Bedre (transfer from Eğirdir), Bagören, Barla, Dikmen, Asagi Tirtar, transfer to Yukari Tirtar, Eyüpler, transfer to Yalvaç , transfer to Sücüllü, Yalvaç, bus to Eğirdir, transfer to Akpinar, above Balkiri, Yukarigökdere, hitch to Eğirdir, transfer to Serpil, Sipahiler, transfer to homestay above river gorge towards Adada, Sagrak, near Tota Yaylasi, hitch to Kasimlar, Kesme, transfer to Çurkuca, 5 km past Yesilbag to restaurant then school bus to Çaltepe, transfer to Kestanelik, Selge, Tevfik’s pension.
We stayed in homestays, pensions and hotels. Everywhere, we met friendly, hospitable people, sometimes speaking in English at other times using gestures, smiles, one wordat a time from a phrase book or translations from smart phones.
We had lots of special experiences in homestays: our first one was with a couple in their village house, all smiles and them talking Turkish to us, thinking that we understood (some of their income comes from collecting rose petals in the spring); the next was our boatman to get us across the lake; then on to stay with the shepherd, imagining basic accommodation, but finding ourselves in a modern house with an English speaking couple, who shared a bottle of wine with us (we were their first guests, very privileged); next, a retired coloneland wife, and discussions about politics and economics; a couple of places, where we ate separately from the family; a very special stay with a family, where we sat on the floor and shared “Sunday dinner” with 13 people from a 4 week old baby to great grand parents (we were the first planned guests that they had stayed); a young couple let us stay in a new house that parents may move into and spoilt us with roast chestnuts on the fire outside; and finally we stayed at Tevfik’s pension, where after dinner we had the obligatory çay and popcorn cooked on the fire.
Ibrahim (05422417213), at Charley’s pension in Eğirdir, was integral to helping us organise our trip north of Eğirdir and for the first days heading south. He kept track of our progress through his friends and contacts, and we had his phone number in case of difficulties, but never needed it. Barla Otel had friendly staff and provided dinner and breakfast. Good value for money. Erdinc and Emine, pension in Çaltepe, are very knowledgeable about the trail. Erdinc will do guided day walks, using his pension as a base. It would also be possible to do day walks independently and organise transfers with Erdinc.
We could not have done this trip without the way marking, that is largely maintained by volunteers, and the gps tracking provided by Kate Clow. We would not have attempted the trip without having bought “The St Paul Trail”. Needless to say, we did go off track at times, including finding our way down from the pass between Kasimlar and Kesme after 2 shepherd huts. I think that we were too far east/left and ended up scrambling down rocks and gullies.
Our longest day was from Barla to Dikmen, not helped by the path down across a series of ova not being very easy to follow. We were walking “against” the book south of Eğirdir to complicate matters. We think that the book/app should note that the walk down from Selge to Tevfik’s pension, although beautiful, is a difficult, potentially dangerous walk. Do not attempt in rain! We thoroughly enjoyed the trip and it’s challenges. We carried sleeping bags and used them a few times in homestays, but probably could have managed without them. We had great weather for walking, only getting a little wet on 2 days.
Kevin and Sue Bates ( aged early 60’s) firstname.lastname@example.org