Thursday, October 21, 2010

Olympos, Turkey

Olympos Beach.

The Blue Cruise dropped us off in Olympos, Turkey. I can't remember how I first got turned on to Olympos. I think Davida, the Italian bike tourer, raved about it. He stayed there a week because he loved it so much. He loved the quiet free camping and wandering through the woods and having one giant ruin after another spring up from behind the trees. Some of that is still true, some of it isn't.

Olympos Beach.

A ransacked sarcophagus.

I thought I would be able to camp, but they don't allow it anymore. I didn't want to part with any of money I had left without knowing when I could get more. It turned out that Michael, from the Blue Cruise, had made a reservation that he could not use and would have to pay for no matter what. I had heard a ton about the famous Olympos tree houses and thought it might be fun to stay in one. Unfortunately, a tree house in Turkey means a house made out of wood on the ground, not in the air (and not a log cabin). This was a bummer, but the atmosphere still seemed right. My curiosity and his generosity made my decision to camp, move on, or stay put easy.

I don't know if these are brilliant or questionable trail building techniques.

More hidden ruins.

After I got settled, it was time to explore. All of the tourist stuff is on one main road in a valley. At the end of that road, the ruins start. You walk a straight path towards the beach and if you go into the woods on either side, you'll run into ruins. Some of the ruins are on well marked trails and labeled. Others are a mystery for you to find on your own. It made me think of the Mayan temples in Mexico. People tell me they are no where to be seen and then suddenly you enter this clearing and are awe struck. These are not that big (I assume), but it was still pretty cool.

Some not so hidden ruins nestled in the valley.

The Roman Gate at Olympos. Yes, even this was hidden!

I didn't spend that much time at the beach. It was a good beach, but the beach is sunny and hot. The hotel hammocks were shady and cool. There is no argument for me there. It always amazes me how good it is to just sit and read. I feel like I should be seeing the sights while I am out here traveling and read when at home or on buses. On the other hand, if I took part in these simple pleasures a little more maybe I wouldn't be so worn out to start with.

Living the good life and doing as little as possible.

Because I can't really have a complete rest day, I took a tour to Chimera. According to the ancient Greeks, a chimera is lion's body, with a snake for a tail, and the head of a goat. It was able to breath fire. I am not sure if the legend came first or the place. I can tell you that the place is still breathing fire, but the legend was killed off.

The eternal flames of Chimera.

Judy, the explorer.

The real Chimera is basically the eternal flame. Natural gas of some sort has been escaping from the rock for thousands of years. I don't know how the flames were originally lit or if they need to be relit. The sailors used to be able to see them from sea. They are too small for that now. Now, it is like sitting around a campfire. I wish I had marshmallows to toast. To get to the site, it was a difficult 3km steep uphill with some slippery steps. The best part of this visit was finding Herb and Judy up there in the dark. Those two amaze me.

The eternal flames of Chimera.

A very white me on a castle wall ruin overlooking Olympos Beach.

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