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The St Nicholas Way. A Tough Recce en Famille

For some time we have been interested in the newly inaugurated St. Nicholas Ways, a collection of marked trekking routes in the Alacadag mountains behind Demre in central Lycia. The St. Nicholas in question is not the well known Santa Claus, who was bishop of Demre ( Then known as Myra) but a more mysterious character known as St Nicholas of Sion. He was leader of an Monosphyte monastic movement, who settled in these tough mountains.

We walked up from Beymelek via the small Lycian Settlement of Yılanbaşı (Snake-head), a site with extensive views not for the faint hearted. Moving into the vast pine forests, with snow just above us we cam upon the church known as Günagi, some beautiful carved decoration strewn around show the skill and effort that the monks put into their churches. More climbing up to the forest road before the grand descent to Alakilise, the huge church of the Angel Gabriel. Another Monastic centre, the carvings here are intact in places. We clibed over 1000 meters on the sometimes difficult track. My lovely and patient family joined me on this trek, Canan helped Uyanis (5) whose legs got tired but never let this affect the stream of chatter, and little Diren Nevis (18 months) enjoyed being carried on his father's back, only getting restless when whe had to wait for the others to catch up!

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