I watched the Austrian people on the boat moored opposite us inflate a giant pretzel and a huge sausage before they sailed off into the big wide blue.
Our meetup seemed to be over far too soon I felt, as I packed up ready to move on too. I wouldn’t have minded sailing off with them all for another few days (well, maybe not in the storm they described). Probably won’t see Jane and Derek for another year now! They both looked well and to be enjoying retirement. I can recommend it too.
I ride back through Fethiye along the road I’ve traversed half a dozen times now, spotting familiar landmarks like the statue of the heroic first World War pilot the city is named after, shot down on his final mission, and the interesting shop full of baskets.
I got spectacularly lost in the hills (which I quite enjoyed), after being misdirected by a man I checked the map with. I think there is a large network of shepherds/hunters’ trails in the backwoods and I seemed to have explored quite a few of them. Occasionally a car or scooter would pass me, kicking up dust on the gravel track – or I would find a cigarette packet discarded on the path – so I never felt too far from civilisation. I could also see houses on the opposite side of the valley – so, if worse came to worse, I thought I could always abandon Rowenna and strike out across country to find help. I needn’t have worried as the track I was on (after eeny miny moing at several junctions) spat me out in one of those villages – on a road parallel to the one I was supposed to be on, but running the same direction. I eventually ended up coming down out of the hills on a steep zig zag road in the dark – lights twinkling below me.
I head towards Saklikent as I want to visit the Gorge there. A couple of guys in a garage assure me there’s a hotel or similar in the opposite direction to where I think I want to go, so I believe them. Was this their sense of humour? I didn’t find any accommodation anyway. I did find a group of men – including a twosome with a car - who endeavoured to help me out. They reckoned they could take me to a hotel or campsite. OK I says – and insist on sitting in the back squashed up with Rowenna rather than squashed between the two of them in the front. We go to a restaurant/café first for chicken – and they try to persuade me to go to a disco. No, no, I need to go to the campsite at Saklikent, I say. The driver is married – it amuses me that this is what Turkish men do until late every night –drive around with their mates, looking for entertainment, whilst their wives are at home preparing food and looking after the children. The other guy is not married – and has just gone bankrupt – his tourist shop business bust.
After another attempt at getting me to go to a Disco, they sigh and take me to Saklikent – which was about 10km from where we started out. “But it’s closed” they say – and it does look very quiet, since it’s after midnight by this time. I’m all set to put my tent up anywhere – since I know it will open up next morning, when the site manager, Ali turns up and offers me a treehouse. The guys – seeing their night’s entertainment disappear, also want reimbursing for petrol and the meal – so I give them 85TL and the treehouse will cost me 80TL. Fair dos.