So ignoring the fact that someone (not from Patara) tried to rape me, Patara itself is a cute little village.
(Update: yesterday, the Scottish family said they saw the jandarma here so I know they’re following up. I have a light bruise on the left side of my jaw and am a little sore.)
There is one road from the highway that leads into Patara. All it is, is a little break between the mountains and hills here. Akay (ah-kai) Pension, which I’m so glad I stayed at, is a ten minute walk down a forked road. To the left is the proper entrance to the ancient ruins and beach, and to the right is the village. The village itself is just one street, lined with little market shops and restaurants. It’s practically empty here, probably because of the ash cloud and it being shoulder season.
The ancient ruins consist of a theatre, a cobblestoned street lined with several intact columns, a triple-arched gate, and two other buildings I’m not sure of what they are. The ruins sit in a meadow in the valley and at this time of the year, the wildflowers are blooming. The sun is a bit strong, so pack sunscreen. But it’s not humid yet, and the breeze is cooling. The huge, sandy beach is a little past the ruins. There’s a beach bar there with beach chairs.
Yesterday, Kazim offered to take me and the Scottish family to go check out the nearby villages. I almost declined because I wanted to take it easy today, but then decided I wouldn’t let one disgusting man ruin my plans. Our first stop was Xanthos, the ancient ruins (which is a UNESCO World Heritage site) on top of the hill. It overlooks a large portion of the valley. While walking through the overgrown paths, I came across two tortoises and heard the call to prayer. So glad I left the hotel! I was hoping to also stop by the Letoon ruins but apparently the Lonely Planet guide was misleading in saying that they were right next to each other.
Next stop was Saklikent Gorge. It’s a tiny crack between the mountains with a river running through it. Normally, there’s a rope at the bottom and according to the Scottish guys, it’s great fun walking in the river. This time of year, the water is too high (I was a little relieved). We stopped at a nearby open-air restaurant; it seems a little more Middle East out in the countryside. This restaurant, as well as all the other ones, has pillows to recline on and low tables (no chairs). We had these pancake things for lunch.. Delicious! Could have stayed there and fallen asleep.
Last stop was Pinara. The ruins are at the top of one of the mountains. We drove up about 2km, along a super steep road. Parked at the entrance, where there’s a trailhead splitting off three ways. Pinara’s most noticeable ruins are the Lycian tombs carved right into the rock faces. There are so many of them, so impossibly high! The landscape here is also just amazing. You could easily spend a day here hiking around, scrambling up rock walls, and staring out over the valley!
I leave in a couple hours to go to an even smaller village, Kabak. The place I’m staying works with a taxi driver that I decided to hire. It’ll cost ~100USD for the 1.5 hr drive. I thought that was a lot until Kazim and I figured out petrol here is like $17/gallon!!!!!
Sorry, kind of rushed this morning. Here’s a pic of the Patara ruins…