donkey at Lydae in Turkey

Our morning excursion took us to the remote peninsular plateau that is known as the ancient site of Lydae. Little is known about this quiet place that seems far away from our modern world - and what there is known was written up here by one of our expert tour leaders Professor Olivier Henry in his post about Lydae, so check his article for a description of the antiquities and the two great mausolea that dominate the place. We find Lydae beautiful, but also unusual - it is strange to envisage an ancient settlement in this hard-to-reach corner of Turkey, and with such limited resources available...

On our walk (the plateau is reached in about 45 minutes ascent from the shore), we met a veritable menagerie of creatures. It began with a turtle, spotted in the sea during our zodiac ride ashore. Next, just as we were about to reach the beach, there was a squirrel on the gravel, dancing about briefly, then disappearing up a tree. As we started walking, Cem found a series of porcupine quills. And continuing up the path, we were met by three unattended donkeys on their way down to the coast - gentle and friendly creatures that stopped to inspect us and let us rub their heads. Of course, we knew whose donkeys they are!

gulet in bay below LydaeUp on the plateau, after exploring the archaeological remains, we met our old friend Mutlu and his wife, Hanife. This wonderful and hospitable couple, the descendants of Turkish nomads or semi-nomads, live up there in a tiny encampment. Mutlu is quasi-caretaker of the antiquities, but also harvests olives, sage and oregano. He keeps those donkeys, as well as goats (who came to visit us in our cove later), chickens and at least one turkey. It must be a hard living, but the two of them are a friendly and relaxed couple and it was a great joy to see them after a long absence on my part. Their sage tea is the best I have ever tasted. On my Athenian balcony, a goat bell of theirs chimes in the wind, and in the illustrations to all the recipes I share on this blog, you will see wooden spoons made by the two of them!

To visit Lydae and encounter what may be the last generation of locals to pursue an age-old lifestyle, join one of our Carian tours in Turkey.

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