We took advantage of the beautiful sunny day (which made Bayrams look more inviting) by doing some outdoor exploring. Less than a kilometer from Bayram’s we entered the a set of old ruins that lead our way to Olympos Beach. It was absolutely gorgeous and most importantly accessible. There was no one stopping us from climbing into and on top of everything we saw. A travelers paradise with no red tape and bureaucracy! (Travelers note: At the entrance to the ruins be wary of the pricing, they will try to sell you an individual card each but you can buy a multiple entry card and use if for everyone traveling with you for much much less.)
The unkempt ruins, bursts of flower beds, and untethered chickens added to the charm of our walk. There was so much to explore and we wanted to see it all, that a 10 minute walk turned in a 2 hour meander. There were dwellings built into the mountain on the opposite bank, tombs, beautiful arch ones of now unrecognizable building over grown with grass, but decaying beautifully.
After soaking up as much history as possible and swatting off the errant mosquito we arrived at the beach, where there was a flock of geese sunning themselves while pretending not to watch our every move. The sky was as bright blue and the water was beautiful and inviting, but not enough to get me to go in beyond my ankles. After a few Effes on the beach we decided to take our first taste of Olympos cuisine outside of our pension at a sea side restaurant, named Merhaba (a greeting in Turkish and one of our favorite learned words). Another amazing meal of fresh skewered meat and chicken, rice and tomato and cucumber salad finished out time at the beach. The walk back to our hotel was much less lengthy as we were all ready for a bit of relaxation in our tree houses before dinner time.
Later that night we headed to what is considered the real “Mount Olympus” to view the chimera or flames of the Gods. A 30 minute drive outside the city, up a winding roadway that brought on some of my worst car sickness, took us to Çirali where we entered a small wild wild west like town. It was so deserted, I could almost imagine tumbleweed moving down the street. We ended up at a small camp manned by two people whittling away the hours while the odd tourist arrived to see the flames. After paying a small entry free and borrowing flash flights we were on our way up the mountain.
And up we did go, rocky step-by-step until we reached the top. We didn’t know what to expect. It was dark and difficult to judge how far up we needed to travel, but it fueled our sense of adventure and increased our expectations of greatness with each stop forward. And we were not disappointed when we reached the top. The flames come out of the mountain at odd points and varying degrees. You can smell the methane gas and at certain spots hear it bubbling below the surface waiting for a chance to be set free. It seemed the creep out from under the rock trying to escape and fingering the rock above. It was mesmerizing to watch we could hardly pull ourselves away to go back down. I couldn’t believe that this occurs naturally.
AG decided to tempt fate and and pee on one of the fires to see if it would go out. Yes, it did. And it smelled so badly. We thought he was cursed after that, but it seems that I would be the one to suffer a series of unfortunate events on the rest of the trip. Back at Bayram’s, our favorite worker helped us procure a birthday cake for GP and it was some of the best chocolate cake I have ever eaten and very luxe for the middle of nowhere Turkey. A nice ending to another amazing day in Turkey!