Saturday, November 29, 2014

11/21/14 Day 309 Antalya and the Not So Secret Hippie Haven of Olimpos

We arrived to Antalya late and exasperated after a thorough day of hitchhiking 550 kilometers. We were stoked to learn our very first ride was going to Alanya, only 40 kilometers East of our destination Antalya but his English was minimal and he kept repeating Alanya, we would retort we go to Antalya and then he would say no, no Alanya, and we would name both cities and motion for a split, he goes to Alanya and we go to Antalya, easy, done! It was not until the last 40 kilometers things took a turn for the frustrating, he could have continued on the main highway and reached th fork where we would split way in about 40 kilometers, but instead he turned for the alternate route East through a mountainous pass. Map in hand Kevin and I tried to explain this way was much longer, but he just kept saying Alanya (I think he wanted to be sure we knew he wasn't taking us further West). Based on the heart jolting jerks of his shifting, he clearly doesn't drive as much as we do, and obviously doesn't understand mountain passes either, not only did he actually drive further backwards North but t he road added at least 100 kilometers and 2.5 extra slow hours to all of our journeys not too mention he almost ran out of gas twice (he seriously should not drive). We were glad to be on our way again and got picked up and told the driver we were heading for Düden Waterfalls, that flow into the sea, he knew of the place and offered to take us there, perfect. Until he dropped us off at the inland waterpark where the secondary set of larger waterfalls named Düden were located just 20 kilometers from the falls flowing into the sea...one of those days for us for sure. One more try, and another fail, as our next ride takes us to the train station, actually the taxi rank. Almost hopeless by now as it is dark and we are tired, one last attempt. This time a nice old man picks us up in his company delivery truck and after explaining in broken English our goal he drives us a little ways, and drops us off saying what we think is maybe wait here, confused we start our trek it is not our day to hitchhike for sure. Startled by a honk from behind us we spin to find the old man! He has come back in his personal vehicle and drives us right to the waterfall (he just couldn't go that far on company time)! Hitchhiking in Turkey prevails yet again! After peeking at the gushing giant all lit up under the starry sky, we set up our tent right near the waterfall on top of the beautiful cliff falling asleep to the sounds of the rushing waters. The waterfall (selalesi in Turkish) by morning light is completely worth venturing all the way out to Antalya and satisfied we say adieu to the city. The rest of the city is kind of a pass as a has been tourist strip full of built up high rise hotels and not much for entertainment or beaches. It is however on the way to Olimpos which I have been told is a must. It is pretty far out of the way I think a 35 Lira Dolmus (minibus) gets you to the top of a really steep 7 kilometer road that you then take a joint taxi down to the bottom for another 15 Lira or so. We lucked out and got a hitch all the way to the bottom! Olimpos began as a hippie commune but has evolved into a chilled out backpackers lounge; definitely far from off the beaten path. There is a phenomenal beach you can walk on for the 2 kilometers to the next village Cirali, which contained slightly fewer people, (although both resorts were pretty deserted as winter is upon us! After dinner we started the 5-6 kilometer walk to reach the eternal flames, the fire breathing mountain, Yanartas in Greek, Chimaira in Turkish. For only 5 Liras each we had the mountain to ourselves, a spectacular sight with approximately a dozen flames spurting flaming methane gas from inside the mountain above the ruins of the Temple of Hephaistos (Blacksmith of the Gods)! These flames have been going strong since Ancient Greek Mythology and although they fluctuate and wane they have not extinguished for thousands of years. 

Sunrise tent view

Düden Selalasi, flowing straight into the Mediterranean Sea


The view of the Antalya tourist strip
Just a little chicken noodle soup cat feast in the park
Whole roasted chicken and salad only 20 Turkish Lira (10$)
Here is a listing of accommodations in Cirali only, a tiny village only 5-10 kilometers square
Dinner right on the beach
Camping half way between Cirali and Olimpos








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