Friday, 27 May 2011

Olympos and the Eternal Flame


I was told of a sunken city in the nearby area of Kekova, and wanted to check it out.

It was a small city that used to be part of the mainland until a huge earthquake tore it apart which resulted in becoming an island instead.

However!  When I found this beautiful place tucked well into the bush and seaside, I found where all the tour buses are hiding out.. again!   I honestly didn't realize Turkey was so far up on the hot destinations lists!!  However, being here now, I totally understand why!

I park the bike and immediately a guy tries to sell me a spot on a boat for 70 Euro (98 USD!!)  No way.. I'll just have a look then from the shore.. then he comes back and drops to 55 Euro.. Still not in my budget, sorry.  A walk around while having a look at other possibilities to get to see the underwater stuff.. and another guy comes along for 40 Euro.. Well, we're getting better, but I am still not up for 56 USD for a one hour tour.

I give up and get a cold drink instead while busloads of tourists board their various pre-sold boats.

Eventually, the first guy comes running up to me.. "10 Euro, 10 Euro!!!"  I'm like, "Really?''  He says, yes, but I have to come now!

Anyway, in a panic, we go running down the jetty and jump on the boat as it's pulling away.. just like in the movies!

I was quite embarrassed as I was full dress in my riders suit, big heavy clunky boots making all the noise on board.. so I hung out below to watch through the glass bottom boat, as mostly American tourists were upstairs on sundeck.

Here at the city, you can see from the boat where and old roof line is.


Steps leading down..





















While on board, an American lady comes down and strikes up a conversation with me.. needed to explain the gear I'm wearing etc.. She and her family live permanently in Italy, but they are here on holiday.

After a good long chat, she goes back upstairs to her family.. brings all of them down to meet me and.... gives me money!  I couldn't believe it!  There was no conversation about lack of funds, etc.  They just wanted to do it.. I was embarrassed!  It's a hard line of what to except or refuse and which choice might offend. But to this day, the thought that they would do this completely flabbergasts me!

Here they are.. good looking family!


So while disembarking the boat, I was thanking them again, and they asked, "So how much did this cost you?"  I said "Not much",  and the guy is waiting for his 10 Euro.. The kind husband pipes up and says to the Turkish captain, "Look, she is traveling the world, can she get away with 5 Euro? (7 USD).. They said yes, can you believe! (I'm about to fall over here..) And then the husband gives them the 5!!  Gee Whiz!!  How do I get so lucky to meet the most amazing people on the planet - DAILY!!  So from 70 Euro to Free.. totally unbelievable..

(This is the Turkish salesman, taken after the tour)

Well,  I didn't get too far down the coast today.. Ruud,  the tall young yellow Dutchman - as most young guys, is really good at computer stuff (I am not!), and with my gps not working in this country, he thinks he has a map and solution to upload for me.  So I head back to Kas, and meet with him in the place he is staying from "couchsurfing".  I have heard of couchsurfing before, just have never signed up or used myself. (In case you haven't heard of, it's a huge website containing generous people from all over the world offering their "couch" to travelers. A VERY economical way to travel).


Ruud has been traveling around Europe for almost one year on his super cool tall yellow bike, which completely matches the super cool tall yellow rider.. ;-)


On this night, he organizes for me to stay here,  as there is an available couch for me.. yay! (I feel really young!  This place reminds me of my college days!)

The gps project took quite a bit longer than even he expected, but not being one to give up, he made it work.. thank goodness.  Much appreciated and used well during the rest of my time in Turkey!

The next morning (late morning) before I go, our host organizes for us a homemade Turkish dish called Menemen.

Aren't they cute!

Really good guys.. super tasty, and it really filled the hole in my stomach well..

Thanks again for another place to sleep, another great meal.. I literally can't believe even STILL all the generous people on this journey.. my biggest discovery so far..

Now, it's time to make my way to Olympos.. really looking forward to the next stop!

Olympos is another Hellenistic city with it's fair share of tragedy.  So interesting that it's located right on coastal beach, it made for one of the most unique experiences of ancient history I've seen so far!  I can only imagine how they lived their lives on the sea.  Sounds like a beautiful life until you know that this city was constantly rampaged and taken over by Pirates, and eventually the Romans too..  Can't we all just get along???  There was probably an earthquake in there too, as Kekova, the last city I showed not far down the coast, fell to this demise..







Above are the Roman Baths along the river.

Below, an old tile floor from a building well tucked away in the bushes.. incredible..

Here is an old Sarcophogus from a ship captain, just as you enter the city from the beach.. on the right side is an epitath and the translation of which is:

"The Ship is entered and anchored in the last port, for not to go out anymore.  Because there is no more benefit from the wind or the day light.  After leaving the morning twilight the Captain Eudemos, buried there his short lived ship like a broken wave."


He must have been such an important man..

That was just amazing to walk through this old city.. as always, I really wish I could step back in time and walk it during the best days.  I also think it would be great to come back to NOW from 2000 years in the future, to see which cities/buildings are left behind from what we build today.. would they be sooo interesting? I make my way on to the beach.. where I can enjoy some good weather, the lapping waves and stare at the ruins at the same time letting my imagination go wild.
 



Geez, I like it here...  I could easily stay several days to soak up some sun and stroll through an ancient city whenever I felt like it.

Also near Olympus is a most unusual, mysterious and I'd say spiritual place called Chimaera. At this place are eternal flames coming out of the mountain.  I'm just wondering what the early settlers must have been thinking to see fire coming out of the earth constantly and what stories they would have made up to explain it.


Chemical analysis shows that it's methane gas. Some historic writers have mentioned these flames since the 4th century BC!  They also have been a big help to sailors in the past, as they used the flames similar to a lighthouse while they sailed along this coast at night. Pretty darn cool, and I had never heard of such a place like this before.. I should look that up if there are more "Chimaera's" on the planet, there must be?

It's a 1 km hike up the hill to visit, and I did so in my riding suit.. Left the boots behind.. but a great opportunity to get some morning exercise before I hit the road.  However, looking a bit rough in this photo, very hot and sweaty from the hike.

And since I have been more exploring in this post than riding a motorcycle, here is my one and only obligatory moto photo for the day waiting for me patiently to return from the flames... alive!!

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1 comment:

  1. My daughter traveled all over southeast Asia as a couchsurfer. :-) You should sign up. Though it doesn't seem like you need to. You really do meet some amazing folks. I am thoroughly enjoying your travels. I'm glad I was finally able to catch up. I have been saving your posts for a quiet moment so I could read them and look at the picks at my leisure.

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