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DSCF1680There are many places on my list of ‘sights to see’. The ones that are closer to home tend to get put off as I always think, I can go there anytime. Recently, friends and I finally arranged a long talked about ‘day out with the camera’s’ and the question “where shall we go” was posed. I piped up with “How about the Millipark?”.

The Dilek (wish) National Millipark is just up the road from me in Davutlar, around a thirty minute drive. I have driven past the signs a hundred times and occasionally seen people’s snapshots of it on Facebook, it looks beautiful but then, Turkey is beautiful; I am in love with the landscape and its diversity.

Myself, Karen and Dave meet up around 11am and head up the Soke road toward Kusadasi.  Along the usual route, there are roadwork’s and we get diverted. This adds another fifteen minutes or so to our journey but, ıts not a problem, we are in no rush.

DSCF1662At the entrance, a smiley man with the obligatory moustache takes a three TL entry fee each and hands over a couple of maps. We wave him goodbye and drive in through a tree lined mountain road. We are only driving for a few minutes when the earth to our right falls away and tumbles down a fertile green slope into the turquoise Aegean. We stop the car and get out for our first proper look at the view. It is magnificent.

Under the dripping pines, I stand and listen to Dave explain some technical stuff about cameras. I am a bit of a point and shoot merchant with little knowledge of the do’s and the don’ts but, as I love both taking and sharing photo’s, I’m sure I can improve with a bit of know how.

DSCF1681Back in the car we drive on and again, we are only driving along for a few minutes when we come upon a view that literally takes your breath away. If I were not in Turkey, I would say Thailand, Indonesia, The Canadian Rockies or any number of other stunning countries. The sea is exquisite.  It stretches out across the bay in a patchwork of blue that is still and calm and so inviting we are kicking ourselves for not bringing swimwear. The photo opportunities are everywhere and I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Dave is already out of the car and on his knees, lens focused on the Aegean delights. I find a rock under a tree and sit gazing out to the soft grey mountains on the far side, wishing I could stay here forever. I do move, eventually, and wander along the green wooden fence to the viewing platform where Karen and Dave are enjoying the view.

It’s great to be out with photo people. Sometimes when I am out and about day tripping, I feel guilty as I like to wander with my camera for hours and of course, that’s not always polite but, these two are of the same mind and we happily and leisurely indulge ourselves.

IMG_1053Our day is idyllic. We paddle in the blue, along the white stone shoreline. We eat mezes and kofte in a beachfront cafe, slightly overpriced but that does not mar the day. We scavenge along the non- beach coastline and collect rocks and coloured stones worn smooth by the sea.  I play with my newly discovered macro button and poke around hornet and ant holes without much success. My camera, it seems, favours the floral shots on macro.

Along a path intended for hikers, we wander under a canopy of leaves on the sun dappled dirt track and find some amazing trees that look like antlers from a giant deer. Some have fallen into the sea: they lay bleached by the sun in stunning contrast to the vibrant turquoise.  Just a little way along the path from that is a mermaid……well, she looks like a mermaid to me.  A broken red pine, its huge stump nestled in clearing in the forest, split at the bottom showing flashes of crimson. Like a ships figurehead she rises, arms above her head which tilts onto her chest; her tail curving below her to embrace the bottom of the tree. “Can you see her?” I ask my companions. They can…….I am not mad.

At each turn of our journey, there is a scene to delight the senses; wonderful smells, things to touch and views to feed the soul.   I twist and twirl and dance along paths, I hug trees and feel the energy of the earth. This is a magical place and one I would recommend to everyone; It’s a wish come true.

I could waffle on and on about this place for hours but, instead, let me show you. My photos won’t be as good as Dave’s but you will get the idea……