Olympos: the very best of the Turkish Mediterranean.
Olympos Travel Blog› entry 170 of 251 › view all entries
July 25th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
STILL DAY SEVEN of the Beaches & Ruins Road Trip: OLYMPOS.
Because of the small â€śtemporaryâ€ť spare tire on the car, I drove sloooowly (not over 80KMH) from UĂ§agiz to Olympos. It would NOT be good to get another flat since I am quite sure we need four tires to continue on, and at this point we have no spare. Fingers were crossed the whole way.
We were trying to get to our hotel, but we turned too soon and ended up at the entrance to Olympos. Olympos is the site of yet another ancient ruin, which we planned to visit after checking in to our hotel.
The area surrounding the entrance could only be described as BIZARRE. Some of the buildings had a Wild West look going on, with wagon wheels and rough-hewn aged wood construction.
We had driven all the way down this rough and rocky road (hang in there, little spare!) before we realized we were in the wrong place. So we drove back out and went down the highway until we found the sign for Cirali, which is where our hotel is located. We drove quite a ways down a winding road to find Olympos Lodge. Just to continue the weirdness, we were met at the parking area byâ€¦ peacocks. Lots of peacocks, which were roaming the grounds and showing off their plumage.
To make a long story short, we didnâ€™t like the hotel, which we felt was terrible overpriced for what it was, so we left.
This is where things got really good. It was 6pm, and the dusky light on the beach was beautiful. Despite the fact that the tanning hours were over, there were lots of people hanging out and enjoying the beach. I was confused because I was expecting to see another ruined city, and here I was in the middle of Spring Break!
We continued on and found a sign posting the entrance to Olympos. We followed the wide main path into the forest (the ticket booth was closed so we got in for free!) and learned that this road went to the Wild West entrance we had found earlier. There was a steady stream of beach people going to and from the beach to the parking lot and hotels on the other side.
The forest felt like ours alone, with picturesque ruins grown over by the trees and bushes, all spooky and dark. It felt immense and ancient, and begged reverence. The fragrance was woodsy and wonderful, like decayed leaves and pine, and something else I couldnâ€™t pinpointâ€¦ if I could capture it I would sell a lot of potpourri. We explored the rough paths, photographed the overgrown walls in the dying light, and admired a super-clear stream. We were occasionally reminded where we were by the anachronistic bikini-clad visitors we ran into on the paths.
The different between Olympos and the other ruins we have seen is that Olympos has not been dug up or restored in any way. These ruins were in complete ruins! You might be walking along and find yourself treading on a half-buried two thousand year old lintel. (I am not 100% sure what a lintel is, but I am pretty sure I walked on several of them at Olympos.) It is a really spectacular site, and by far my favorite of all the ruins we have seen this far. We all just loved it.
Because we arrived late we didnâ€™t have a lot of time to explore. We left reluctantly, back across the beach (still people there) and to the car. We were without beds for the night, and decided to press on to Antalya to find a hotel. We set off not knowing how incredibly challenging this would prove to be during high season on a Friday night.
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