After a refreshing sleep, with cool breezes wafting though our windows, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast in Cirali before our trek to Olympos. In addition to the usual cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives was a basket of fried borek, some with cheese and some plain. The plain ones reminded me of the beignets of New Orleans. A nice change from ekmek and simits. Thus fortified we set out on the path to the ruins.
It was toasty under the sun, and although I’d remembered to wear a hat I’d forgotten to bring water. So I had to stop every so often when I found a spot of shade.
Some of the ruins are right on the path after the entrance gate ( 5 TL admission), but others require a bit of wading through brush and climbing on rocks. Billy thinks this is the fun part, and was annoyed that some of the brush in front of an old temple wall had been cleared.
Just as I was starting to feel faint from the onset of heatstroke I spotted a red umbrella in the distance. Could it be a kiosk selling snacks and water? Or was it a mirage? As we approached it became clear it was real, and dehydration and loss of conciousness was avoided.
After a brief rest, during which I drank half a liter of water, we headed toward the “theater” on the opposite side of the stream. The rocks were more challenging here, and although I made it to the theater unscathed I took a fall on the way back. Those were good-sized jagged rocks I fell on, and I was lucky to come out with only minor bruises.
I’d had it with old rocks by that point and was eager to recover at the beach, which fortunately wasn’t too far ahead. We walked past the bare-breasted sunbathers (representing either a total lack of awareness of cultural norms or an advertisement for professional services) and dropped our towels near the water.
Billy dove right in and convinced me it wasn’t cold “once you got used to it”. Nomally at this time of year the water would be pleasant, but it’s been an unusually long winter. I forced myself into the water and screamed as the icyness hit me. I kept moving but couldn’t get used to the freezing water, and I continued to make unhappy noises while Billy laughed at my struggle.
After drying under the sun it was time to head home. Getting on the bike I realized I was still aching from yesterday’s ride. It was a bit uncomfortable, but we broke up the ride with a stop for gozleme at the roadside in a treehouse. It was the perfect way to relax and stretch my legs on the cushions, and of course I was hungry and thirsty anyway.
We arrived home in Antalya about 24 hours after we left, feeling like we’d had a real vacation. Olympos and/or Cirali makes a great overnight trip from Antalya. I did learn a few lessons though:
1. Riding on the back of a motorcycle ceases to be fun after about an hour;
2. When wandering around under the Mediterranean sun, a bottle of water is a must; and
3. Remember to take appropriate footwear if you plan to explore the ruins. Flip-flops are great for the beach; for rock-climbing, not so much.Google+