We awoke today to the sounds of goats bleating and their neck bells jingling. They were coming down the path that we were to take as part of our biggest hiking day. We were warned that we would hike for three hours and the first hour was all uphill.
A short dinghy ride brought us from the Nirvana to shore and we started climbing. The ten of us began to leave large spaces between ourselves, as everyone hiked at their own pace. The incline was steep and at times the rock surface was slippery and rugged. We came over a rise and there were some ruins, apparently not significant. We get the impression that in Turkey there is a ruin around every corner. Then we came to a series of buildings that looked like igloos made out of rocks. These were the cisterns the goat herders built to collect rain water for those times of the year when moisture is in short supply.
After all the climbing and slipping on the path we began to sweat and the knees began to throb. But there was a wonderful oasis in the middle of this hike. We came to a goat herder’s home and he invited us in for sage tea and home baked bread. He was a poor, but hard working man and had built every structure and fence on his property himself. He had a solar panel, satellite dish and cell phone so his home was not really as isolated as it felt. He sends his eight year old daughter to school, but it is far enough away that she lives with an aunt there and can only come home on the weekends. He had a few handmade souvenirs for sale and we are now the proud owners of a goat bell and hand carved wooden spoon. We would guess that herding the tourists is at least as profitable as herding goats.
Finally the path began to go down, but the loose rocks continued to challenge our footing. When we arrived at Cleopatra’s Cove our boat was there waiting for us and it was time to go swimming. The water is 72º and sadly I was the only one to paddle around the boat enjoying the beautiful views. Everyone else - and you know who I’m taking about - was a wimp.
Every so often some sort of vendor boat stops by. Many Turks don’t speak much English, but when there is a sale to be made, the necessary words are always available. One man motored up in a boat where his wife sat cooking what looked like large crepes. He sold them with a variety of fillings - cheese and spinach, chocolate and honey. There is a special kind of honey here which the bees make from pine sap rather than flowers. We heard them buzzing in the trees during our hike today.
An afternoon sail brought us to the cove where we are anchored tonight and we were joined there by a few other boats. Although this area feels remote of me, it really is not. There are sail boats all around and we passed some marinas and towns. The coastline is beautiful and the weather has been perfect. Our guide was a bit nervous since the last group he brought through here had such bad weather they had to stay in the harbor and hunker down for four days. I sure would have been bummed to miss this wonderful scenery and unique sights.