Olimpus & Chimaera
After wandering around in the midday sun we became severely over-heated at Aspendos and decided to cut short our trip to the Gorge and head for Olimpos, south of Antalya. We parked at Safil Pansiyon and Camping (25YTL per night) at Çirali – a very pleasant, laid-back, low-rise, village-like place on the coast where the buildings seem to be mainly spit-and-string jobs. Most of the tourists seem to be German and there were lots of kids around too so we guessed it was half term there as well as in UK. There was a young British couple here, and the young woman was saying that we were the first Brits she had seen in a long time and she was quite right – we only met two other Brit couples here in Turkey and she was half of one of them. The access road to Cirali is a bit tight and steep inplaces (it is 7km from the main road) and on the way in we gave a lift to a couple of young Czechs who were on their way to Chimaera where methane spontaneously combusts on the mountainside.
To avoid the heat we set out at 6.30am to explore the nearby Olimpus ruins whch you do by walking up the beach to the river. They date back to BC and at first seem fairly limited in scope but as you wander through the dense foliage you come across big churches, temples, sarcophagi and walls. There is more across the river but there was no bridge – it looked as if the river was dry most of the time (or at least most of the time tourists would be here) and there was just the fag-end of a flow after some recent rain. It was very impressive, and wonderfully cool in the early morning. We were back at the van by 9am for breakfast with crusty fresh bread picked up on the way.
The following evening we made the trip to Chimaera: 30YTL for the minibus there at 8pm and back at 9.45 (plus two bottles of water and a torch), entry 3YTL apiece. Once they drop you off it is a stiff climb of about 800m to the flames – we had overdressed for the night walk and were sweating blood by the time we got to the top and saw the very strange sight of flames coming out of the rocks. There were people cooking sausages, making tea and others chanting and a feller playing a not-bad flute to provide an appropriate ‘new-age’ atmosphere. It was well worth the visit although the walk down the rough path in the dark required your full attention.
I know it is only fire - but this is coming straight out of the ground and is fascinating to see.
Click here for Myra - more ruins and Lycian tombs