
Away we went and right away got an updraft and we starting going "up" not down as I again had predicted. Over some clouds we went and we experienced a bit of turbulence and then down into clear skies. I became more relaxed until he asked me if I wanted to do some tricks. My response: "What kind of tricks? Maybe in a while". Later in our flight he took us for a few corkscrew turns which again were a bit scary at first, but I had to tell myself to open my eyes and enjoy it. And I did!
Ali pointed out Erica following behind us. We were both floating through the sky, over the sea, over the village of Oludeniz and it's famous beach with the long spit that is pictured so often in advertisements for Turkey.
After about 20-25 minutes, I was landing with Erica right behind me. We got ready to take photo's of Trevor coming in next but got a huge surprise when we realized it was Alex. His pilot decided they could go after all.
The other surprise was that Trevor didn't go. He prepared for takeoff three times awaiting a window to go. But the clouds closed in too much and the winds were not consistent enough. He ended up taking the van back down and is now awaiting our next guests so that he can go with them. Hmm, maybe Stephanie and Aleks.