(written by Nancy)
We woke up to blue skies and sunshine so we figured that was a sign we should get on the road. Well, Dave decided that was a sign – I would have been happy to spend at least another day or two at the Hideaway Hotel in Kaş and I am sure we have a few extra days in our schedule that would have allowed it but it was not to be. We had our last breakfast with toast and honey in the honeycomb, goat’s cheese and walnuts and all of the other good food they had on offer there. Are you getting the theme yet? I didn’t want to leave, Dave had itchy feet. We chatted with the hotel owner as we packed the bikes – I was very sad to leave…
Straight out of Kaş we had a very long climb, 550m in about 10k. The temperature was quite a bit cooler today, which was nice on the climb up but a bit chilly as we hit the rollers after getting to the top of the climb. We stayed up high for some time, riding through rocky scrubland where goats seemed to be the main crop. The few fields we did see were full of rocks – seems like it would be hard to grow much up there.
We stayed up in the mountains for a bit, riding along at about 790m (2600ft), with a bit of rollers to keep us occupied. As we rode along we could see some big clouds starting to roll in, which was a bit worrisome. We had seen some inconsistent weather forecasts for the area but several of them did indicate some possibility of rain. We were not really looking forward to getting caught in a rainstorm, especially given the cooler temperatures in the mountains.
We finally headed back down to the sea just before the town of Demre – a great downhill, the first in a long time. Demre was another town full of greenhouses – a bit odd to see right down near the seaside but I guess it is the only relatively flat area around. Our plan today was to ride to Finike but we figured we could find a place to stay at Demre if the weather really started to turn. The clouds were banking up in Demre with some ominous dark grey clouds hanging over the hillside but it looked like there was sunshine up ahead along the coast so we decided we would keep going as it was only another 30k or so to Finike.
We made a quick stop for something to eat in Demre at a petrol station. Pickings were slim but they did have some fresh bread so we sat in the service station chairs in the sun, pulling off chunks of bread to eat while sipping cups of the ubiquitous tea found everywhere. I am sure the servo guys think we are very strange – they rarely say anything to us but we often catch them furtively glancing at us.
The ride from Demre to Finike turned out to be the prettiest part of the day. The road hugged the coastline so we had some amazing views of the sea. The water was varying shades of incredible blue colours – Dave stopped for tons of pictures. It really was amazing – none of the pictures below have been retouched but I am not sure if they really show how deep the colours were. There is no development along this stretch because it is just steep rocks on one side and the sea on the other so it feels very different than the other parts of the coast we have been on.
The road along the coast is a highway but we had very little traffic – good thing, as we ran into several goat traffic jams! We tried to ride slowly by them so as not to scare them into the roadway but they are very skitterish – they are very nimble anyway so they usually just clambered up the hillside or across the roadway and down the other side.
We made it into Finike without any rain and stopped to check out a hotel on the edge of town. Dave took a look and said it was nothing special but the price was a bit steep. We were right near a marina and an old sailor directed us to a yacht office where a local gave Dave a recommendation for the Engin Hotel, which he said was a decent hotel in town. We found it quite easily as it is right near the main road so Dave went to check it out. The price was much better than the other hotel and Dave said it was about the same quality, so that’s where we have ended up. It appears to be some kind of businessman’s hotel – nothing flash but it will do for the night.
We went out to wander the town a bit and were directed by a local to a decent restaurant for kebabs (chicken for me, spicy meatball for Dave) and our new favourite, lahmacun, which is a very thin pizza with some kind of minced meat that you roll up with some lettuce and other salad bits inside. Very tasty and usually very cheap. Now with stomachs full we are both getting sleepy though Dave is trying to get the US taxes worked out with the 15 April deadline looming. He is currently down at the reception desk trying to figure out how to print and scan one of the forms, which is a bit difficult when all of the prompts on the computer are in Turkish.
Tomorrow we are aiming for Cirali, a small village off the main highway near the beach and the Olympos ruins, where we will take a day to see the ruins and the famous Chimaera natural gas fires nearby. We may get some rain overnight but it looks like it should be okay weather during the daylight hours. From there it is only 80k or so to Antalya, the largest Turkish city on the Western Mediterranean with approximately 1,000,000 people.