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Fethiye and Olympos

TURKEY | Tuesday, 1 November 2011 | Views [481]

In Fethiye we decided to do the twelve island boat trip.  Having discovered that it is always better to shop around in Turkey we headed off down to the wharf and checked out the boats.  All the boats do pretty much the same itinerary so it all comes down to how nice the boat is and how much it costs.  We settled on a mid size, mid cost, pretty nice looking boat that didn’t play annoying music.  We spent the next day cruising round the bay stopping at a few islands and going for swims. Very relaxing.  Some of the other larger “party” boats had waterslides running from the top deck down through the boat and exiting just above the water line on the side of the boat.  So a few people from our boat, not wanting to miss out on the fun, snuck across to the other boats and tried it out.  That night we headed up the hill to check out the lycian rock tombs in the cliffs overlooking the town.  By the time we got there the person collecting the entry fee had already left for the day...so we got to go in for free and almost had the place to ourselves.  We stumbled upon a good restaurant across the road from the tombs, away from the main tourist drag the food was a lot better than the meal we had the previous evening. I ordered a mojito and to my delight it came out complete with sparklers and cocktail umbrellas. 

The next we headed off on a day trip to Butterfly Valley.  Our original plan was to take a dolmus (minivan-bus) to the head of the valley and walk down a track into the valley.  The tourist office lady in Fethiye had told us the track was steep and dangerous and we would meet certain death if we took it –sounded like a challenge. However the dolmus gods weren’t in our favour and we discovered that the dolmus that we planned to take wasn’t running.  Plan B was to take a dolmus to Oludeniz and then catch the water taxi to the valley.  Oludeniz and surrounding towns are the destination of choice for british package holiday tourists.  We saw numerous English pubs advertising full English breakfasts etc.  I think we were both glad to be staying in Fethiye and avoiding it all. Butterfly valley is really scenic, with a beautiful beach and a small waterfall.  It only has rustic treehut/campground accommodation and the whole place is very laid back....except for 2 hours of the day when the tour boats come in. There are plenty of butterflies there at certain times of the year...but not when we were there.  We walked up to the end of the valley and checked out the waterfall.  We were looking for the track out of the valley (the one we’d planned to walk down), there did seem to be a bit of a track at the waterfall but it looked pretty dodgy. (maybe the lady was right) Ignoring the death and danger signs Chris had a go climbing waterfall and checking it out...and getting very wet in the process.  After deciding that this wasn’t “the track” we headed back down to the beach, on the way we noticed a track heading up the side of the valley.  Chris decided to check it out, walking all the way out and then back down into the valley....in the heat of the day (the track was fine, steep but not dangerous). Meanwhile,  I took the easy option and found a shady spot and had a wee sleep. 

The days sightseeing wasn’t over yet, we caught the water taxi back, two more dolmuses and got to Kayakoy.  Kayakoy is an abandoned town.  After the first world war the Greek and Turkish governments did a population swap with Greek orthodox inhabitants of Turkey sent to Greece and the Muslim population of Greece sent to Turkey.  More people went to Greece than to Turkey resulting in several ghosts towns left today.  Yet again we had turned up too late to pay the entrance fee, but we got to explore the town as the sun went down.  Deciding that restaurants at the main entrance to the ghost town were a bit of a tourist trap...overpriced and not great food, we had a look around for something else to eat.  We ended up finding a restaurant run by a Moroccan couple serving both Moroccan and Turkish food.  We really like Moroccan food and it was great to have change from Turkish, so we both went for Moroccan tangines which were very tasty.  The owner also brought out a plate of Turkish meze (salads and dips) for us to nibble on...free of charge.  Dinner was entertaining with the owners’ kitten and puppy play fighting all around our table and under our chairs. 

From Fethiye we headed to Olympos.  Olympos was described in our guidebook as being a sleeply little town, with tree-house style backpackers and not much else.  It seems that a lot has changed in the past few years as it is pretty busy and touristy.  We discovered that we’d arrived in the peak of the Turkish holiday period, the beach was packed, so many cars everywhere along the road...and it was insanely hot.  We’d made a booking online thinking we’d chosen a basic cabin with air conditioning...when we got there we discovered that it was a very basic treehouse with no windows, just a basic wooden shack with holes in the walls.  We quickly upgraded, not caring about the cost, to an air conditioned ensuite room.  There was no way we were going to be able to sleep in that heat and I didn’t want to be eaten alive by mosquitoes.  The backpackers was really nice, lots of little cabins and treehouses tucked away in their massive garden.  Breakfast and dinner was included in the price and the food was fantastic. They used a lot of their homegrown fruit and veges in the meals. 

As it was so hot we decided to check out the beach.  We knew we had to pay an entrance fee as there are historic ruins on the way but were annoyed to discover that we couldn’t buy a day or multi day pass as each ticket is for one entry only...and not that cheap.  The beach was packed with holiday makers and not that great to swim at with lots of boulders and sharp rocks (upon which I cut my foot).  The ruins are nice but as we were not very organised we forgot to take the camera. 

By this point we were pretty sick of the crowds and the heat, but as we’d already booked our Cappadoccia accommodation we decided it would be a bit difficult to change it all.  Instead we spent the next day “canyoning”.  It wasn’t really canyoning as we know it..more like a wander down a river, something that we’d do back home in NZ and never think about doing a guided trip for.  But the water was nice and cool so that was good.  They got us to leave our spare clothes at the bottom of the valley so all the guys just walked up in their shorts.  Chris forgot to put sunscreen on so spent the afternoon worrying that he’d get sunburnt.  He ended up slapping on some river mud whenever he got a chance as a temporary sunscreen. That night we checked out the Chimaera, natural flames (burning methane gas escaping from the rocks) occurring on a hillside near Olympos.  The flames have been burning for at a least a couple of thousand years.  They used to be a lot more impressive than they are now, ancient mariners used them to navigate.  To be honest we were a little bit disappointed, the flames were ok, but there were far too many people around.

Our final day was spent lazing around in the shade (it was even hotter) then caught the night bus to Cappadoccia.

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