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Turkey in 2 Weeks: Cirali – Day 10

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

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

Turkey in 2 Weeks: Ölüdeniz – Day 7

The next morning we headed out on a small boat cruise along the Turquoise Coast. There are many excursions you can choose from along the marina in Fathiye, and they’re all pretty similar in price.  We took the Fulya10 for $25, which didn’t include snacks, drinks or tips on the boat so approx $55 total (with no alcoholic drinks).  The tour departed from Ölüdeniz, a beach town 15km from Fathiye.  The boat cruise had a bit of a party boat vibe, but it was still relaxing to be out coasting along the sparkling, clear, waters – though I would have preferred a cruise that didn’t have loud music blasting the whole time.

Turquoise coast boat tour from Ölüdeniz

Turquoise Coast boat tour from Ölüdeniz

Our first stop was Butterfly Valley, a gorge that in theory would have been filled with diverse species of butterflies had it not been for the loud tour groups.  The short hike through the gorge was still nice though, and it was fun to climb up the gorge near the end (some good water/hiking shoes like Keens are recommended!).

Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz

Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz

Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz

Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz

Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz

Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz

Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz

Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz

The next stop was the Blue Cave, where we all jumped into a cold spring that is supposed to take five years off your life.  Refreshing in any case!

Blue Cave, Ölüdeniz

Blue Cave, Ölüdeniz

We cruised through Aquarium Bay and ended up at Gemiler Island, also known as St. Nicholas Island where archaeologists believe was the location of the tomb of the original St. Nicholas.  If you’re in the mood for some more ruins, the short hike around the island is very picturesque, or you can just relax and swim off the small beach near the boat dock.

Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island, Turquoise Coast

Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island, Turquoise Coast

Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island, Turquoise Coast

Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island, Turquoise Coast

Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island, Turquoise Coast

Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island, Turquoise Coast

View of Turquoise Coast from Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island

View of Turquoise Coast from Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island

Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island, Turquoise Coast

Gemiler Island aka St. Nicholas Island, Turquoise Coast

Chocolate and banana gözleme (Turkish crepes) on the boat

Chocolate and banana gözleme (Turkish crepes) on the boat

They were making fresh Turkish crepes called “gözleme” on the boat – a perfect afternoon snack after a relaxing day on the water.

Tomb of Amyntas, Fathiye

Tomb of Amyntas, Fathiye

In the evening we went for a long walk through the town, and past by the Tomb of Amyntas, an Ionic temple facade carved into this rock face in 350 BC.

Election campaign, Fathiye

Election campaign, Fathiye

The election campaign was taking over Turkey while we were visiting, and Fathiye was no exception.

Shopping in Paspatur Old Town, Fathiye

Shopping in Paspatur Old Town, Fathiye

The shopping area around our hotel was a fun, lively area to stroll through at night.  I wish we could have stayed a bit longer in this charming seaside town.

Shopping in Paspatur Old Town, Fathiye

Shopping in Paspatur Old Town, Fathiye

"For all seasons", Paspatur Old Town, Fathiye

“For all seasons”, Paspatur Old Town, Fathiye