“Kaş has the high mountains and sparse covering of undersized scrub that impressed me when I first saw the Turkish coastline back in 1990. Unlike then I am not afraid when I look up at the distinctive rock formation known as the ‘Sleeping Giant’ that lies across the range, encircling the town. Instead I marvel at the stark majestic beauty of the scenery. Kaş is as beautiful now as it was the first time I saw it. Although the town has grown as much as the mountains surrounding the bay will allow, its character has remained essentially unchanged. Originally a small fishing village, the physical appearance of the population is evidence of its proximity to Greece. The locals are short and well-built with incredible upper body strength which was handy in the past when they made their living working as fishermen. Nowadays most of the little boats like the one I went out on back in 1990 have been replaced by much larger well-appointed wooden boats called gulet, custom fitted for daytrips or diving courses rather than for fishing.”
“We have come here eleven times. We stay at the same pension, and do the same things every day. Mornings see us up on the terrace, eating breakfast and watching the sun shimmer over the nearby Greek island of Meis. Then we cross the road to a waterfront hotel to lounge under their beach umbrellas, taking frequent dips in the sea. We catch up with the hotel owner when he’s in, asking after his mother and seeing how the boys we have met over the years are doing now.”
“We always go back to our pension for lunch and an afternoon siesta. Depending on just how hot it is we will either go swimming again or sit around reading on the terrace. After a dinner we have cooked ourselves or a meal eaten at one of the many restaurants, we wander around the main square eating ice cream from Kahramanmahraş. Made from goats’ milk, a chewy, edible resin called mastic and natural flavourings like blackberries, raspberries, almonds and honey, as well as the more ordinary flavours, this ice cream is slightly stretchy but divine.”
When we finish we go to the teagardens previously owned by the council and sit languidly amongst eucalypt trees with their trunks painted white to deter insects. The service is as slow as ever but we entertain ourselves by watching the other tourists, a mix of Turks and a sprinkling of foreigners. Everyone is dressed in their summer holiday best, but while the former sport honey coloured suntans, the latter smart from angry red sunburn.”
“We have come here so many times and we do less and less each visit. We’ve been to the nearby beach of Kaputaş where freezing cold fresh water from high in the mountains feeds into the sea from an underground cavern, we’ve visited the beach at Patara and acknowledged the small ruined amphitheatre. The one ramshackle teahouse built on the rocks overlooking the beaches known as ‘big’ and ‘little’ fork has expanded to become an all-in-one outdoor bar, restaurant, and disco with music playing almost twenty four hours a day. We don’t go there anymore, preferring instead our simple routine. Kaş is one of the few places where I feel free to do nothing, often not finishing one book the whole time I am there, and there is no guilt attached. It is the perfect place to recuperate.”
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