Olympos - Turquoise Coast, Turkey
09.05.2012 - 10.05.2012
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We’ve just spent 24 hours chilling out at Olympos. Olympos is well and truly off the main tourist track. A sleepy little backwater that was part of the hippie trail in the 1960s. I doubt that much has changed since that time. Visitors are mostly young backpackers with a few people our age who seemed to be re-living their 1960s travels.
Accommodation was pretty basic; small wood-clad huts (a rustic version of caravan park cabins) nestled among orange trees. Breakfast and dinner were communal affairs that could be eaten at the tables or Turkish-style lounges set throughout the gardens. All very casual, relaxed and “cool man”. The only concession to the 21st. century was powerpoints liberally scattered about the place so that people could log on, plug in and recharge.
Our accommodation was one of a short series of similar “tree house” style places nestled along a dirt road, below cliffs, beside a riverbed. A short walk alongside the river led to a quiet, idyllic (but pebbly) Mediterranean beach that was accessed via 2nd. Century Roman ruins. Not a bad way to get to the beach I must say. We were free to explore the ruins that went all the way to the sea. In some places the forest had overtaken sections of the ruins but a church and very impressive Roman temple were easily identifiable. Monumental tombs were set at the junction of the river and the sea. We decided this would not be a bad final resting place.
Guilet (wooden boat) cruises often stop in the area as this section of coastline is also very impressive when approached from the sea. We spent the day flopped on the beach, which was welcome after an overnight bus trip. The sun was warm but not hot (24-26oC), with a light, balmy breeze. Pretty much perfect really.
Brian and Sabina took a night-time excursion to Cirali, the next village along the coast. On the side of a mountain is the Chimaera, “a cluster of flames that blaze spontaneously from crevices on the rocky slopes of Mount Olympos” (Lonely Planet, 2011) – SACE folk note that the source has been acknowledged. The flames are produced from a build-up of gases below the surface and are said to look like the flames of hell. The trip was quite long, about 3 hours in total, with a fair bit of scrambling about by torchlight in the dark. Evidently Brian was about one foot width from going over a substantial drop at one point when the two of them strayed off the main path in the dark. I’m pretty glad I was not there to see that. Sabina and Brian said it was an interesting experience overall and I will try to put some of Sabs’ photos up if I can.
The one thing we all missed in Olympos was hearing the call to prayer in the mornings and throughout the day. We’ve become quite used to it and I guess the sound of chanting from the mosque is a subtle reminder that we are in a culture that is different to our own. Even while walking in the Rose Valley in Goreme, the sounds of the lunchtime call to prayer drifted into what was essentially a bush landscape – a pretty special moment really.
Next - a bus trip along the Turquoise Coast, as the Turkish Mediterranean is called, to Fethiye for a few days.