Turkey In 2 Weeks – Day 11: Olympos & Antalya

Share It!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUpon

Before leaving Cirali, we wanted to check out the ruins of Olympos, an important Lycian city taken over by the Romans.  The ruins are scattered throughout a deep valley that follows the Ulupinar Stream and covered with vines and flowers, seemingly undiscovered.  I loved exploring Olympos, the site was so peaceful and wild, I felt like I was in the jungle uncovering this ancient city.

"The monumental tomb of Lyciarh Marcus Aurelius Archepolis" - Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

“The monumental tomb of Lyciarh Marcus Aurelius Archepolis” – Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

"The Sarcophagus of Antimachos" - Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

“The Sarcophagus of Antimachos” – Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

"Mozaikli Yapi" - Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

“Mozaikli Yapi” – Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

Temple in Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

Temple in Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

"Alkestis Sarcophagus", Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

“Alkestis Sarcophagus”, Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

Olympos, Cirali, Turkey

Later that afternoon, our host from Hotel Canada graciously drove us up the mountain and back to civilization.  We hopped on a bus Antalya, the largest city in Turkey.  We only had a few hours to kill before our bus ride to Goreme so we headed straight to the historical main square for dinner.

Famous charcoal grilled chicken from Parlak Restaurant - Antalya, Turkey

Famous charcoal grilled chicken from Parlak Restaurant – Antalya, Turkey

We had a delicious roasted chicken dinner at Parlak (just as good as Swiss Chalet! ;).  The owner was so sweet and gave us a complimentary fruit plate when he heard we were from Canada.

Fruit plate at Parlak, Antalya, Turkey

Fruit plate at Parlak, Antalya, Turkey

Clock tower in Kale Kapisi main square - Antalya, Turkey

Clock tower in Kale Kapisi main square – Antalya, Turkey

Kale Kapisi main square - Antalya, Turkey

Kale Kapisi main square – Antalya, Turkey

Antalya seemed like a bustling, interesting city and I wish we could have spent at least a full day here, but I was also excited to get to Goreme.  As the sunset over this pretty city, we headed back to the main bus terminal to catch our overnight bus.

Election Campaign - Antalya, Turkey

Election Campaign – Antalya, Turkey

Turkey in 2 Weeks: Cirali – Day 10

Share It!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUpon

Our trek along the coast continued the next day as we slowly made our way to the sleepy, backpacking village of Cirali.  We took a 2 hour bus ride from Kas that dropped us off at the top of the dusty road that led down to the village.  A little minibus soon came along to collect us, and transported us directly to the doorstop of Hotel Canada, a resort retreat run by Turkish Canadians (a little taste of home!) and nestled at the foot of the mountains.  The grounds were filled with citrus trees, hammocks and bungalows, complete with an outdoor pool and bar and I immediately wished we were staying longer than one night in this beautiful place.  The host was very helpful and offered us some bikes to cycle down to the beach area.  Cirali was so different than the other coast towns, more of a rugged beach community filled with fruit stands, tiki hut restaurants and hippy stores.

$250 snake fish, Cirali

$250 snake fish, Cirali

We cycled down to the crystal clear, blue water and wandered along the pebbly beach looking for a place to have lunch.  We stopped by one of many beach front restos, who tried to sell us the fresh catch of the day – a $250 snake fish!!  I’m glad I asked what the price was, and cannot believe that thin, ugly looking fish could possibly be worth that much!.  So we settled on a huge meze platter and a pide (Turkish pizza) – everything was so fresh and delicious!

Meze platter, Cirali

Meze platter, Cirali

Cirali

Cirali

Cirali

Cirali

We relaxed on the quiet beach for the rest of the afternoon, with a quick dip in the turquoise sea – chilly but refreshing!  I felt we had discovered a little piece of heaven that day, lying peacefully on our beach blankets without a care in the world.

Cirali

Cirali

We slowly headed back to the resort, checking out the many souvenir and fruit stands along the way.  I bought some local orange honey, such a clear light colour, like the fruit hanging from the nearby trees.

Cirali

Cirali

Cirali

Cirali

Cirali

Cirali

We devoured a feast at the hotel that night.  Fresh salad, eggplant, lentil soup, omelette, pasta and a whole fresh grilled trout. We were stuffed to the brim!

Hotel Canada

Hotel Canada

Hotel Canada

Hotel Canada

Our huge dinner was definitely a good thing, as we need the extra calories for our evening adventure.  We headed out on a midnight bike ride to the Yanartaş “burning rock”, also known as the Chimaera.  The eternal flames that burn endlessly from the rock crevices of Mount Olympos.  The legend is that the flames are the remnants of a dragon fight – the reality is a build up of methane gas being released from the earth, bursting into flame when the gas makes contact with air.  We biked with headlamps on about 30 minutes up the dark, winding mountain road up to the gates.

Eternal flame of the Chimaera

Eternal flame of the Chimaera

The entrance to the Chimaera was a small, quiet area with a few curious souls milling about.  We looked up and could see a trail of headlamps and flames lining the mountain.

Eternal flame of the Chimaera

Eternal flame of the Chimaera

I loved trekking up the path in the dark, the air was so still and quiet.  After about 15 minutes of hiking we arrived at a bit of a clearing.  There were small groups of people surrounding flames, some were even roasting marshmellows.  We made our way slowly through the flames that billowed peacefully from the volcanic rock.  We spent awhile trying to capture this magical, experience until we were the only ones left.

Eternal flame of the Chimaera

Eternal flame of the Chimaera

Eternal flame of the Chimaera

Eternal flame of the Chimaera

The hike back down was creepy, just the two of us at midnight surrounded in darkness and the sounds of the woods at night.  But a little romantic at the same time 🙂  Such a unique adventure to this mystical place, the next morning the memory of the eternal flames seemed like a dream…

Eternal flame of the Chimaera

Eternal flame of the Chimaera

Eternal flame of the Chimaera

Eternal flame of the Chimaera

Turkey in 2 Weeks: Kas & Kekova – Day 9

Share It!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUpon

One of the first activities that caught my eye when I was researching Turkey was sea kayaking through the Sunken City of Simena.  The ruins line the northern shore of the long island of Kekova and were the result of a series of earthquakes that occurred in 2nd century AD.  We booked our tour through Lukka Tours/Bougainville Travel for 60 CND (120 TL) and ended up on the same bus as the Intrepid group I had originally seen the kayaking tour listed – I guess we made a good choice!

We were picked up from their office in central Kas bright and early and headed out to the  docks where we were outfitted and given a quick lesson.  The day was perfect – sunny, with a cool breeze in the air and sparkling, calm waters.

Sea kayakying to Kekova

Sea kayakying to Kekova

We kayaked for about an hour and half out to the island of Kekova where we could see the partly submerged ruins along the shore and up to 6m below our boats.

The sunken city of Simena

The sunken city of Simena – think this might have been the harbour

Kekova & the sunken city of Simena

Kekova & the sunken city of Simena

Kekova & the sunken city of Simena

Kekova & the sunken city of Simena

Church in the sunken city of Simena

Church in the sunken city of Simena

After exploring the Sunken City, we kayaked to the protected village on the site of Simena called Kaleköy.  We spent a few hours hiking up to the Crusader fortress, followed by a delicious kebob lunch and a quick dip in the warm, shallow waters before heading back to the mainland.

Kaleköy

Kaleköy

Crusader fortress, Kaleköy

Crusader fortress, Kaleköy

View from the Crusader fortress, Kaleköy

View from the Crusader fortress, Kaleköy

Crusader fortress, Kaleköy

Crusader fortress, Kaleköy

Crusader fortress, Kaleköy

Crusader fortress, Kaleköy

Kaleköy

Kaleköy

We had another beautiful sunset for our last evening in Kas.  For dinner we went to Smiley’s, a laid back outdoor restaurant near the outskirts of town overlooking the water.  Our octopus casserole and lamb liver dishes were excellent, and were even more satisfying after a day of kayaking.

Kas

Kas

Octopus casserole, Smiley's, Kas

Octopus casserole, Smiley’s, Kas

Lamb liver, Smiley's, Kas

Lamb liver, Smiley’s, Kas

Such a lovely town, we were very sad to say goodbye to Kas!  But we felt relaxed and revived for our last leg of our trip.

Kas at night

Kas at night