Travel Journal

Olympos

(Wednesday 1 December 2010) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 107 -- 11/19/10 Olympos

We caught a ride to the otogar (bus station) and hopped on a shuttle bus towards Kas. These are slow and make frequent stops but get you there in the end. The driver let us off just outside of a town and it was a kilometer walk to the ruins at Xanthos. It was a Lycian city whose inhabitants ended up destroying their town rather than letting in fall to an army. I’m assuming it’s twice a ruin as there are abandoned churches as well on the site. Up the cliff are ruins from a Roman town as well with Lycian tombs on the side of the hill. It’s not really worth the trouble to get here though especially if you’re relying on public transportation.
Instead of waiting for the next shuttle where we were dropped off, we wandered into town, found the little otogar and surprisingly found a bus direct to Olympos. I thought we would have to continue to Kas and find another bus then. This was good in that the Olympos bus only stops at the top of the mountain and you have to catch a bus to go down the 8 klicks to the actual town – if you want to call it that. We found a bus waiting at the top and after about a half hour wait for additional passengers, we took a quick ride down to Olympos. The town is really a collection of lodges whose twist is “tree house” accommodation. I thought it would be interesting to try one but Julie quickly nixed the idea when she saw there was no heater and large cracks which let the bugs in. There are a few cafes there but that’s it. No banks, ATM machines, gas stations, etc.
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We got a “bungalow” which is really just a hotel room. The season was winding down and the hotel we were at was shutting down for winter in two days so there weren’t a lot of people there. After unpacking, I checked on catching a ride to Chimaera which has holes in the rocks where gas leaks out and catches on fire. It seemed intriguing but the 20TL ($14) charge just for transportation seemed outrageous. Julie ran across a couple from Argentina who had taken the ride and said you could walk it if you cut through the ruins of Olympos after it closed and walked around the beach to the next town and Chimaera was right next to that. Otherwise we had to walk back up to where we caught the shuttle, walk to another turn off to the next town and walk down to the town and then back up to Chimaera. We scoped out the ruins and talked to some locals who said ignore the no trespassing after sundown signs posted at the entrance to the ruins. So we decided to try before the transportation left and if we were caught we’d go back and catch the transport.
We left with flashlights (thank God) at about 8 PM. Sunset was about 5:30 in these parts and the park had long been closed. The gate was just a bar across the turnstile so we passed that easily. Despite the full moon, it was dark and the stony path made us use the flashlight so my ninja attempt to cross silently and unseen went out the window. We passed a few locals that use this route though so no problems getting out. Walking on the beach was slow but we reached the next town and got on the street and kept walking, and kept walking. It was almost ten when we reached the park and I was a bit concerned the last couple kilometers where there were no signs up for the park and there was nothing around us.
I wish I could say it was worth the hike there and twenty minutes walk up the mountain but really there was only about eight fires and they were surrounded by groups of people toasting marshmallows. One even had someone sleeping next to the fire in a sleeping bag! We starting back and a nice couple offered us a ride but we declined because we wanted to pick up a license plate we had seen on the road for Julie’s brother. We retrieved it and walked the rest of the way back to the hotel – you’re welcome Richard!
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The next day after breakfast, we visited the ruins the next day and paid this time. Quite a difference when you can see around you. There were Catholic church ruins built on Lycan ruins built on Roman ruins. The area is not that large but very senic with the river running through it. We weren't allowed to visit the area on the other side of the river but there was enough to see on our side as we had a bus to catch.
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We caught the shuttle back to the top of the road to continue our journey through Turkey.

  • Thanks by Nellie the mom


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