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Antalya to Olympos


Claire was also to fly home today but still had plenty of chat to get rid of in the meantime, so together with Marilyn an older American buddhist from Denver, we took another wander to a kebapci (kebab shop) via the harbour, an old Medrese, and a beautifully restored traditional Ottoman house all cushions, carpets and carvings before I hailed farewell and jumped on the tram. It was a fair wee walk to the bus stop for Olympos, my next intended destination, and was most fortunate when I was joined on the long isolated highway by a goodhearted Turkish guy with good English who knew that actually the Olympus bus no longer ran this way. He saw me onto one bus and then another and the handshake was most sincere. It had probably saved me from wasting a day as well as a long hot stand in the sun for nothing.

It wasnt that far down the coast to Olympos. The coach twisted and dipped as it negotiated the feet of the impressive Bey Mountains, it was just a pity that they were lost to the haze for the most part, their silhouettes were very dramatic, the kind of mountains you see drawn by kids. Aboard the minibus which took me the last few Ks downhill to the village I met an English couple who had left the place a week ago but come back, it was the best place they had found along the coast they said, they loved it. It boded well. Olympos, another site of Roman ruins which had been built practically by the beach, had become synonymous with the backpacker scene, a renowned chill out haunt where the big deal was to stay in a treehouse. After checking them out I decided that the treehouses were really just rickety shacks on stilts and the much plusher dormitory I settled for was cheaper, more comfortable and more secure. Stuff the hype and the stereotype, I got a 4 bed hut to myself. For me it was really just a "been there done that" kind of place but the fact that the ruins were readily reachable had certainly inspired my interest. Lena the Russian girl had recommended a particular joint, the closest one to the beach and so thats where I went despite the English couple heading elsewhere. It transpired there was practically no real village as such, it was just a concentration of sleeping dens decked out with huts, hammocks, traditional style cushioned sitting areas and bars, there were no real diversions outside your camp. It was late enough in the day that the ticket office for the ruins would be closed, so with the last of the light I headed off to check them out, aiming to finish up at the beach. That would be that out of the way immediately, done and dusted.

To be honest the ruins were a little disconcerting. I eventually figured out that the path to the beach I was following had once upon a time actually been the main thoroughfare of the settlement, and to either side stood a series of tall walls in very good condition. They were almost too good to be contemporary and had clearly been adapted. Doorways and arches had been filled in and the style of brickwork wasnt what I expected of Rome. I could only assume that they had been redeveloped in a more recent era. Pretty underwhelming and the only giveaway to their antiquity came right at the end with the location of 2 tombs placed right at the point where the path reached the shore. The shingle beach in the last of the light did nothing to stir my heart so it was a quick turn around before I broke my neck wearing flip flops on a rough track in the dark.

Several groups of people sat around the camp and were immediately discernible to my experienced eye. There was the Ozzie gaggle on their big Round The World trips, who already had each other sorted out for company and who looked so horizontal it was like they had been there for a month. There was another more distant group who I took to be Germans, but they were tourists not backpackers and equally unapproachable. Then there was the 3rd group evidently composed of Turks and the young naive backpacker chicks they were intent on nailing. As the advertised deadline for dinner came and went without incident I ended up eating on my own and the opportunity for an icebreaker was gone. The way the Ozzies declined my unwanted salad was as much to say bugger off. So thats what I did.

It was pretty much my immediate impression that this place might be fine if all you wanted to do was escape a heatwave and do nothing for a few days, but this was October and I had plenty to do. It advertised itself as "Come for a night, stay for a Week". With the beach and ruins squared away immediately upon arrival, one night would be enough for me. The Ozzies could have it.

Posted by andyhay 00:00 Archived in Turkey

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