The Turqoise coast

Trip Start Nov 15, 2004
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Trip End Nov 10, 2005


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Monday, October 17, 2005

After surviving our overnight ferry from Naxos to Samos (we had to resort to sleepıng on the deck - at least those Nepal sleepıng bags paıd off) we had to spend a day on the green island of Samos waitıng for another ferry to Turkey.

We finally made it to Turkey and decided to spend a night in Kusadasi before heading south. The little bit of the town we saw was lined with shops and salesman. All the shopkeepers had little seats in front of their shops where they sat watching the world go by, playing backgammon and drinking chai while waiting for a customer - very social. The next morning we headed straight down to Tukey's southern Mediteranean coast to go diving and see the last ruins of our trip. We were pretty impressed by the bus service - lemon wash for your hands, tea, coffee and cake! We initally based ourselves in the small town of Kas, well renowned for its crystal clear waters and spent a day diving in the warmest water we have encountered since Thailand.

The next day, after being impressed with the state of the roads, we hired a car and toured some of the nearby historical sites. We started at the two world heritage sites of Xanthos and Letoon, which housed Lycian ruins and tombs from around 100 BC. Next stop was the Salikent Gorge National Park, where we waded through ice cold water along an ever narrowing gorge that the sun never enters. Our final destination was the Patara National Park, which has 19km wide sandy beach that is visited by nesting turtles each summer (we were too late). Patara also has another ruined city, which was perhaps more impressive than the heritage listed sites we visited earlier. Unfortunately the beach was too rough and windy for a swim though. Two other things we discovered while driving around were that petrol is ridiculously high at 2.8 million lira a litre ($2.70!!!)and that women don't drive in Turkey, making Kate a bit of a spectacle on the country roads.

Kas was a nice place to base ourselves with good food and Lycian rock tombs carved into the hill overlooking the town. The Muslim prayers were broadcast across the valley four times a day (beginning at 5am) and at sunset a gun was let off to signal the end of the Ramadan fast day which gave it an authentic Turkish village feel.

We left Kas and headed further up the coast to Olympos and Cirali. Olympos has another National Park turtle beach and another ruined city. The site is very impressive with a mountain backdrop and forest. The city is wonderfully overgrown and fun to explore with its slightly earie and mystical feeling. At night we hiked 5 km up to the chimaera - gas lit flames coming from under the rocks, which according to a legend told by Homer, are created by a goat/snake/lion creature breathing fire.

The area is a place one could easily linger but with flights booked we moved on.
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