Üçağız, the gateway to Kekova, is a small fishing village of about 400 residents. Tourist boats from nearby Kaş passed in the distance to see the sunken city of Simena, but this Hemingway-esque retreat was full of peace. Pictured above, the pier of our pension out to the water.
Across the peninsula and over a hill strewn with sarcophagi, was Kekova and a small collection of houses, restaurants, and pensions that sat across the water from the sunken ruins.
A fisherman returning to the harbor.
Three boats in the bay.
In Üçağız, Marcus and I discovered gözleme, a Turkish style crêpe, filled with cheese, onions, and potato. The elderly couple who owned the small restaurant were so friendly and we ate there multiple times. Marcus befriended the man and spoke about politics in a strange mix of Turkish, German, and English. His wife was full of smiles for me and serious remarks towards her husband’s political comments. In addition to delicious gözleme and Ayran (a Turkish yoghurt drink), they would bring out watermelon, pears, or apples for dessert and sit down with us and share the fruit.
Visiting the sunken city was only possible with a group, either on a boat or by kayak. Marcus and I chose to paddle across the bay on a four-hour tour for an up-close view. The sunken city is a collection of ancient Lycian ruins, destroyed by earthquake, attacks over the centuries, and time. We would have loved to spend more time there, but swimming and snorkeling is prohibited. So we looked, admired, and then paddled to Kekova for lunch.
Kekova is only accessible by boat. Or by foot if you’re willing to make the sweaty hike over the hilly peninsula, through the necropolis, and past the grazing goats. As we did on the second day there.
The hike was tiring, but we rewarded ourselves with homemade ice cream from one of the pensions in Kekova, then hiked further towards a secluded bay to swim and snorkel.
When we arrived in Üçağız, we realized that they didn’t have any cash machines and had to go to a bank in the nearby town of Demre for extra lira. The landscape was again astounding. On our return trip, we picked up a hitch-hiking granny who ended up being the cousin of the man at whose pension we were staying. Marcus was mysteriously able to hold a conversation with her and we were laughing as we bounced across the dusty road, the woman waving to all her friends as we passed.