The visit to the village was a fascinating insight into a vanishing way of rural life – with falling down cob houses and new ones built alongside, chickens, sheep and goats wondering around loose and dirt tracks. Probably not so different to how my grandmother lived in rural Wales 60+years ago.
The visit to the castle was worth the wait – the views are amazing all round. Jeremy showed me a cave below the castle that’s probably been inhabited since time began – huge, warm – almost with bedroom compartments – and overlooking the coast. Impregnable.
Gill tells me they thought this place a slice of heaven when they first came 20years ago – and they’ve been coming every year since. However, the longer they’ve lived here the more aware they’ve become of interfamily feuds and fallings out amongst the locals. Unless there’s a wedding to bring about a truce (and funerals too, I guess), then entire groups of people don’t speak to each other. Much of this resentment and mistrust is directly associated with tourism and the money and who gets it. So, where Gill and Jeremy would once have visited their home here at least 4 times a year – nowadays that time has halved. If you’d like to hire a wonderful holiday home – get in touch. You can only get to Simena by boat – or on foot. There are no cars, no motorcycles: this is a huge attraction and makes the place wonderfully quiet and peaceful. A maze of steps and footpaths connects the houses tessellated on the hillside below the castle. There are ancient Lycean tombs and ruins dotted all over. Gill and Jeremy have a tomb in their garden, though the bones are long gone along with any treasure. Not many people can say that. The Lyceans liked to live close to their ancestors.
As well as a tomb, Gill and Jeremy have 6 kittens in their garden. Simena is full of feral cats. It’s a little sad for these kittens as it’s the wrong time of year to be born and they probably won’t survive the winter. As the weather gets colder and the tourists disappear (and it’s not been a good year in Turkey for tourism) so does a lot of the food scraps available. Gill found a cardboard box and placed a quilt inside for them and gave them some food – it didn’t take long for them all to find it. We watched them grow tamer and play madly as kittens do, while the mother cat grumped at us.