Thursday we decided to visit the Wetlands at Psalidi, where, apparently, a flock of flamingos feed in a small lake. The place is about 4 kilometres out of town, so we set off after breakfast, water in the backpack and camera on my shoulder.
We passed the harbour and castle, as our route followed the coast. We hoped to spend as much time as possible walking along the beach. From the harbour, the Turkish mainland hugs the far horizon, often shrouded in that blue heat haze so characteristic of the Mediterranean Sea. A few minor islands are also dotted along this view.
It quickly became clear walking the beach was impractical, so we walked the broad pavement beside the road, keeping to the lane facing oncoming cycle traffic so we could move at their approach. Some roadside hotels, tavernas and bars were closed, mostly due to the reduction in tourist traffic (estimates are this year the usual 1.2 million visitors has been clipped to around 20-25% of that number). But there were others still open; something we kept in mind for our return walk.
It was a flat trek, with occasional chances to cross rough ground to catch the sea air. At length, we found a sign, decorated with the ubiquitous graffiti of the modern world, that pointed to Psalidi Wetlands.
Our route took us along a straight road with a couple of holiday complexes along one side. The pebble beach was home to a few sunbathers and one or two swimmers, but we met no other walkers. A rather pleasant tree-lined lane led us into the wetland complex. And a finger post guided us to an observation platform. The encircling fence bore a locked gate, but helpful visitors had forged an entry through the barrier and we followed, past a building that had once clearly been a visitor centre, now abandoned. We discovered one of the two signposted towers and clambered up to see what could be seen. Not a lot.
But we found the track continued through another hole in the fence and we walked further through what was once clearly a military base. The turf-covered concrete shelters rose high enough over the scrub to permit a view across to where the lake must lie. A little disappointing to discover the whole body of water is surrounded by a thick growing band of bamboo, impassable, and the ‘lake’ in the centre was reduced to a small green pond with no sign of flamingos.
But the walk was interesting, and we discovered some pretty wildflowers we wouldn’t otherwise have seen. Music drew us over the scrub toward the coast where we came upon a shanty shack advertising windsurfing and playing very loud 1980s protest rock. We left them to it and began our return walk, meeting a German couple surveying the site from another grass-covered bunker. We had a short chat with them, explaining our findings, and continued back toward the town.
There were a few more photo opportunities along the way, and we came to a well-kept crazy golf place. Mini Golf Fantasy, near Paradise Beach, was manned by the owner and we paid our €5 entry fee, which included a welcome bottle of cold water each, the club and ball, and a score sheet. We’ve often indulged in this daft and entertaining pastime when overseas and we wandered around the 16 holes to face the challenges. I manged a hole in one (pure luck) and Valerie made 2 holes in one (skill) and we ended up with her winning the round. It was a fun break from the walk, and we had a short chat with the owner before setting off again for the town.
Food called us as we returned to the hotel, after a walk of 10.7 kilometres, about 6.5 miles, in the wonderful warm sunshine. The bar provided sustenance and cool fluids. A quick visit to the pool for a swim and then a relax on our balcony before preparing for the evening meal at the Old River. Very nice!
Friday took us back to Papas Beach. I’d planned to use the cheap video camera I’d bought a few weeks earlier to record the sea lapping at the coast to use as background to some promo videos I hope to make for my books. We found a pair of sunbeds right by the sea and I set up the camera on the small tripod I’d brought and left it recording. At some stage, without either of us noticing, a large ferry arrived at the port of the town, which we could see to the south of our sun-worshipping post. Fortunately, I’d ended the video recording before it appeared!
We had our swim in the Med, something I like to do each time we visit. Valerie is a better swimmer than me, but not keen on the sea. Still we managed to stagger down the sand and then resolutely remain upright as we navigated our way over sea-washed gravel at the tide’s edge. We even managed to preserve our dignity far enough to plunge into the small waves. Getting back out was a little less dignified, but we made it and returned to our sunbeds. We returned to Papas for our evening meal and enjoyed the food, wine, and great service immensely.