April fifteenth. I was late. Turn back home, and pick up the sleeping bag of yours that you have forgotten. Soggy feet under the spring rain, not very friendly one, it gets pretty brutal in Antalya. Walking little bit down from The Hadrian’s, make left, and then right at the second alley. There! The big wooden door of the society building stays in front of me. A warm smile on the doorsill lets me in towards the porch. I don’t remember which but there’s some fruit grains, left from the breakfast that I couldn’t make it. Conversations are momentary, yet. Once in a while, one couldn’t help but throw a glance at the ceiling. I, on my behalf, smell out a little piece of mild discomfort in the air. I say, pretty enough for the beginning.

We talked about the two weeks ahead of us, and Onat said, it was nice to talk. I don’t think that even one among us had been visualized something that really suits what we have experienced later. For instance, at the time, I was sifting how intense I feel for which book that I am going to read on hammock. “Was such hammock time is even possible under this heat? Also beer would be so piping hot, I could drink fast though but not as fast as I do read anyway.”

We should have kept in step with the new era’s groove, so Serdar took us a farewell photo, and then we wended our way. One tent for each head, in the same way as giant chock-full of bags, stacked in the trunk, with no sight when checked on rear view mirror. Almost every evening, that trunk had been emptied, entirely, and then reloaded back.

Now that I am thinking, the only thing on my mind is the first night, the plastic chair I had sprawled for hours, right across the wood fire, without even minding the fume, till the fire die down itself. Then there was my perfectly fumed raincoat, which I had worn till the end. Also the joy from the last days: hammock, the blue, books, coffee, wine, conversations that is to say just Üzüm Pier: somewhere oddly comforting and comfortingly odd on The Lycian Way, somewhere which can only come to life with an existence of its trekkers. The time in between is pretty fuzzy but only I know how tired I had felt.

 So tired, napping on the cliff edge.

Messy stuff had happened, either. It happens, it always happens, actually, but five divergent people from total different backgrounds having spent two whole weeks together, side by side all the time, and by just minor scratches is something! And there left red-white colored clothes, sunburns, landscapes from here and there, distances made, places we stayed, places that stayed in our minds… Didn’t we set up tents in newly-mortared mezzanine floor, just because the ground was all muddy after the rain? Weren’t we over the moon when treated with the filter coffee in the middle of a village, after work, all worn out? Weren’t they us, towards every evening, without mentioning the fatigue we were feeling, driving through sand dunes in Patara, to watch the enchanted sunset over and over again? What else… Didn’t we nibble bread and spread in lunch break, right beside ancient aqueducts? Didn’t we sacrifice a liiiitle of our arms and legs while walking within jungle-like paths? Didn’t we, suavely, bicker over who gets scissors to trim the bushes? Let’s say it didn’t work, and we ended up with marking, didn’t we favor red one over the white for god’s sake! It also happened that we split into two teams, and tried to meet up in the middle, and failed for good. Ate lunch box of potato salad we made, along with dark tea from village coffee; looked for a passage way across the flowing waters, up and down; when the minds went blank from fatigue, and there was no trace of healthy communication (no chance at all!), we all grinned at each other, like a bunch of goofies. While hot winds blowing on my face, at the back seat of the car, in half awake half asleep state, I had crooned lots and lots.

 Patara sunsets!

Each new thing is a brand new experience, and having left my own mark on The Lycian Way is really exquisite. Now paths will be welcoming the trekkers much kindly (at least for a while! till the bushes rule again, and sun eat the marks we have left), and also humble rest house owners won’t be waiting for a long time for trekkers to safely arrive, that’s my wish. Thanks to Culture Routes Society, to Kate and to Serdar, for their sincere interests upon us. And to all rest house owners who shared their dinner table with us, hosted us, and took care of our special needs; they are Karadere Park Orman from Gavurağılı, Gaz Kesmez Margaz Cuisine&Camping from Üzümlü, Flower Pension from Patara, and Yeşil Pension from Gökçeören. In my view, the biggest thank-you goes to my fellows: to Lara, to Gökhan, to Can, and to Onat who sweat over so much for everything to be right on track.

Fulya Duman

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