Part Two. . .
This post was originally posted on Tuk-tuks, chicken bouquets and bicycle bells on 18th May 2014 @ kerrytolsontravels.com
Once off the highway its a heart in mouth drive down an almost non-existent road to a dusty chilled-out backpacker village (also called Olympos) filled with tree-houses sitting amongst flowering trees. Rows of bars and backpacker lodges with more pubs at the front, line the track and river side.
The pubs are filled with cushion laden daybeds and the track is bustling with bikini-clad, board-shorted 20somethings all heading towards the beach, towels in one hand, beers in the other. We find a miniscule patch of free dirt to park the car and join the hoards pilgriming towards the sea.
We drag ourselves away from the fairy-like spectacle and cool quietness and find ourselves on the pebbly beach. It is filled with bodies laying upon its stones, soaking up the rays. There's so many sun-baking bodies upon this part of the Turkish Riviera, it reminds me of images of Christmas day at Bondi – packed to the hilt!
Cirali is adorable. Like Olympos it’s laid back, but there’s a more quieter vibe to it. Olympos is full of the 20something backpacker who’s looking to catch the essence of yesterday’s hippy trail.
More of a ‘flashpacker’ village, Cirali is set amongst stands of orange groves, the ‘tree houses’ are little more refined from the rustic huts of Olympos and the cafes play a more mellower tune.
We book into a sweet little motel in the middle of an orange orchard, creatively called “The Orange Motel” and quickly change into warm clothing and comfortable walking shoes for the hike up Mt Olympos where we will watch the sun set and watch the spectacle of the Chimera begin.
Although we don't find it too taxing, the path is extremely slippery. The marble rock slabs are so worn by time and the thousands who’ve walked it, it’s like being on roller skates... on ice! and any little gravel dust on the marble see us sliding precariously. I’m astounded to see people trekking up in flip-flops and sandals and do my little under-the-breath 'tsk tsk' and shake my head. The path up is only about 1000metres and we reach the flaming rock mound after a half hour or so. It’s spectacular!
Behind us the views are stunning and the valley, beach and sea stretch out in the soft sun setting glow. In front a large grey rock mound is peppered with flaming vents.
Small and large flames lap out; groups of people sit around them. Some roast marshmallows and toast bread, others enjoy a drink as if around a camp fire.
One family is actually ‘rotissering’ a sausage. Just near the path and below the flaming mound sits the temple ruins of Hephaistos, god of blacksmiths, volcanoes and fire. There’s a party atmosphere on the mount, one group has brought music.
We’ve brought beer and packet of BBQ Shapes and so Mal and I find an unoccupied flame vent, pop ourselves down and watch the glowing sunset as music and laughter fills the air. Dusk falls and the mountain comes alive with lapping flames. It’s an amazing sight. When we first arrived it looked like there were only a few flames, but as the cold air hits the mountain, flames begin popping up all over the place.
Darkness descends and we begin the walk back down along with a few others. I barely step onto the path when my foot slips on a smattering of dust on marble and I slip to my bottom. “Whoa, that’s slippery” I say. Next minute another woman just in front of me goes down. Mal helps me up and we gingerly walk down the pathway, torch in hand, trying hard not to step on the marble slabs – which is quite hard, for between the flat marble blocks sit large round stones poking out. A short way down we hear another person fall on the stones and stop to see if they are ok. They are. I keep telling Mal to be careful and not to slip – my main concern, if he gets hurt I can’t drive the car. Firstly, I didn’t end up getting my international licence and secondly, I can’t actually drive a manual car. Behind us an elderly lady is being helped down by her not too much younger friend. Mal offers to help them and as he assists I continue on.
As I take a step down my foot catches the gravel and a very audible, sickening crack is followed by a searing pain shooting up my leg as I feel my ankle do a 90degree bend under my weight.
I go down.
We are still at least 700meters up from the bottom. I can barely stand, let alone walk. The pain is excruciating. Mal reaches me, does the ‘can you move it’ routine for which I nearly knock him out with a reflex action when he touches it, then he offers a solution to the problem –
“I’ll piggy-back you.”
"Don't be so ridiculous!" I cry.
An image of us both tumbling down the mountain flashes across my mind. I continue trying to hobble down. A guide with group coming up sees me and offers to send someone for a stretcher from the village but warns me it’ll take a while. A cold wind is creeping up the mountain and I'm starting to shake. I'm not sure if its from the cold or it's shock, but I don’t want to spend another minute on the mountain. I thank him through tears and keep hobbling. It takes us over an hour to hobble and shuffle to the bottom. The drive back to the village is awful as every bump and turn sends more excruciating stabs into me.
It’s well after 11pm when we finally arrive back at the Orange and seeing my distress, the very concerned owners go for the doctor who just happens to live next door. Dr Ali comes and gently feels my ankle and gives a diagnosis – he’s fairly sure it’s a sprain and not a break. It’s as positive as could be hoped for and the relief is palpable, although Dr Ali tells me “It’ll be crutches and a boot for at least two weeks.”
Karma, she’ll change your plans if you step out of line.
This blog on Turkey originally appeared on my blog site: Tuk-tuks, chicken bouquets and bicycle bells at kerrytolsontravels.com in 2014
Hello! I'm Kerry
. . . a plan-nothing, have no idea where I'm going travelholic.
A daughter of the gypsies and the wife of a workaholic, I'm forever wondering 'What's over there?' and devising ways to squeeze through the barbed-wire fence of small-business ownership responsibilities and every-day life tangles to discover it.
. . .and this is my book