Last Sunday afternoon Billy suddenly asked me if I felt like going to Olympos. Of course I did. So we packed an overnight bag and set out on the motorbike.
The ride from Antalya to Olympos (and indeed the entire coast) is just stunning; shining blue water, jutting island rocks, dramatic cliffs, bouganvilla, etc. We also spotted a new Dinosaur park and made a note to take Ellis. ( We’d have to rent a car or take a bus. We don’t do the “whole family on a bike” thing that seems so prevalent here.)
It was a perfect day for the trip. The temperature was such that the breeze on the bike was just enough to cool me off. The only uncomfortable part was keeping my legs spread for that long. It was like riding horseback, and I was walking bowlegged for a while after dismounting. Billy didn’t have that problem, but he had to concentrate to avoid the crazy drivers. So after almost 2 hours on the motorbike, we didn’t care that we’d accidentally ended up in Cirali instead of Olympos and decided to stay for the night.
What’s the difference between Cirali and Olympos anyway? Their beaches are contiguous, separated by a narrow stream. But the “towns” are a bit different. They aren’t really towns; they each have a single dirt road with pensions, treehouses and restaurants on them. The difference is that Olympos has nightclubs and a few bars and is populated with backpackers, whereas Cirali has a few more upscale restaurants and the clientele is a bit older. (Billy’s been to Olympos before and blogged about it.) Cirali also has restaurants right on the beach, whereas Olympos’ beach leads to the ruins, and the restaurants are a bit further back.
I was of course hungry when we arrived, so the first thing we did was sit at a seaside eatery and have some gözleme. Billy asked our waiter if he knew of a good pension, and he gave us several names. We then checked them out and discovered that all the establishments on the beach were charging 120 lira a night. That’s about 80 dollars, so it’s hardly overpriced for seaside accommodation, but we figured we could do better if we walked a bit inland.
At first we couldn’t find anyone to ask for a room, and saw only chickens and roosters, but eventually we found someone working at a pension. Billy’s method of asking if they had a room and then asking the price was stymied here. The only response was “first we drink tea, then we talk price. Price not important”. I could see the steam coming out of Billy’s ears, along with the text bubble saying “I’m Scottish. Price is very important”. Usually when you get that spiel the price turns out to be exorbitant, but we ended up with a perfectly serviceable cabin-like room for 70 lira, including breakfast. So we settled into our room, had a drink on the balcony, and then went for a swim.
Cirali is the home of the chimaera, the eternal flame, so I wanted to see it. But Billy said it was “just fire”. We wanted to relax at the beach for a while, and it wouldn’t be a good idea to venture up the path to the chimaera in the dark, so we decided to have a lazy evening and visit the Olympos ruins in the morning. According to Natalie of Turkish Travel Blog, it’s not worth the hike anyway.
We had dinner at another beach restaurant, this one specializing in fish. I had my usual barbunye (small, sweet fish fried in a light batter) and Billy had fish guvec, which turned out to be the usual whole fish just served in the clay pot with a tomato, pepper and onion, rather than a casserole of the ingredients chopped up (which is usually what you get with guvec). After dinner we took a walk on the beach and looked at the stars. It was actually a bit chilly, unusual for this time of year. So we went back to our cozy bungalow and called it a day.Google+