Bar/fly: Turkey

By Ewan McDonald

Illustration / Rod Emmerson
Illustration / Rod Emmerson

Travel Editor: You lot look like you're enjoying yourselves. This is the chirpy, upbeat end of the Travel section, remember?

The Writer: We were. There's quite a story to this photo.

A bunch of us decided to hike the Lycian Way along the Mediterranean coast of Turkey to celebrate a couple of significant birthdays. Walk by day or, if we didn't feel like it, take a local minibus. Sleep under the stars. Crash out on beaches. Buy our own food. About a dozen friends signed up. Lit out from Oludeniz early in June, had a whole lotta fun. Then it became Survivor Turkey.

TE: Because?

TW: It was unseasonably hot.

TE: Can we get to the bar?

TW: Thought you'd never ask. The more sane members of the team kicked on to Cirali, possibly the most gorgeous beach in the world, on an air-conditioned bus.

Five of us voted to continue around the coast. We were dropped off in the most Allah-forsaken village on the planet and pointed in the direction of a stunning beach resort. Travel Advisory: do not believe everything you Google.

TE: Why?

TW: We walked 12km carrying full packs in 40-plus heat. No shade. Up hill and down ...

TE: So the happy wanderers kept right on to the end of the road?

TW: Where we happened upon the allegedly stunning beach resort. It was a tiny seaside village but it did have one bar. Right on the beach. We collapsed on to the chairs. Then someone thought we should toast our adventure with G&Ts. Except that the average Turkish bartender's concept of a G&T is - take one beer glass. Fill with cheap Serbian gin. Add slice of lemon. Cut with finger of tonic - unless it's already overflowing the beer glass.

TE: Or there were ...

TW: Efes. The national detergent but it's one of the few Turkish words I can pronounce, and it's cold.

Dinner was lots of small platters with eggplant and yoghurt and that thing they do with little fried fish and spicy kebab, matched with some of the finest Anatolian reds.

Jude even helped them shuck about 3 tonnes of walnuts. The owner said we could use his toilets and showers and camp on his lawn.

We asked the nice man when was the first bus out of town in the morning.

He said, "Leaves about 10." Then I asked, "Tomorrow?"

And he said, "No, Friday, the next bus goes about 10 on Tuesday."

That's pretty much when this photo was taken.

And he said, "I'll ring my brother-in-law's second cousin's husband's nephew, who drives the minibus."

TE: So you . . .

TW: Slept on the beach in front of the restaurant under the stars. Warm, dry, waves lapping, possibly the only sandy beach in Turkey. And the 80-year-old man was there with the minibus at 7.30 next morning.

- NZ Herald

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