From Anatayla we were carless, which meant we would be on the turkish bus system for our remaining time in Turkey. Our first taste was a journey to Olympos. This was in the heart of the Lycian region, which encompasses some of the southern coast of Turkey. Like the Olympics, Olympos has been ‘hosted’ by many ancient empires of its time. Persian, Roman, Hellenes, Macedonians etc.
As a modern nation Turkey went through a lot of development of roads and industries in the 1960s under a lot of guidance from Germany. After the 1990s tourism took off. In 2019 51 million people went to turkey. (for reference NZ has 4 million arrive a year). This had led to the coastline being absolutely bombarded with hotels and resorts. Olympos is marketed to tourists as a remedy to this. It is a quiet town located on the coast with none of the major developments of say Antayala.
We spent three nights here, mostly hanging out on the beach and checking out some of the surroundings. One of the natural highlights was the Chimaera flames.
These methane fuelled open flames have been burning since forever ago. Used as ancient lighthouses for the greeks and allegedly the inspiration for the chimera myth (Homer). It seems the chimera has been tamed by tourists as the ‘fire breathing, mythical beast with the body and head of a lion, with the head of a goat arising from its back, and a tail that ended in a snake’s head’ now spends its days toasting everyone’s marshmallows.
From Olympos, another bus. Complete with a complimentary (it was for free) cup of tea. We arrived in Kaş (ş = sh). This is a small seaside town surrounded by massive mountains and Greek islands.
During our time in Kaş we went on a boat trip. This was a relaxing way to spend a day. The tour took us through some of the nearby islands and stopped several times for a swim.
We cruised past Simena, another ancient Lycian town. Simena had the added interest of being a sunken city. The clear waters allowed for incredible views of houses, docks and buildings which had been submerged since an earthquake in the 2nd century.
From here we climbed to the top of the island into an old fortress in Kekova. The boat decided to forgo chairs in lieu of mattresses which made it extremely comfortable to chill out. After a few more swims in the incredibly salty Mediterranean we called it a day.
Our second day in Kaş involved a scooter hire. We drove around and had a thoroughly enjoyable day. Due to an overaggressive grip at the petrol pump we had an excess of gas in the tank. Kas peninsula has a loop road about 4km around. We thought we would host our own ‘Isle of Mann’ to get rid of the extra gas. We spent around 2 hours driving this loop having a great time.
One more bus, destination Fethiye. From Fethiye (Fet – E – ye) we decided to go on a walk. This would prove to be more difficult than we had anticipated. Our map was somewhere between suboptimal and woefully inadequate.
We spent 3 hours bush bashing up a hill in the middle of the Turkish summer. Despite the odds, we made it to the top only to find a road which we could have taken. We continued onwards and enjoyed the views. We spent the night in our trusty tent in the middle of nowhere. We didn’t have any sleeping bags or blankets, so it was a bit of a chilly night under our clothes. The next day we continued on to butterfly cove. This was pretty spectacular. We thought we might be able to climb down, but without ropes it was a bit much to consider.
We caught a bus back to Oludeniz, where we were surprised to find ourselves in an English town. We had to do a double take but right there was George, a sunburnt Englishman eating an English breakfast in a pub yelling at the cricket, whilst holding a 10 quid note out to the waiter. The entire town was copies of this, the only changing being the sport, the accent, and the maximum size of the t shirts in the shirts next door. The largest we saw was XXXXXXXXL, not even kidding. I’m pretty sure it was a repurposed sail. For reference, Oludeniz is a small town outside Fethiye, with a great beach and paragliding, it is particularly popular with the English.
After being talked out of trying on the t-shirt (white’s not my colour), we took a quick bus to an abandoned town named Kayaköy. In the 1920’s parts of this area of turkey were inhabited by Greeks. A massive repopulation of 1.6 million people post WWI due to the Ottoman collapse, rise of Turkey and numerous other political happenings occurred.
Turks from Greece and Greeks from Turkey swapped towns wholesale. The Turks who were moved to mainland Turkey refused to live in buildings which had been inhabited by Christians. As a result the town was abandoned.
It’s interesting walking around ruins of this age, as they are in much better condition than the older towns around. I was reminded of looking at Italian renaissance paintings and how the buildings look in much better nick than today barring the restored stuff. After a reflecting (read: pretentious) walk up here we returned to Oludeniz, where we went out partying. The next morning we had a delicious English breakfast.
Next bus: Pamukkale