On the first day we had walked to the busy seaside resort of Altinkum and the old town of Didum so today we decided to walk in the opposite direction to the more sedate seaside village of Yesilkent about three kilometres away.
It was a good day, a blue sky, a cooling breeze and a pleasant mid-morning temperature just about perfect for walking and we set off in the direction of the coast and the smoky blue hills far distant beyond the waters of the bay with silver-blue dragonflies buzzing around our heads. Turkey is apparently the place to go if you want to see dragonflies, I think these were called Southern Skimmers (Orthetrum brunneum).
We walked at a steady pace along a rural road next to dusty orchards of olive trees twisting and contorting as though in a Richard III lookalike competition and heavy with autumn fruit. Next to the olives were fields of hard stony ground impossible I imagine to cultivate and abandoned instead to the wild flowers and the thistles standing undisturbed and swaying like stately golden candelabra.
It was rather peaceful and almost serene but the one thing that spoiled the ambiance of the walk was the dreadful amount of litter because the road sides were strewn with a ribbon of human debris which made it look rather like an open landfill site. In Turkey it seems some people have seriously limited environmental awareness and clearly have a very disagreeable habit of dumping waste and litter at any scenic spot that they find convenient. This is such a shame because it will be impossible to ever clean up this environmental sabotage and no amount of boy scout campaigns or community litter-picks are ever going to remove this mess.
Closer to Yesilkent we walked through an estate of expensive houses and the litter stopped and then after stopping for a while at a bar we arrived at the beach. We didn’t stop for a swim just yet but kept on walking with the intention of walking back along the coastal route and we negotiated the rocks and the stony path passing on the way some women who were sitting in the water and applying generous amounts of mud to their sagging faces and bodies in a totally pointless anti-ageing rearguard action.
We were making steady progress until suddenly a jobsworth man in a blue uniform stood in our way and asked to see our wrist bands. What wrist bands? It seems that we had strayed into an all-inclusive resort area and there was no way that he would allow us through. We explained that we only wanted to pass by but it was like trying to negotiate with a mule so we were forced to retreat and make our way back to the road where instead of walking we caught a Dolmus (which isn’t a disease but a mini-bus public transport system) and made our way back to the apartment.
We sat for a while on the balcony and read our books and began the process of acquiring a sun tan. When I was younger I used to take this business rather seriously and apply all sorts of creams and oils steadily lowering the factor strength as the holiday progressed but I am beyond that now and I am a dedicated factor thirty maximum protection man. Sunbathing you see is so utterly pointless. It is a waste of good time, it is expensive, it is tedious, it is dangerous but above all the results are strictly temporary so on account of that I find that thirty minutes is just about as long as I can stand it before I have to find something more useful to do.
Something else that I don’t normally do while I am away is go to a bar and watch big-screen football but today, my team, Leicester City were playing Manchester United and although I was pessimistic about their chances I couldn’t resist going along for the last half an hour of the match.
When I arrived things were going badly, Leicester 1, Manchester 3, and some rowdy United fans were celebrating already and punching the air in ecstasy in anticipation of more goals. I sat down discreetly to watch the inevitable humiliation unfold. Suddenly, Leicester 2, Manchester 3 – Leicester 3, Manchester 3 – Leicester 4, Manchester 3 and finally Leicester 5, Manchester 3 – the very satisfying and completely unexpected final score.
The table of red shirts was stunned into silence and I thought I was going to explode with excitement, I could no longer disguise my pleasure so I drained my glass of Efes beer, glanced across at the silent table with as big a smile as I dare and as I left punched the air several times in celebration!
As the light faded and afternoon turned into early evening barbeques began to flare into life and cooking smells drifted in teasing waves across the balcony and so thoughts turned from beaches and football to food and wine and we prepared to walk into town for an evening meal. We didn’t get very far because restaurant owners and waiters in Altinkum can be very persistent in trying to gain custom so not in the mood for a debate at every place along the strip we stopped at one that we thought looked as though it might be quite nice and then enjoyed a very average meal and (by my benchmark) a shockingly expensive bottle of wine.
Later as we made an assessment of the day and on account of the disappointing evening meal we made a decision that tomorrow we would go shopping and then have a couple of nights of self catering.
As much as we loved our time in Turkey the litter was disheartening. One wonders what causes one country to not let a speck of garbage even land on the ground (Slovenia) and then somewhere like Turkey where it seems to be a national sport of pitching it in ditches.
It is horrible and will probably be a barrier to entry into the EU. Turkey would never be able to comply with environmental legislation. I remember Slovenia, Ljubljana was spoilt by all the graffiti!
It’s funny what sticks in our minds about countries Andrew. Most of our time was cycling around the countryside and I tell you there was not one piece of litter anywhere. I have never ever seen anything like it.
The cleanest country that I have ever been to by a mile was Switzerland.
Slovenia was nice but Ljubljana was a mess. Every year there is a city spring clean organised by the Ljubljana City Authorities as part of the annual activity “Za lepso Ljubljano” (For a Prettier Ljubljana). The operation cleans up three hundred and eighty square metres of river walls disfigured by graffiti and also removes litter from city streets and parks and cleans two kilometres of riverbed by divers to remove the illegal dumping.
Everywhere we abuse planet earth – except Switzerland!
I had heard about the annual clean up from our guide who said it was the entire country that came out. Not sure if that is accurate or not. We have not been to Switzerland but I look forward to the comparison one day.
There are some big hills but I imagine some good cycling!
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If my team had have come back from 1-3 down to beat Man Utd 5-3. I don’t think I’d have been able to contain my excitement until the final whistle. Well done for the win and for staying calm!
These things only happen once in a lifetime. I actually thought that I might take off into intergalactic orbit!
Sounds like such a hot and dusty trek and all that refuse…what a pity and waste of beauty and the environment. 🙂
That is exactly what it is Tess, a waste and a tragedy. I hate to see the world being abused in this way!
I know what you mean. Not that it’s a GREAT comparison but wasting food at a buffet is my next best comparison.
Those women plastering mud all over themselves look like something out of Dr.Who, Andrew. I don’t think I would have dared gone past them, let alone take a picture.
And did you say ‘shopping’ at the end of your post? You’re going shopping?
That’s my next story – no spoilers! Thanks for reading.
I wrote something but it disappeared! I hope I am not double posting.
a) Maybe the anti-ageing mud worked a few minutes later? 🙂
b) It is sad that some countries seem to have a ‘culture’ of dumping trash anywhere even if there are trash cans nearby.
Enjoy your travels.
I didn’t stay around to see the results!
Here down under, we get bombarded with so many skin cancer ads that we don’t even step foot a beach without slapping on sun block cream.
Thanks for reading. In consideration of the UK weather we don’t get that serious about it when we are at home. Raining today as usual!
I know how you feel. After a wet winter this year, we are finally glad to be seeing in spring.