This ain’t no Camino .
Things started well enough. I managed to find the right bus from Antalya to the ancient ruins of Perga. On the way there I stopped to watch women baking bread in a lean to.
The offered me newly baked bread and vegetables ..that hospitality is becoming a recurring theme
Perga is the ancient Roman City where St Paul and Barnabas began their first missionary journey after arriving from Cyprus (st Paul having blinded a Jewish “wizard” there)
I have no map. Instead I am trying out a St Paul app that a lovely American guy called Aaron had downloaded for me. It puts the route on the screen and tells you when you are off track
All went well until it took me unexpectedly sharp left into a farmers garden with worrying big dog kennels which were empty….
It then tried to take me up a sheer rock face….I tried scrambling up the foothills and ended up hot,sweaty and with horrible bleeding scratches from thorn bushes which I am
Praying will not get infected
Then I floundered around in a cornfield before asking for water from a woman at a farmhouse. Her two daughters and grandson came out to stare at me (I must have looked like some crazed missionary myself) before bringing out a tray of cucumber, cheese. And fruit. They sat and watched me eat and refused payment.
I thought I was now back on track
But forestry work and logging seems to have destroyed the track. After walking round in circles for an hour I found myself back at the farmhouse
I also found myself wanting to kill Aaron and bury his body on the trail because if the police were using this app they’d never find it
With no way of finding the trail through the thick scrubland I was forced to thumb a lift
The first guy to stop was a lorry driver with blacked out windows. Just as I was thinking about Wolf Creek and other films where travellers die horribly, he pulled over and dropped me off. Claiming the town of Giluluck was 2 km away. Ha! It was more like 20
The second lift was from a hirsuite Turk driving a forestry truck. We got on well til we talked football and I mentioned Manchester United . He stopped and I got out. Did Man U beat a Turkish team at some point? I don’t even like them
The third driver was my saviour
Driving a swish sports car he had gelled hair, open collar shirt and wore after shave
So I was a tad surprised when he said he was the local imam. He stopped at a roadside mosque and went inside to make the call to prayer. And a fine set of lungs he has
He invited me for Chai (tea) at his house and brought out cake and biscuits
I showed a few coin tricks to his young son Yusuf thinking I would ingratiate myself. Instead Yusufs bottom lip began to tremble and he rushed into the arms of his father thinking a was some sort of evil sorcerer. Or maybe he wanted to keep the coins….
It took an hour for the chai to come. Musa’s English was non existent but we talked about football as I mimed my old position. Right back with lots of kicking opponents
Then he and his mate took me to Gululuck the next stage of my journey. To a campsite with two Russian kids both called Alexanderv
In a show of wit I have called them Akexander the great and Alexander the Greater
The only other hikers I have seen.
Did I tell you I saw a dead wolf on the trail…not far from where I was planning to set up camp
Well it looked like a wolf