The telephone alarm wakes me at 07:00, pitch darkness, driving rain battering our terracotta roof tiles. The close rumble of thunder. Lets get out of bed and go trekking! If just to prove that trekking in Lycia is a year round activity, up I get, ready the water proof trousers and gaiters. We had planned to go to the highlands but the forecast showed 2 degrees and drizzle. Safest recourse was the old stormy day fallback, the Patara Aqueduct trek. For some reason, whenever we have walked this route, no matter what the weather was elsewhere, the birthplace of Apollo, Hellenistic god of the Sun and of Prophesy, was always much more sunny. Today we would find out!
Starting onto the Lycian Way just above Kalkan, my left boot started giving me the cold wet feeling of a good boot gone bad. The poor leader getting soaked every time he pushes through a scrubby gap. The swirling mist gives a Scottish feel to the occasion as we follow this section of the Lycian way which walks the contours following the exact line of the Roman aqueduct.
Before long we arrive at Delikkemer. This engineering marvel takes some examination to appreciate the brilliance of it. The water must pass a saddle on the ridge of the coastal hill. The saddle is about 70 meters deep from the line of the aqueduct at both ends. While a high arched aqueduct could have been built here, the frequency of earthquakes would make this a high maintenance project. Instead of this, when the Romans were building the aqueduct in the time of Claudius(51- 54 AD, the came up with an unusual solution. The water descends downhill probably first in clay pipes, then into stone blocks carefully carved with male and female joints to make a pipe. This pip is laid upon a wall about 10 meters high at the highest point to reduce the pressure at the bottom. Water flows down the aqueduct and up the other side of the valley as if by magic. No pump required!
It then continues gently under gravity to the city itself dropping about 1 meter in 100 meters.
We trekked along the length of the aqueduct walking right on it where visible. makes for some of the easiest walking on the Lycian Way.
Early Anemone were out, and as we approached the city, birthplace of Apollo. just on cue the sun came out and our clothes start to steam.
Descending to the site we come across the end of the aqueduct, where the water was distributed to the city. We walked around the far side of the harbour to visit the Granary of Hadrian, an exact copy of the Granary at Andriake, not the Museum of Lycian Civilisations. As we were driving back from Patara, soggy but weighed down with fresh oranges picked from the trees, we pass the newly discovered Roman bridge at the entrance to the Patara canyon. Another great day out in Lycia!