Saturday, January 26, 2008

Fethiye and the Turquoise Coast.


F
ethiye (pronounced "Fet-thee-yah") sits on the site of the ancient city of Telmessos, built in the 5th century BC. All that remains of Telmessos today are the ruins of an ancient Roman amphitheatre that's situated alongside Fethiye's habor and numerous Lycian rock tombs dating from the 4th century BC carved in the hillside above the town.

Located at the head of a pretty island-strewn bay, Fethiye is a popular beach destination on the 994 mile stretch of Turkey's Mediterranean shoreline otherwise known as the Turquoise Coast. Lei and I have planned a two day stay in Fethiye.

We've not yet planned our itinerary for our stay in Fethiye so I'm doing some research to figure out how we can occupy our time. Luckily for us, there does not appear to be a shortage of things to do and see!

Aside from wandering among the Roman ruins and shopping in town, I've read that a boat trip around the Bay of the Twelve Islands is a must do - visiting remote bays and coves and if the water is not too cold, dipping in crystal clear waters. Somehow I don't think it will be difficult to convince Lei to spend a day sailing the waters of the Mediterranean though I will have to swear on my life that we will not have to relive my felucca mishap in Egypt.

Then there's Saklikent Gorge, the 2nd longest gorge (20km long) in Europe. For you trivia buffs, the largest gorge in Europe is Samaria Gorge in nearby Crete.

Saklikent is a short bus ride away from Fethiye and apparently, buses leave frequently every hour. The gorge opens up to tourists starting in April but I think it will still be too cold to wade in the waters of the Xanthos River that runs through the gorge. The river water is from snow melt from the nearby Taurus Mountains and I'm guessing it will be f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g cold....even in mid-May. Consolation may be lunch at one of the riverside restaurants. Decked out with Turkish rugs and comfy cushions and shaded by fig trees, they serve freshly-caught trout for lunch or supper and beer cooled by the ice-cold waters. Supposedly, the trout fished out of the river is to die for.

The guidebooks also mention the Butterfly Valley - a protected site, accessible only by boat or foot, that is home of millions of butterflies especially between June and September. Given Lei's phobia of worms and catepillars, this will NOT BE on our agenda. Okay by me as I've been to more than my share of buttefly parks, including the one in my home town - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

And if all the touring is too much for us, there's always paragliding - a very popular activity in Fethiye as well as neighboring beach towns. I'm not sure that either one of us would be up for doing it though I think it would be a really unforgettable experience to soar above the Mediterranean. Oh yeah, that reminds me, I need to buy my travel insurance :-)