Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Heavenly Beaches: Butterfly Valley and Kabak

If you get on a minibus in Oludeniz and head south, you will find this:

Welcome to Hippie-land!  Yes, just outside of these touristy holiday spots, there are valleys full of canvas tents and community gardens.  And beyond those, there are outdoor showers, and bean bag chairs...and then the most amazing beaches you have ever seen.

Butterfly Valley
Butterfly Valley is a beautiful cove nestled between two big scary mountains.  To get here, you can take a boat (but that's boring and you don't get this view), or you can take a minibus to Faralya and then hike down.

{view from the top down; view from the bottom up}

Breath-taking.  I was stunned by this view, and invigorated for the hike down.  Sure, it was steep, but there was a path, so how bad could it be?  So we started down the path...

...saw pretty houses...
...and goats...

...and pomegranates that I wanted to eat.  And we posed for some more pictures with the view because, I mean, how could you not?  And lalala, everything was lovely....

{how these bright purple flowers grow out of that rock is beyond me}

And then THIS happened.

{Thanks for that angle, Bri...so flattering....P.S. the red paint dots are the trail markers, not blood (I think).}

WHAT?!  I totally did not pack the right clothes for this.  Actually, I don't even own the right clothes for this.  (Do they even exist?)  I felt like a human mountain goat.  You know what that feels like, right?  Thankfully, I'm not afraid of heights, my hands don't sweat when I get nervous, and I still mostly believe I'm invincible.  Otherwise, I would have puked.  I mean, there is nothing here to keep you from falling, and if you do fall, there is nothing anyone could do to keep you from dying.  No one would hear you scream.  Really, though.  No phones, no cars, no people.  No helmets.  Just a sheer rock wall with a rope tied to some tree roots.  Yep.

Luckily, you don't have to climb back up the ropes course to get home because you can take a taxi boat instead (they run a few times daily between Butterfly Valley and Oludeniz).  I think I would have just stayed in the Valley forever with the hippies rather than go back up that mountain.

{The bottom.  Not pictured: the hippie camp featuring canvas tents and outdoor showers where we did not venture.}

And then we got to the bottom just as the call to prayer rang out across the valley, echoing against the rock walls.  It kind of made me want to cry.  Maybe because there is some tiny seed of spirituality in me.  Maybe because it reminded me of how confusing and maddening the issue of religion is in Turkey today.  Most likely because I was suffering from emotional exhaustion after fearing for my life for the preceding hour.

And then, just around the corner, we saw THIS.

And it made me want to laugh (deliriously).  And get in that water ASAP.

And the light!  The sun was just coming over the top of the ridge and it just cast this peaceful, gauzy light on the whole cove.  It felt like a dream.

 Umm also, there was a bar hanging off the rocks above the waves.  NBD.

{see it there on the right?}

Obvi we checked it out.  There was no bartender in sight (luckily there was another beach bar down below), but there were spectacular views....

Those hippies know good beaches.

Kabak is one stop past Butterfly Valley on the minibus route, and the two destinations share much in common -- both require a climb down a mountain to get to the beach, both are hippie hot-spots and offer charming beach bars right on the sand, and both feature the saltiest, bluest waters you've ever floated in.  But one difference is that there is no boat access in Kabak (as there is in Butterfly Valley) --> pro: you never have to worry about a boat full of tourists pulling up and ruining your view as you lounge; con: you have to climb back UP the mountain when you want to leave.  Luckily, the trail to and from this beach is not as treacherous as the one leading to Butterfly Valley...meaning, you probably won't feel like you're going to die by falling off a cliff on your way down the mountain, but you still probably will feel like you're going to die from cardiovascular over-exertion when you try to make your way back up.  (I think I told Brian that the hike up was the hardest physical thing I've ever done.  Whether or not that is true, I still used that hike as an excuse to consume a zillion calories at every meal for the rest of the trip.  Vacation is hard, okay?)

{view from the top}

{view from the bottom}

It was so quiet, and unbelievably picturesque.  Even more heavenly than Butterfly Valley, I think.

By the end of these four days, I'd gotten so much sun that my arm hair looked like it belonged on the body of a Norweigan.  It was time for Istanbul.


Leslie said...

Who are you and why is your life so perfect? These beaches look amaaaazing! I'm so jelly.

Ashley said...

I must admit, my life was pretty much perfect for those two weeks. (Are you barfing yet? Sorry. Haha.) If I could travel all the time, I would!

Anonymous said...

I got married on the beach at Butterfly Valley. It is an amazing place.....

Ashley said...

Wow! What an amazing place to get married! Lucky you! I bet you have the most beautiful pictures, too!