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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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…