Fire & Water - Pammukale, Oludeniz &
from a treetop cyber safe, deep in the treehouse town of Olympus.
we last left off, we had fled Selcuk for Pammukale.
of you may have seen pictures of the white,
calcified, terraced waterfall pools.
of years the calcium flowed over the hills
an amazing natural wonder. People
and crawl and swim in the pools until the late
when the Turkish government finally realized
all those smelly feet may not be too good for
pools and banned swimming in them. The most
ones are completely cordoned off and now you can only
around the pools, and wade into few marked ones
. It was a bit
underwhelming, that time of year, the pools were running dry and many at
low flow, not revealing the full effect. It
all looks far more glamorous in
the cheesy tourist brochures which showcase grainy pics of
swimming in the pools and lounging about. If you look closely,
are all wearing really bad seventies swimsuits
tiny speedos and matching seventies hair and large sunglasses.
The area has many
natural mineral actually
mineral. We know
because we drank
which feed the pools and also a number of
baths. We visited one large
pool set in some ruins. In
was a natural pool
and twisted and turned it's way through a secluded garden setting. Years
ago, the ruins of a temple had collapsed into
pool during an earthquake so we swam among columns
stones and marble sculpture. Many
found high perches on the columns and lounged half in and half out of
the water. The water itself was
spring source was at one end of the pool and
because a number of people had swam down into it
got stuck and drowned.
Highly recommended and located above the terraced hills at the top of
Pammukale we headed south to the Mediterrean
coast, the Turkish Riveria, which boasts most beautiful
in the world. First to
Oludeniz, home of the
Blue lagoon and the start of the Turkish
Riveria. We were up for some days of lounging and fun in the sun. From
Oludeniz we visited the Butterfly Valley, an intensely populated natural
Butterfly habitat and
a nearby waterfall.
on the island of St. Nick
are many day trips sailing along the coast, stopping in coves for
swimming and exploring natural sites. There
are many boats and it's easy to arrive in the morning on the shore and head out for a day of fun in the
sun. Food and alcohol
is plentiful and cheap and the paced relaxed. Some of the sites include
the original church ruins of St. Nicholas, a natural cold spring
the water gushes out bone-chillingly cold, and caverns and caves to
swim and explore.
Another excellent day trip is
Gorge. It was created by
earthquake that split a mountain in two and left a very narrow gorge that floods with
cold spring water and very slippery amazing rock
We hiked in (swam in) as far as we could
we were blocked by a waterfall we could not seem
Once back at the
entrance to the gorge, we relaxed in comfy platforms over the water,
sitting on cushions, dipping our feet in the water and sipping tasty
Turkish smoothies. The trip also
included a stop at a trout farm for lunch, and it was some fresh and
All in all, Oludeniz is about
as low-key and easy a vacation as you can get. The big resorts have yet
to hit town and infrastructure remains delightfully primitive. There are
a lot of touristy beach front restaurants
right in the center. For more authentic and delicious food, head further
east along the beach and crowds thin. It is a
backpacker resort, full of adventure sports, cheap and convenient day
trips and fruit smoothies. Bars party into the night, and Raki is the
drink of choice.
another backpacker haven
known as the tree house town of Olympos, home of Mt Olympos and the
Chimera. Olympos is nestled
in a very remote
also on the southern coast of Turkey. After taking
numerous buses and shuttles off the main road, we managed to get
into the valley. The entire
area has been
an archelogical site and that basically
to no concrete. Normally
the kiss of death
tourism, enterprising Turks have built numerous
treehouses to lure the weary travelers.
home sweet home
stayed in our own
person digs high in the treetops. The
at was a mini metropolis complete with
bars, showers, bathrooms, lounging areas,
even laundry (yeah- clean clothes).
The camp was full of small, elevated platforms where
travelers rested, read, wrote, chatted and played board games. Meals
were served camp style, at the same time, in the large dining tree. It
serve yourself buffet and those near the end lost out. We quickly
realized the game when we saw people nonchalantly standing in small
clusters that that quickly gave way to lines at the stroke of six.
night, we hiked up to the Chimera flames high on
of rocks over which we did our best to maneuver.
Mt. Olympos. What a hike!
One note here about
in Turkey. There does not
appear to be any.
America that sort of hike would have to be guided, fenced
with handrails, and the path flooded with light.
in Turkey, we were told to wear good shoes and
a light. Little did we know
how difficult the
would be. We were dropped
off at the base of
in the middle of the night (the best time to
the Chimera) and were told to go that way (UP)
no real idea where to go and no real path to really follow, we began climbing.
trail would occasionally appear and disappear in large
was absolutely pitch black and our flashlight cut
a small path for us to follow. At
one point, I
the light to one side and discovered that we
on the edge of a cliff. OK,
no more doing that.
stick to the path and not think about the
(two Americans plunge off cliff)
a good hour climb up, we finally made it to the
and found the Chimera.
ancient wonder, modernis
the x-file. You cover
them up or
douse them with water but they always re-ignite.
still have no explanation for the
the mountain, numerous flames spring from
the rock and have been lit continuously since ancient
times. They were so bright
talk of boats navigating by them. Scientists
agree that they burn because of
natural gas emissions, but the ignition
young Turk was boiling water over a flame and
herbal tea with herbs he had gathered from
mountain. He handed us a
glass of tea with what
to be huge weeds sticking out, but it was
delicious. We sat around the flames
and bemoaned the lack of marshmellows.
on these mountains, we noticed the sky. In such a
place there was absolutely no light pollution.
noticed millions of stars among the bright ones
we normally see back at home. The
big dipper is
full of stars and you could even see the
way stretch across the sky. It was magical.
Corner (we are just gonna throw this in)
at the treehouse, we watched 'The Game' with
Douglas and Sean Penn and we give it two
up. Two hours of pure entertainment and suspense
in a tree.
Olympos, we took an overnight bus across Turkey
up to Istanbul to meet up with Emma, our fabu
elle-macpherson look-alike traveling buddy. She
into Istanbul and we rearranged our plans to
up with her and travel together a bit.
and out good buddies
index | back