Hitchhiking to Hippie Paradise
“Do you remember? That time when we were on our la grande tour de Turkey?” “Final destination Kelebekler Vadisi, Butterfly Valley, Hippie town! How could I not remember that?” “I often think of it, reminded by the many wonderful people we met, the great stuff we did, the street animals we played with, the food we ate, the dances we’ve learned, the local games we played. How I wasn’t able to juggle and you were” “How you got dancing classes from almost every men we encountered” “Or the squid who cuddled our feet in the sea.”
It was 2009, our Erasmus Exchange semester was at it’s end but Mise and I didn’t feel like going home. We felt like going South! And South we went. With nothing but a smal backpack with clothes, a happy attitude towards the world and a carbon plate we left our home in Ankara behind. We hitchhiked to Istanbul. Said goodbye to Istanbul, hello to the horse of Troy. Wandered through the old library of Ephesus and hugged old friends in Izmir. We catched rides in trucks, four wheel drives and family cars. Walked distances and hide in the shade for the burning ball in the sky. Played tavla (backgammon) and drank çay (tea). Danced in bars, sang in the street. Slept in homes of wonderful people and on the beach. To in the end find our way to final destination – kelebekler vadisi.
While I walk on the very hot stones I wonder why people pay for a hot stone massage. Better book a holiday to Turkey and get the hot stone massage for free. Mise thinks the same and sits down. I’m trying to sit down. It feels exactly like going down in a bath that is a bit too hot. The boat isn’t here yet. Time doens’t count in the Southern side of Turkey, there is only time for relaxation, for being with friends, playing games and drinking çay. Or like us, sit on the natural hot stones of the beach.
There are some families in the water, the kids run around on their sea shoes and the mother is covered in a pink, very pink, burqini. A burqa but then specially made for the water. The father is proudly showing his chest hair which curls and shines as if he styled it. The children play in the water, drown each other, throw the ball at each other and search for turtles. On the other side is an English family. Easily recognizable by their white, soon to be red, skin. The children are waiting impatiently for their mother to have basted them in sunscreen. Mise takes his cones out and starts juggling to the delight of the children on the beach. Soon kids start to surround us and I start clapping my hands, trying to make some music. I’m not very talented as the kids just clap without any rythm.
The boat arrives! A nice fellow from Portugal welcomes us. “I work at kelebekler vadisi, already for a couple of years, in summer only” he says. He tells us that Kelebekler Vadisi is a true hippie paradise and I can’t wait to experience that. The water is so clear I can see fish, turtles and other sea creatures finding their way through it. After a short boat ride we arrive at a beach surrounded by huge mountain cliffs. The small beach ends where trees start. In between the trees are tents, a wooden hut and people enjoying a refrehsment. We jump in the water and walk towards the beach. The sand is hot but soon we find shade. We get welcomed by a little turtle and many butterflies, therefor the name ‘butterfly valley’.
After relaxing a bit at the beach we decide to walk to the waterfall. Everywhere I look I see different flowers, trees, bushes. The paths are made out of stones and sand. Butterflies, birds, grasshoppers, caterpillars. Green plants everywhere. The valley is surrounded by huge steep mountains. Birds fly in between the steep walls, back and forth, talking to each other. Butterflies are flying around our heads, showing their amazing colours, enjoying the sun, the freedom. They are the queens, the owners of this land. About an hour goes by when we finally get the waterfall in sight. It is possible to climb the waterfall with a rope that is hanging on the side. I much prefer standing below and feel the ice cold water crushing down on my head. The power, the strenght, the cold.
While I sit on a rock I find myself surrounded by ants. The sun dries my body, burns it actually. Mise has gone up the waterfall and it seems he can’t find his way back. I don’t mind. A boy and girl, totally naked, are cooling down below the waterfall. A man lies down on a rock. The rock and sun heating his body on both sides. A butterfly lands next to my hand, it has the most beautiful colours I have ever seen. Blue, purple, black with a little spot of orange.
We are back at the beach. The sun sets and within no time it is dark. Stars appear at the sky, a big fire is burning at the beach. People are making music with their hands, the stumps of trees, djembés. Girls are dancing around the fire. Anything is possible here, nothing is weird, all is perfect. I let go of all the tentions in my body, no shame, no stiffness, freedom, peace, tranquility.