Sunday, August 29, 2010

Turkey - Olympos

After leaving Fethiye at 9am we headed for Olympos.  Two hours into the bus journey we had a swim stop at a great little beach, the waves were the best we have seen over here, and pretty powerful. It was amusing watching tourists that appeared to be experiencing waves for the first time!

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Back on the bus we had lunch at a nice little turkish cafe in Kas, back on the road we arrived in Olympos at 5pm.

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Roaming the back streets of Kas after lunch

Olympos, how would you described it?

The best way we can think of is pretend you are walking into a western movie set, there are wooden shanties all over the place.  It a pretty unusual place and very chilled out. 

The village runs off generators – We hoped and prayed that they wouldn’t overheat as then we would loose air con and its more than 40 degrees here. Night and day.

We paid about $20 NZD each for the night in a double private room with an ensuite, this included dinner and breakfast – very cheap!!


With only one day in Olympos and after getting talking to another NZ couple who were planning on going to try an watch turtle hatching the next day, they’d already worked it all out (ya go the Kiwi’s, these are the first ones we have meet since being away), it was destiny that we tagged along!

This time of the year is apparently the time to do it, with nests cordoned off on the beach and these apparently hatch at sunrise . . . .apparently. . . . .

So 4.30am we rose and Mike and Trace started their walk down to the beach to see the miracle of life.  As we headed out of our hostel the security guard said hello and asked where we were from and what we were doing, we replied we were from New Zealand and we’re off to see the Turtle hatching at the beach.  His reply was “oh Kai ora Bro” in a Turkish accent.

Next we were greeted at the gate of the hostel by a guy who was still drinking and on his way home, (this place does not have a lot to do and therefore people tend to drink into the early hours of the morning) he offered us a beer and informed us the beach did not open until 6am and was guarded by a policemen but we decided to keep going seen as we were up and weren’t sure how accurate his info would be.

Our next friend we came across was a white dog, then came a brown dog… Shortly after this a very happy Turkish guy came along with a dog and chatted briefly before stopping to buy an icecream… He’d collected a dog of his own who he’d now passed on to us when he stopped. The dogs seem to like walking with anyone who’s on the move… We carried on with 3 dogs now.

After finally reaching the beach where we were greeted by a sleepy looking policemen, he said that the beach was closed and we could not go on, just as we were about to give up our ice cream eating Turkish friend caught up. They spoke Turkish to one another back and forward and some how we were allowed to continue.

We tried to explain to our new friend that we were off to see the Turtles hatching, his reply was “sorry I am too high to understand”.  He was a nice guy and was working as a singer in one of the bars and on his way home. We carried on our way making small chat with our new found friend.  Now on the turtle mission we had Trace, Mike, a stoned Turkish guy, a brown dog, a black dog and a white dog. . . . . . who was to join us next. . . . it was anyone's guess . . . . .

Once almost at the beach we stumbled across another man who was drunk and couldn’t find his way home. . . . he began to follow us too. The 4 of us and 3 dogs continued…

After reaching the beach the drunk man asked what we had come to see and we again tried to explain about the turtles and how we were hoping to see them hatch, he said that we were way to early and don’t bother until 5am.  We all checked our watchers and to his surprise we confirmed it was in fact 5.05am.  “This is an expensive watch, it’s meant to work” he said.  He reset his broken watch to match Mike’s time, but it was still not working.

After walking down the beach for 10 minutes we decided it was time to leave the group, give up on turtles and watch the sun rise, we couldn't see any turtle nests and really had no idea what we were looking for in the dark with our flashlight. After sitting down, the other NZ couple stumbled over us and we began to proceed down the beach to where the turtle nests were.

Here we sat, we waited and we hoped that a miracle would happen.  To our disappointment it wasn't to be but we did see an amazing sunrise and had a good old kiwi chat. Then a very uneventful walk back to the accommodation in the light.

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Mount Olympos in the background

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Walking back from the beach

After some breakfast (Omelette, tomatoes, cucumber, eggs,and of course more bread) we headed back to bed for a couple of hours to catch up on some sleep before we had to check out of our room at 11am.

Once we had checked out we sat up in the common room (tree house) area and updated our blog, played cards and read.  A lovely way to spend the afternoon and evening.  Avoiding the sun and heat of the day!

Below are some photos of the accommodation we stayed at in Olympos

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Turkey - Fethiye

We departed Koycezia at 9am set for Fethiye. 

After a couple of hours drive we stopped at the Lycian ruins at Tlos, these were amazing.

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Back on the bus we headed to a carpet manufacturing place.  Here we were shown how the carpets are hand made and what to look out for when buying a carpet.  Trace was given a go at weaving a carpet, not a career she would like to move to. 

They then showed us how silk was extracted from the silk cocoons of the butterfly.  This was so amazing, one cocoon produces about 1 mile of silk.

Once we had been through the sales process with the Turkish carpet men we were then back on the bus (no purchases, we found one we quite liked but at 500 pounds for about a 2 metre by 3 metre carpet - little out of our price range).  Although, considering it was approximately 10 months of work by one women working 6 hours 5 days a week. I wouldn’t like to calculate the hourly rate!

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After an hours drive we arrived at Sakklient Gorge.  This was an incredible Gorge which has a huge natural spring pumping a raging river out of the ground! The gorge went for about 15 kilometres and is the longest and deepest Gorge in Turkey, however about 200m into the gorge the springs come out of the ground so there’s not much water beyond this point in summer.   We walked for about an hour up into the Gorge with some of the people off the FEZ bus, this involved a crossing the river downstream from the springs… This water was freezing! the comp for our long you could keep your feet in the water was won somewhere between 1 and 2 minutes!  Unbelievably cold!! Especially as it was 40 degree temperature outside.  The tour guides smirk when he described the water as “refreshing” was suddenly understood.

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We arrived in Fethiye at 6pm to our accommodation – V-Go hostel, this was about a 15 minutes walk out of Fethiye but overlooked the harbour which was beautiful.

The hostel was really nice, had a pool and great feel to it.  That night we had dinner and talked with our new friends off the FEZ bus Davin and Jess.


It was up at 9am and off on a 12 island cruise around Fethiye.  This was a lot like sail Croatia, so many beautiful islands.  We swam and sunbathed the day away.

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Dinner back at the hostel – the food was really nice here.

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The hostel Pool

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view from our room


Up at 9 and off paragliding, yes this was Mike’s idea of fun and Trace tagged along. 

The ride up on the back of a jeep truck was interesting, with steep cliffs on the side of the road . . . .  it was almost more scary than the Paragliding itself.  We eventually made it to the top of the cliff where we were to run and jump off after about a 40 minute drive, this was 3000 feet above sea level.

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Trace took the walk, run and then jump first with her guide then Mike followed.  It was a great feeling flying above Fethiye and Oludeniz beach.  After a few tricks in the air and flying around we were made back to land with two feet on the ground.

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Mike’s view looking up at Trace


Trace’s view looking down on Mike

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Trace finishing a view tricks… Her guy was more adventurous!19 Turkey 610 Looking down over the “blue lagoon”

That afternoon we spent at Blue Lagoon, Oludeniz beach (this was voted one of Europe’s top beaches), you have to pay to get into it.  We still think our NZ beaches beat this hands down but it was lovely to spend the afternoon reading and relaxing by the water.

We made it back to the hostel for dinner and a few drinks later that evening.

Also it has to be said there was a guy who worked behind the bar that enjoyed to arm wrestle (this was all he seemed to do all day) we watched him beat a bunch of drunk aussies quoting “beat me an you'll get a free beer”.  Mike waited until his arm looked sore and made a move… Unfortunately he declined saying it’d have to wait until tomorrow . . . . . . Eventually he challenged Mike at the bar… He lost in about 3 seconds and wasn’t seen for the next couple of hours.  No beer. later appeared and said “again, tomorrow”. The next day he challenged again but with a friend that spoke better English.  He held their hands and counted down. Lost again… Round 2 he said… 3, 2, 1 Lost again… No beer, but there were plenty of thumbs up and smiles for the remainder of the stay.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Turkey - Koycegiz


We hoped on the FEZ bus in Kasadasi at 9am

Our first stop was at a leather shop for a model show . . . .  and then they tried to sell us the modelled leather jackets.  These had prices of 600 Euro and up on them but they said “we do you special deal” and would 3rd this price.  Only one taker in the group.  We can’t get into the frame of mind to buy a winter leather jacket now when temperatures are well above 30degrees.

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Our second stop was at a ceramic art place.  A man whom they call “superman” demonstrated how pottery was made.  He was very very cleaver.  Again we were told prices on items did not matter and he could do us a good deal, especially since we were the first group of the day and the first group always gets “good deal” so that the rest of their day goes well. . . . .

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No purchases were made . . . . .

We then made our way to a small village where we walked around and did some wine tasting.  There were many flavours which we tried, peach, strawberry, kiwifruit, cranberry, blueberry . . .  the list goes on.

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We had lunch at this village and then spent the next few hours on the bus.  We stopped at a view which overlooked a well known kitesurfing spot – mike’s eyes lit up!

After about an hour on the bus we finally reached our destination of Koycegiz, where we were to spend the night.

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The view from our room terrace

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After we had had dinner at the hostel we went out for a night tour with an Aussie couple from the FEZ bus.  This involved a boat ride (with a couple of cocktails), the famous mud baths and then a midnight swim in the lake.  Only 4 of us were keen so we had to pay a little more to get the driver keen, the boat seated about 60 odd people so it was a little odd just the four of us.  He said the view from the roof was the best and that it was a cooler temperature (it was 9pm when we got on but still bit 30s and humid) so we all climbed onto the roof of the drivers cabin and made ourselves comfortable. 

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It took us about an hour to cross the Koycegiz lake to where the mud baths were.  We all jumped (Well Trace lowered herself) in the mud.  It was a very strange experience to be splashing about in mud.  The pool was about thigh deep with a good 15 centimetres of thick stodgy mud in the bottom. 

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The thick density of the mud made you float which was a very strange feeling, no matter what you did you just floated on top of the muddy water.  Mike was in heaven, he was taken back to his childhood days of playing in the mud and absolutely loved it!!

After we had had enough of being covered in mud we washed ourselves off in the shower and proceeded to the thermal bath – this was just like the ones in Rotorua, we felt most at home – the poor Aussies though . . . .

Back on the boat and heading back across the lake to our hostel we stopped of a midnight swim in lake, this was like going for a bath, it was so warm (there are thermal springs).

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That night we all sleep like logs. . . . which reminds us they are currently doing Rumadal which is when they do not eat or drink (even water) between the hours of 4.30am and 9.30pm.  At these times a drum is played to signals these times.  Mike has not heard this at all while in Turkey – he can sleep through anything!