Chats with fellow Explore travellers last year convinced me that Turkey was a place I'd enjoy, and what better way to enjoy it than a week exploring the Lycian countryside on foot followed by a week aboard a gulet to chill out before returning to the fray.
The links on the left will take you to photos of the trip which went something like this ...
Day 1: Flew to Dalaman and on by bus to Fethiye for our first night.
Day 2: Termessos - crumbling ruins, reclaimed by nature, set in spectacular scenery. Overnight Antalya.
Day 3: Aspendos - one of the finest and best preserved Roman theatres anywhere. Koprulu Canyon National Park - lunch at a village house in Selge and a walk through the cypress and cedar trees, with the Taurus mountains rising in the distance. Overnight Antalya.
Day 4: Phaselis - settled in the 7th century BC and once the most important port city of the eastern Lycian coast. Chimaera - where natural gases escaping from the rocks give rise to the perpetual flame associated in mythology with the winged horse Pegasus. Olympus - a quick swim before lunch, then a walk through the ancient ruins before heading to our hotel, rather bizarrely called Sirinler which translates as Smurf!
Day 5: Arykanda - one of the lesser visited but most impressive ruins in the area. Overnight Elmali.
Day 6: Gombe - a gentle walk in the Taurus Mountains to the ruins of a Byzantine church. Overnight Kas.
Day 7: Kas - a beautiful coastal town which I'll certainly re-visit. Spent the day sea-kayaking over the sunken city of Kekova and on to the town of Simena, accessible only by sea, for lunch and a look round the castle before paddling back to base. Overnight Kas.
Day 8: Returned to Fethiye and bid farewell to most of the group and our wonderful tour leader, Ayshe, before boarding the gulet for week 2. Overnight Fethiye harbour.
Day 9: Getting used to the very relaxed pace of life aboard the gulet, sailing first to Paradise Bay, then to Gemiler Island, where we walked to the top of the island for sunset before returning for dinner on board and a late night shuttle across to the mainland to watch the England-Sweden game in a tiny bar on a beach in the middle of nowhere! Ovenright Gemiler - sleeping on deck beneath the stars, bliss.
Day 10 - 13: It all gets a bit vague after this, but our tour leader, Danny, says it went something like this: Tersane and Bedri Rhami where we spent the night. A visit ashore in Gocek, then on to Yassica and overnight in Sarsala. An early start to sail to Delikada Island for a riverboat trip to Dalyan - wonderful rock tombs and a visit to the mudbaths, and Caunos - an important Carian port (400BC). Aga Limani and overnight at Batik Haman.
Day 14: Back to Fethiye, with time to visit the deserted town of Kayakoy, a thriving Greek town until its residents were forcibly moved to Greece in the population exchange of 1923. With many more Greeks going to Greece (1,500,000) than Turks to Turkey (500,000), it was never repopulated. We continued over the hill to Oludeniz for lunch then back to the Fethiye for our last night on board - with excursions ashore for the football (England-Ecuador) and dancing at Club Bananas!
Day 15: Time to go home.
A truly relaxing holiday in a beautiful country, made all the more enjoyable by the excellent company of my fellow travellers ... many thanks to all who shared my journey.