Today’s day hike will go in the other direction, back toward Kapakli. We begin by climbing the acropolis just outside Uçağiz. We’ve become pretty jaded about acropolises, never having found more than a few foundation stones at the top of these hills. But this area also contains an impressive jumble of old Lycian tombs, standing like big square stone treasure chests, every one broken open by tomb robbers centuries, if not millennia, ago.
Today, for the first time, we will be walking in the same direction as Kate Clow’s book. Despite this advantage, we quickly lose the trail. A signpost directs us into a field. We wander there for a bit, looking for the first blaze. As we’re doing this, an aging woman comes into the field with a rake.
“Where to Kapakli we go?” I ask.
Usually, my Turkish is so obviously rudimentary that people simply gesture broadly in deference to my doubtful mental competence. But this woman uncorks a stream of voluble and extraordinarily emphatic Turkish that goes on and on and on. I think she may be giving me her considered views on the moral ambiguities of ecotourism. I try my biggest smile and the one phrase of Turkish I’m pretty sure I know how to say properly.
“I don’t understand,” I grin.
Undeterred, she launches back into her disquisition. We are finally rescued by an older gentleman working in the neighboring field. He calls us over and points out the beginning of the trail. Then he too has a lecture to deliver. I’ve been wondering what all these people are doing in the fields. He shows me that they are harvesting strange, twisted black pods, perhaps five inches long, an inch wide, and a quarter inch thick. They look a bit like oversized dried-out brown peapods. He hands me one, then bites into another. I do the same. It tastes good -- a bit like dry fig.
The man tells me the pod’s name, then puts two of them up to his head and bends over, waving his head back and forth. I have no idea what to say or do. It doesn’t seem to be a fit, and I can’t connect it up to ecotourism either. Later, back at Orun Pansiyon, Jacqueline will explain that the name for this fruit translates as “goat’s horn.” And, indeed, the twisted pods do resemble the horns of the many goats we’ve seen over the past few days. Turks swear by these fruits as a source of vitamins and energy.
Trying to look as though we’ve been enlightened by the river of information that has just rolled over us, we bid the old fellow good-bye and head off down the trail, which runs along the side of a walled Moslem graveyard. Parts of the graveyard contain the well-tended graves of recent generations. But the wall encompasses a few acres, and much of it is entirely overrun by head-high scrub, from which a few decaying stone markers poke like stray rocks
Apart from that short climb, the
trail is flat and easy. After five or
six kilometers, we leave the trail and start across country toward a Genovese
fortress perched on a hill off to the south.
Our attention is focused on the tower when someone behind us shouts,
“Hey!” in a tone that can only be American.
In fact, it is a solo backpacker, probably a college student, from