Turkey travel diary: Day 8 – swimtrek day 6 (last day)

So far I’ve only gotten around to posting up the first week in Turkey – the week of the swimtrek – so after today, I’ll put up one more post and that’ll it be it (and maybe one more bonus post). I may eventually get around to posting up some other stuff about my Turkey travels, but I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon. I have over 3,000 photos I need to sort through of my second week in Turkey (3,176 photos to be precise, which I need to organize and cull. Whoa, that’s about 450 photos, on average, I was taking, per day). I really need to learn the art of restraint. Day 6 of the Lycian Way swimtrek: A little sad that the trip was drawing to an end. It would be a day of lasts. This would be our last full day of swimming. Our last day out on the turkish yacht. Another two great swims were had. First up was an archipelago swim – how cool is that. It was a 3.5km circular swim around a small cluster of islands between Turkey and Greece, so we swam from one island to another.

From swimtrek day 6

Towards the end of the week, and by this time, I was suffering from some neck and shoulder chafing. Vaseline – a must. So were some photos of the Vaseline ritual. Rubber gloves and some petroleum jelly. Most of us (especially the gals), opted to apply our own, but our swimguides were on hand to help us out. Mr. D looks rather menacing with his latex glove, looking for his next vaseline victim:

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

Going in for the kill:

From swimtrek day 6

Here’s the start of the archipelago swim:

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

The pink group set off:

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

I look ready to swim:

From swimtrek day 6

One island down:

From swimtrek day 6

Our morning swim was rewarded by a lunch feast of shish kebabs – yum. Our last lunch feast, cooked right on the boat.

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

Can’t top these water views. Seaside dining, redefined:

From swimtrek day 6

And how lucky were we with the weather. We had been blessed with glorious weather and sunshine all week. Temps in the high 20s. Was sporting quite the tan after this week. Lots of delicious, healthy, fresh food:

From swimtrek day 6

Everyone digging in:

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

Lunch was followed by some chillaxing on the sundecks. It was going to be so hard to go back to reality:

From swimtrek day 6

There was more stuff to see underwater. Today, a shipwrecked fighter plane that had crashed into the sea for real (and not just planted there for the scuba divers).

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

Our last afternoon swim was a nice coastal swim past some Lycian tombs and cliffside (about a 2km swim). Here are some action shots during the swimtrek. Each group was escorted by a swim guide in a boat, on hand to throw us drinks when needed and to provide us direction.

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

A water bubble shot of Mr. D:

From Swimtrek day 5

Some fish:

From swimtrek day 6

This last swim was pretty exciting because we got to see a couple of large sea turtles which I thought was really cool. I was swimming with my underwater camera on me, so I was lucky to be able to take these snaps. I was surprised how close we could get to the turtle. The turtle is well camouflaged in the first couple of shots, but then I got some really clear ones:

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

That was one of the highlights of the trip. I’m glad I got to see one whilst we were actually swimming in the water (and had the camera tucked into my cossies). We reached the Lycian tombs:

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

Ah bliss. What a great way to end the swimtrek! Totally satisfied. We climbed back onto the boat and made our way back to Kas. This random fisherman tried to sell us some fish he had caught:

From swimtrek day 6

Back to Kas we went:

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

We finished at around 4pm, and had a few hours to kill before our last final group dinner at the hotel. Water views from my hotel balcony:

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

On this last day, I had one thing I had left to do that I wanted to do – and that was to take a visit out to the Amphitheatre ruins which was about a 20min walk. We had seen it from the water on the previous day, but I had wanted to go out there. I went for a photowalk out to the amphitheatre…to take in one last time the beauty of Kas and my time there, and to see one more last sunset.

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

The amphitheatre was surrounded by olive trees:

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

Great views to be had up here. Definitely worth coming out here for a bit of solitude, scenery and a stunning sunset for a bit of quiet reflection.

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

Best lookout point in Kas for sure, which is probably overlooked by a lot of visitors and tourists:

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

I’ve run out of adjectives to use…stunning, breathtaking, amazing…

From swimtrek day 6

This next photo is a little sad though. It depresses me a bit. Take note of this man…you’ll see why a bit further down:

From swimtrek day 6

It captures such loneliness.

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

I stayed up here for a bit over an hour taking in the scenery, until it got dark.

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

And then I made my way back into town and back to the hotel in time for our group dinner. Took more photos on my way back. Here’s a few of some kittens. Lots of cats in Kas.

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

These were really two kittens and not some trick double photography!

From swimtrek day 6

Now, you remember the photos above of the old man sitting alone at the amphitheatre? Well, I happened to pass him again, sitting alone, in the main town square. I didn’t realise it was the same guy until I actually went back through all these photos! All I remember at the time, was thinking that they were great images to take a photo of, but didn’t realise it was the same old man, alone. Makes me wonder what his story is.

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

Time for one last final dinner, this time a group farewell dinner, as people would be departing the next day. A week went by fast! Drinks first:

From swimtrek day 6

Dinner was on the sea deck by candlelight:

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

We celebrated the last night in style – roasted whole leg of lamb that had been slow-roasted for 10 hours (we had to decided our order the previous day so they can spend the whole day slow-roasting them). What a feast! One leg of lamb was shared between groups of four. I think I singlehandedly ate half a whole leg of lamb. I could totally indulge now totally guilt-free after a week of clocking up 25km of swims.

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

And lots of wine!

From swimtrek day 6

Followed by more drinks – a lot of beer judging by the table:

From swimtrek day 6
From swimtrek day 6

It ended up being a big night for some! People were up for celebrating, and it was the only night that we could let loose with the drinking because we couldn’t swim with hangovers during the week, happened to be a Saturday night too, so a handful went out nightclubbing. I called it a night and went to bed instead. A massive week of swimming, I had no energy left. Most people were also heading back home the next day, but I still had another week of travel around Turkey! Totally satisfied. It had been an amazing week. An experience that can never be relived. Truly magical. Am also totally hooked on doing another swimtrek tour. I had known before I even did this one, that I would want to do one every year…and I think I may very well might. There’s a few other destinations I’m interested in going to. It was a hard decision to do the Turkey one first…so will definitely get around to doing a few of the other destinations over the next few years. Just the idea of it sustains me. If you’re interested in doing a swimtrek, you should check out their website. You don’t need to a fast swimmer to join. They cater for all levels and speed. You can breastroke the whole time if you prefer. Wetsuits, flippers, snorkle masks are fine too. Very little restrictions on swimming. And you can jump on the boat at any time if you prefer not to swim at all. Go on, take the plunge! iSwim, therefore I be. iSwim, therefore I don’t drown. What! Not enough photos, you say. Fear not. More here. You’re welcome. 5193017 2011-11-02 13:44:27 2011-11-02 04:44:27 open closed turkey-travel-diary-day-8-swimtrek-day-6-last-day publish 0 0 post 0 Fitness passing time photography Swimming Swimming Travel travel Turkey _edit_last 253158 Turkey travel diary: Last day swimtrek (officially) http://memoirsofaleisha.blog.com/2011/11/04/turkey-travel-diary-last-day-swimtrek-officially/ Fri, 04 Nov 2011 00:30:40 +0000 aleishariboldi@gmail.com http://memoirsofaleisha.blog.com/?p=5193007 Sunday, October 9, 2011 A sad day. The last day of the swimtrek. Officially. (Thank god, you say. Enough of these swimming photos!) It was actually a semi-half day. There were 2 optional early morning swims – at 7am and at 8:30am. I made it up for the 8:30am. Seemed the morning was a struggle for some, given the previous night’s drinking antics. Last swim for the holiday took place in the bay in front of the hotel. Clouds were rolling in, it was grey and overcast. Storms were predicted for the next few days, and indeed it rained for most of the next week. I had been lucky with the weather on this trip. I would have hated to be out on the boat and in the water with it raining all week, especially given how blessed we were with the weather on the week that I did it. The holiday gods had been upon us. Felt a bit bad for the next swimtrek group that would have had a week of rain on their trip. We did a round lap of the bay out the front of the hotel, for a last refreshing swim. The water temp was so much cooler.

From Swimtrek – last day
From Swimtrek – last day
From Swimtrek – last day
From Swimtrek – last day

Breakfast, and then good-byes dragged out during the day as people left – some on flights back home, some onwards with their Turkey travels, and a few were staying an extra night in Kas and leaving the next day. Parting is such sweet sorrow. It was great to have met an awesome bunch of people though. I was due to leave on an overnight bus that evening so I still had the whole day spare. Myself and a couple of the other girls went for a hamam – a Turkish steam bath. This is something that has to be experienced to be believed. For many foreigners that come to Japan – onsens and the ritual (and pasttime) of public communal bathing is quite foreign and can be uncomfortable for some. I’m so used to communal bathing that I don’t think much of it. A hamam is a similar, yet different experience. Basically, your entire body is scrubbed and washed by someone as you lie naked on a marble table. I was a little apprehensive, but I decided to go with one of the other girls and we went together to experience a Turkish bath. When in Rome, ay. The Hamam Experience (Turkish bathing), explained: Strip off and wear a bikini. And wrap a towel around you. You’ll be taken to the steam bath room where basically you lie on a hot marble table and sweat it out. We were in there for an extraordinarily long time – 40 minutes of steaming. It’s usually only about 10 min or so. Then the Turkish woman (or man) comes in and lies you down on the marble table. I think the locals do this totally naked, perhaps, but for most tourists – they let you wear a bikini, although they usually take your bikini top off, so you lie there pretty much naked except for a pair of knicker bottoms. I felt like a sacrificial naked lamb on a marble altar. What follows next is some abrasive dry body scrubbing. I felt as though I was a block of parmesan cheese being grated. They are not gentle with the loofah. You literally see rolls of flesh and dead skin cells being grated off your body. There’s exfoliation, and then there’s a Turkish body scrub. They take great delight in showing you all your dead skin too. They must think we’re so filthy. It made me wonder what the hell I do in the shower all these years, because I certainly hadn’t been seeing this amount of dirt and dead skin on my body. The scrubbing is intense. Good for the circulation though. I had a Turkish lady scrub me, but the other girl I was with, had a Turkish boy scrub her down. It’s all PG though and not at all sleazy. Some hamams are mixed gender as well – this one was. But luckily, no other men at the same time. After you’ve been scrubbed to within an inch of your life, you are washed down with soap. Full on lathery, bubbly soap. This part is awesome. I looked like a soap mummy. They massage you a bit with the soap as well. And yes, you’re still lying down naked the whole time. At one point, she spun me around naked on the slippery marble table. Holy crap, I thought I was gonna fly off. They wash the soap off you and then you dry off a bit. We had gone the massage option as well, so we were taken to the massage room where we laid face down and had a deep relaxing massage. This is the part where they pummel and grind you like a piece of dough. They give it especially hard to the men. I saw looks of pain for one guy that was there after us. But he also had a strong Turkish dude give it to him. I had asked them to go easy on me, so they gave me a young girl to massage me. She was really good. She was thorough. Awesome massage. I felt so clean and fresh. My skin was practically shiny. I felt like a polished apple that he been scrubbed, washed and waxed. And the massage was much needed after a week of swimming. Loved the hamam experience! Exactly what I needed. Spent the rest of the afternoon shopping and browsing the local markets with one of the girls. By this time the rain had set in and a storm was brewing:

From Swimtrek – last day
From Swimtrek – last day
From Swimtrek – last day

Turkish delight:

From Swimtrek – last day

More hidden Lycian tombs in the cliffside:

From Swimtrek – last day

And thus concludes my week of swimming around the Lycian Way, Turkey. A satisfying week of open water swimming. It’s the only way to travel now! Will definitely be doing more swimtreks to new destinations in the future. I hadn’t expected the experience to be so cathartic, like some kind of awakening within me. I was reminded of one of my favourite non-Murakami books; ‘The Awakening’ by Kate Chopin. There’s a certain irony in that some people liberate themselves and set themselves free by drowning in the sea, yet I find so much freedom in swimming in it. Much better to be alive in the water, than not. Water is so lifegiving. And I had had such an amazing holiday. I still had another week of traveling around Turkey (on land) which only further cemented my love for Turkey. Such a beautiful country with diverse landscape. Since I’ve gotten back from Turkey, I’ve only hit the pools once, and I have to say that it’s not quite the same being back in a pool. It’s been a bit of a struggle to face the cholorine box. Much prefer ocean swimming. I did lose about 2kg over the course of the swimtrek which was a nice bonus and was definitely feeling healthy and fit. Am trying to keep the weight off that I’ve lost as well. It’s struggle though as we go into winter here. You’d be hardpressed to gain weight over the week with the amount of swimming we did. A parting gift we received from our swimguides was a map and swim log of the week with the swim routes and distances marked out. That was a really nice touch. A little memento of our swimming achievements:

From Swimtrek – last day

Our approximate daily swimming distances were: Tuesday – 5.5km Wednesday – 4km Thursday – 4.5km Friday – 5.5km Saturday – 6km Week total: 25.5km + leisure swims and walks. I swam more than I ever thought I could over a week. I’ll end with a few nice swimming inspiration/motivation quotes: “Don’t wait for your ship to come in – swim out to it.” ~Author Unknown “I always wanted to be Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up. I can’t fly, but swimming is the next best thing. It’s harmony and balance. The water is my sky.” ~Clayton Jones “Seventy-five percent of our planet is water – can you swim?” ~Author Unknown “H2O: two parts Heart and one part Obsession.” ~Author Unknown “It’s a good idea to begin at the bottom in everything except in learning to swim.” ~Author Unknown And just for laughs: “We swim because we are too sexy for a sport that requires clothes.” ~Author Unknown

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