Category Archives: Walks with Zirve Mountaineering Club

Our first walk with Zirve – 2016 season


This was a complicated walk, though not all of it was walking.  We set off from Selçuk at 8:30 in the morning and drove to Pinar Köyu where we stopped for breakfast of gözleme, domates ve zeytin.  It was a fairly brief stop and soon we were back on our buses for the drive to Çomakdağ köyu where we ended up staying for longer than I think was originally intended.

First we climbed up with some other people, above the village where there was a fantastic view.


We were back in the village at the appointed time, but everyone else was behind by half an hour then we went strolling off with a gentleman from the village who showed us several traditional houses (many of them somewhat ruined), his pygmy cows and an olive barrel.  He ended up taking us home for lunch.  Which was delicious but had to be cut short as the buses were revving up and we were keeping them waiting.

Our next stop was Euromos – we’ve been there before and our visit was all too brief as we were running late.   It’s a really impressive site and I would love to go back on our own, with more time to explore (and less people…..  There were 75 in our group!)


We drove onwards towards Bafa Lake where we finally got our walk!  Only about 7 Km the Yediler Manastriri and back.

And finally, onto the beach at Heraklia (no time to explore the ancient city) where we watched a beautiful sunset and enjoyed an ice cold beer with friends.

It took a couple of hours to drive back to Selçuk.  A very full day, but extremely worthwhile



Eski Foça


The Sunday before we went to the UK for a week, we went walking again with Zirve dağcılık.  This time we went to Eski Foça which is a couple of hours drive from Selçuk.  It was a mixed group and not everyone did the walking, though the walking was not particularly long or difficult.  It was, primarily, a social and archaeological trip.


We started out by walking up to and almost completely ruined acropolis then on to the windmills which dominate the town’s skyline.  Quite steep going and more difficult on the way down.  The area has been in continuous occupation since the time of the Hittites and most of the monumental stones have been reused several times.  This makes for a fascinating site, but one that is difficult to make sense of.

At the bottom of the hill are the scant remains of what must once have been an impressive theater.  There are pot shards lying all around – though it can be hard to tell which are ancient and which were dropped by picnicers last week.  Most of the chorus area was occupied by sheep.

After all this vigorous exercise it was time for lunch.  Lunch was fish, eaten on the harbour which is well supplied with fish restaurants.  We ate with quite a large group.  The balık ekmek was a bit greasy but the calamaris (and the views) were excellent!

After lunch we were taken on a tour of the recent dig (there is an Athena Temple, or the remains thereof, near to the school) and the citadel by one of the working archaeologists.  He was very interesting but rather softly spoken.  There is not much left of the Athena Temple or the agora which is nearby.  Most of the stone was taken by later occupants for other projects.  Bits of it can be seen in the walls of the citadel.  The walk around the citadel is enchanting.  It has been restored in such a way that the various ‘layers’ of building are easy to identify.  Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman.  It is also monumentally huge.  We didn’t get a good photograph of the citadel walls from outside.  The picture below is of what remains of the temple (and the agora).  You can see bits of the citadel wall from the inside.


After the citadel tour we went for a brisk walk around the English Peninsula before joining up with the rest of the group for some excellent ice cream to sustain us on the long ride home.

Snow Walk

Boz Dag08

A couple of years ago we wrote about our trip to Boz Dağ with Zirve Club.  On that occasion we hoped to find snow but failed.  This time we found rather a lot of snow.  We think we arrived in the village later than anticipated partly because we stopped off for breakfast before we even got to Tire and partly because the road was snowy and slippery.  After a brief stop in the village we headed up the mountain.  Knee deep in snow much of the way.  One group stopped just below the tree line.  We went up quite a bit further and a third group went right to one of the lower peaks.

Boz Dag19Going up was easier than coming down.  Hilary needed a lot of help and still fell over (snow makes for a soft landing).  There was then a longish stop to appreciate the snowman, fail to light a fire and to wait for the final group to rejoin us.

There was another break in the village for lunch (and warming up by the tea room soba) before we headed back for the bus.  We were supposed to go to Gölçük but that part of the trip was cancelled, due to a combination of the late hour and the poor road conditions (not to mention the traffic jam) and we headed down to Birgi where we had a wander for half an hour before heading home.

We have seen a travel site that insists that Turkey always has ‘bikini weather’.  Beautiful this was, but…. not bikini weather.

Walking round Sardis

Sardis walk27

On Sunday we went walking with Zirve Mountaineering and Extreme Sports Club again.  This time numbers were more to our taste – 26 of us all together, including a very knowledgeable guide.  We were happy to be able to understand nearly everything he told us about the site.  He did speak good English, but the information was given to the group in Turkish.  It was an early start and a two hour drive to the village of Sart where we stopped for breakfast.  Parts of the ancient site are in that village.  We wandered around the gymnasium and synagogue area.  The synagogue was particularly impressive – huge, built in Roman times, it has some amazing mosaics, on the floor and mounted on some of the remaining walls.

The gymnasium has been quite heavily restored but one of the things we found most fascinating about it is the sculpted heads mounted on the capitals of the columns at the front of the building.  We have not seen anything like that before and we did manage to get a picture of one of them.

Sardis was an important city for more than 1,500 years.  It was, at various points, Lydian, Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine.

Our minibus drove us up to the Artemesion.  Much better preserved than the more famous temple near Ephesus (the one we can walk to, the one that was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the one that is almost completely tumbled down but a great place for wildlife).  The temple has seen very little modern restoration, although there is a church at one end (built when Christianity became the official religion in the area).  The columns are of various dates (and some were ‘restored’ in Roman times) but they are properly tapered to give a good perspective.

Following our visit to the Temple we climbed up to the acropolis.  All that remains of the acropolis is Byzantine and most of that has fallen down the hillside, not least because the entire hill seems to be made of sand and sandstone.   We stopped for a tea break in a sheltered part of the acropolis walls.  Although the weather was overcast, the worst of the rain held off till late afternoon and we got some amazing views.

On the way back we stopped off first at the Kazak Centre where we ate Sutlaç, then on to Karabel where there is a wonderful Hittite relief cut into the rock.  There were more, unfortunately destroyed when the road was widened.




Walking in Dilek Millipark – October 2015

Millipark Oct 1501

This was our first walk with Zirve this year.  They have been on two outings but we were in Lesvos for the first one and Bodrum for the second.

Millipark Oct 1511This walk started in Guzelcamli, up, over part of a hill then down to the coastline. Along the shore to Aydinkoy (which is the second beach and one much favoured by wild boar).  The weather was absolutely perfect for walking.  I think the high was around 26 degrees, the sky was blue and the sun shone upon us.

We started with a minute’s silence for those affected by the bombs in Ankara last weekend.  We then walked a marked trail – it was mostly very easy going with a few steep bits.  There were a total of 170 of us.  Rather too many for our liking though, as ever, there was a great sense of camaradie, our Turkish was practiced and new friends were made.  There were about 25 of us on the bus from Selcuk, plus the Mugla, Izmir and Soke branches and a busload from Kusadasi.

Millipark Oct 1508All along the way we came across indications that refugees had also taken this path.  We found discarded clothing, bags, certificates, ID papers, exercises in English for Arabic speakers, water bottles, juice cartons, medicine packaging, food packaging, cigarette packs.  On the shoreline we found a pump, clearly used to inflate a boat.  Several life jackets were retrieved.  Yes, it makes a mess in a National Park, but people are people and people are more important.

Millipark Oct 1517

After lunch at Aydinkoy (with the boars) some swam and others didn’t.  We then walked up, mostly along paths and road, back to Guzelcamli where we had a chance to visit Zeus’ cave before getting the bus back home.

Iassos Walk

Iassos walkC

Whilst Ashley is up to date with the blog, Hilary is still playing catch up.  This was a walk we did with Zirve Mountaineering and Nature Sports Club on 1st March.  It was a full day out with many different activities.  The weather was fine (except for one brief shower of rain) and we had a great time.

Iassos walkPOur first stop was for breakfast in one of our favourite pit stops.  A rather unprepossessing looking truck stop at the Heraklion end of Lake Bafa.  It’s not posh, but we think they do some of the best gözleme on the planet.  We both had the otlu peynirli version.  Crisply, delicious and it came with a salad.  We also drank a lot of çay.

Our second stop was the incredibly spectacular ancient site at Euremos.  We’ve known it was there for some time.  We have ridden past it regularly on our way to Bodrum and beyond.  We had not, however, realised just how amazing it is.  This is, we think, just about the most intact temple we have ever seen.  It is not a restoration.  And the theatre…..  Not everyone walked up to the theatre (not really very far) as they were busy taking photos around the temple.  The theatre is hellenistic.  Hilary’s favourite sort of theatre.  It was hard to drag her away from it…

Next stop was ‘the walk’.  Only about 10 Km and, really, not difficult.  There was a stop at some point and kokoreç was cooked and eaten.  Wild flower were seen.

We wound up at Iassos.  Where, after some wandering around, we settled down in a restaurant to drink beer and eat.

Iassos walkR

Walking to Meryem Ana


The day after our roof was finished we went walking with Zirve.  There are many ways to walk from the Kuşadası road up to Meryemana.  Some of them are easy.  This one wasn’t.  We were aching for days afterwards.

It was, however, a very good walk in perfect weather.  We cooked and ate suçuk but we didn’t actually get as far as Meryemana.  This walk was done on 25th January and we saw some early wildflowers.

Photos of the Month, November and December

Still trying to catch up since the trip to the UK, despite having been home for two weeks now.  So we think it best to post pictures for November and December 2014 before it’s time for January!

November features some of the best from Istanbul.  December from a walk with Zirve (the only one we managed to make that month).

Archaeological Museumh Archaeological Museumj Archaeological Museumi Topkapi09 tasdelenpinarb tasdelenpinaretasdelenpinar5


Kaplan Dağ


We still have material to post about our trip to Istanbul but, last Sunday, we climbed Kaplan Dağ with Zirve mountaineering and extreme sports club. It’s quite a tough walk with some scrambling at times, but no actual climbing involved. Which is a good thing. Hilary is not good at climbing. The steep, muddy paths left us with aching legs for several days. A challenging walk but not so challenging as to be miserable…

It was a lovely walk in good company with some totally amazing views.  The weather was perfect for walking – bright sunshine but not very warm.  Yes, the weather here has turned ‘colder’ for a relative value of ‘colder’.

KaplandagROne thing we were very glad of was our hiking poles. We bought some rather expensive poles when we were in the UK last spring. That was just after Hilary hurt her ankle so it was not till autumn that we got the chance to use them.  Maybe it was because we’d left it so long, but, although we clearly remembered the salesman demonstrating how to deploy and fold them down for storage, we couldn’t get it right.  The first few walks we did, the sticks tended to collapse at unexpected moments.  That was no big deal as they weren’t really needed until the Kaplan Dağ walk.  We watched a video on the internet which clearly showed a metal button that keeps the poles in place when deployed and allows them to fold when you don’t need them…  We couldn’t find the button.  Until, just before we set off last Sunday, it suddenly appeared, but not were it was shown on the video.  We assume we have an older model, but it is good they are now fully functional.

So we had sticks for the mountain – ones that supported us when we needed them and folded away neatly when we did not.


Ataköy-Değirmendere Şelale Nature Walk


On Sunday we went walking with the Zirve club again.

We started out with breakfast in the village then headed out along forest roads.  The walk was easy – all forest roads, no scrambling or climbing and not very steep.  About 15 Km in total.

SelalewalkACIt is not every year that we get to see autumn colour here in Turkey.  On Sunday it was spectacular.  The oriental plane trees are blazing orange and the wild pears trees are bright yellow in the sunlight.  All this against a backdrop of pine trees and soft autumn light as we walked through the gorge.

The autumn flowers are blooming – we saw dandelions, cyclamen, crocii and daisies mostly.  Also a huge variety of mushrooms.

After the obligatory stop to cook sucuk over open fires, we turned around and SelalewalkAJwalked back.  Stopping off at Değirmendere Şelale, a beauty spot obviously popular with local people (several of whom were enjoying a picnic when our rather large group arrived).

Of course we took a lot of photos….