The beginning

It’s going to hit 30 degs today which should be fun.
I’m going to start St Paul’s Trail in a couple of hours heading 300 miles north from the ancient city of Perga to Antioch in Pisidia.
It follows the first missionary journey of St Paul through forests, part of the Taurus mountains and along stretches of Roman Road.
Taking a deep breath….

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They come over here……

I wonder if the Turks are gripped by the same sort of panic that is currently causing certain columnists back home to foam at the mouth.

If they’re not, then perhaps they should be.

I’ve just met a soon-to-be expat couple from a mining town not a million miles away from where I live.
They’re selling ONE of their rental properties and coming to live here full time
One of reasons ,apparently, is that there are too many immigrants in their home town

“It’s full of ’em, it’s ridiculous ,” the wife told me.

“Yeah, but YOU’LL be an immigrant when you move here,” I gently tried to point out.

I met them in a bar watching an English football match while wearing English football shirts.
The low cost of living here allied to a bank savings rate of 10 per cent makes this a tempting retirement destination for a certain type of Brit.
This couple told me they liked to blend in – although they railed against a Turkish kid who tried to “rip them off” by 4 lira over a t shirt.

Four lira is approx £1.43.

“Well they are all corrupt here,” opined the lady
Bit of a sweeping generalisation I thought. And wondered if they’d ever tried to get into a late night cab in a strange city back home after getting drunk.
In my experience you’d get ripped off for a lot more than £1.43

Which probably represents a quarter of that kid’s daily profit.

Non sequitur alert: this is Antalya harbour…

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Arrival

I won’t pretend the first stage of my odyssey was trouble free.
Getting the bus from the airport into Antalya was easy enough.
But things first got messy when the driver hit something – and I’m still not sure what – and then pulled over to remonstrate with someone – and I’m still not sure who.
He may have hit a wing mirror or another bus or a moped. All I know is there was still a lot of shouting as I hauled my ludicrously heavy backpack off the bus and headed to where the GPS said my hotel should be.
An hour later and with the GPS direction arrow stubbornly refusing to move (bodes well for my 300 mile cross country trek) I button holed a hapless policeman. He hadn’t heard of the hotel. Or the street on which it is located
The taxi driver he summoned for me nodded and beckoned me in. Half an hour later he abandoned me in a less than salubrious part of town with a shrug of the shoulders.
Luckily a call to Kate Clow, the redoubtable English woman who set up the St Paul’s Trail brought me to my destination at approx 1am – Kate making her way through the back alleys to rescue me.
Late night beers with a few other Trekkers and the hotel owner who – I am delighted to report- was gratifyingly drunk by the time I arrived.
For some reason he launched into an anti German tirade with particular reference to that nation’s more military activities.

“Where do you come from ?” I asked the distinguished looking chap in his 70s sitting at our table
“Cologne,” he replied.
Silence.
So it’s 8am. 6am UK time
I’m sitting under an orange tree in the sun. The swimming pool looks inviting. And two tortoises are nibbling my toes.
Ill start the walk tomorrow.

Probably.

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