Driving in Turkey

Trip Start Aug 12, 2013
1
47
59
Trip End May 30, 2014


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Flag of Turkey  , Antalya,
Sunday, March 30, 2014

We had our rental car delivered to our hotel in Antalya this past Sunday.  Our last two weeks in Turkey will be spent driving from Antalya, up the west coast to Izmir.  We knew from our research that driving in Turkey would be fine once we got out of Antalya.  Getting out of Antalya was a challenge. Firstly, our rental was delivered to us on empty, so we had 37 km to find a gas station.  Old town Antalya, where we were staying, was a maze of small, hilly one way streets barely wide enough for one car.  Our rental has a manual transmission but it was very difficult to get into first gear.  After stalling three times on a small hill, the car's back bumper was about one inch from hitting a building.  With people staring at us with amusement I finally worked it out and we were on the move.  We found our way out of the maze and onto a main road.  There were no lines on the road and streets signs were non existent.  Karen had a map, our iPad , the hotel manager's directions and her sunny demeanor ready to politely guide me in the direction we were headed.  We missed our first turn and the kilometres were ticking down to empty, 27,26,25.... (it was really pleasant to hof ave this feature on our car).  At this point I decided to do what any caring husband would do and asked Karen a simple question in a measured, calm tone, "Are you sure that you didn't miss something on the map dear?  Her response to me was not nearly as polite and respectful as I had been. That's how I remember it anyway.  It's a good thing the children had their headphones on.  We finally managed to get going the right direction and found a gas station where the attendants really wanted to help us.  After many smiles, gestures and pointing we were on the road again with a full tank of gas and still not really knowing where we were going.

Once navigating out of Antalya we visited the ancient city of Termessos.  It is not exactly known when this mountain city came to be but it shows up in history in 333 B.C.  when Alexander the Great circled the city but chose not to attack it.  The common theory is that Alexander, who never lost a battle, believed he could not defeat Termessos due to their fortifications and location on the top of Solymos mountain.  It is one on the best preserved ancient cities in Turkey.  It stands at an elevation of 1665 metres above sea level.   It was a 9 kilometre drive up to the parking lot and another 1 kilometre hike up to the site but it was worth it!  It is not a very busy site so you can wander through endless ruins without seeing many people.  The ancient theatre is breathtaking and the rock cut tombs cut into the mountain were beautiful.  We were all glad we made the trek!

We stayed two nights in the beautiful Canada Hotel in Cirali.  Here we visited the Olympos ruins and the Chimaera flames. The flames have been naturally burning continuously for 2500 years! Methane gas seeps from over two dozen spots on the cliffs.  Legend has it that the mythical, fire breathing creature, Chimaera, with the head of a lion, body of a goat and tail of a serpent roamed these woods.  We hiked up at dusk and stayed until it was pitch black, except for the flames.  We had the place to ourselves at the end!

On the way to Kas, our home for the next week, we detoured and stopped in the town of Demre.  This is near to the ancient city of Myra. Myra is known for its rock cut tombs and for a visit made there by Saint Paul as described in the book of Acts.  This ancient Lycian city is also famous for being the home of Saint Nicholas.  We visited the restored basilica where he was the bishop in the 4th century A.D. 

We have now moved on to Kas, a small harbour town.  We have a vacation rental here so we can catch up on school work and give the girls a break from the ruins for awhile.
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Comments

Danny on

Wow! Good times and great pictures. Really interesting about those flames. Never heard of them before. Where are the pictures of Karen giving you directions? Bet there were some bigger flames there!

Dale and Bonnie on

Loved your blog and pictures. Dale and I couldnt stop laughing at the part about directions. Sorry we missed skyping as we were at Vals. During the day Tuesday might work if you are near wifi. Love to all.

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