Subject: 2 Weeks in Turkey Part 5, Olympus (long)
Hi Ziners,

Days 11 & 12 of my Turkey trip, 23 & 24 September, Olympus Two days of travelling for a night's outing# Worth it? Absolutely!

On Thursday morning I had to hang around the hotel for a few hours. I was to take the 11 am bus to Olympus. The Bus as it turned out didn't leave till 2 pm# Am I glad that the hotel had a pool.

The bus doesn't actually go to Olympus. It drops you off on the main highway where the road to Olympus turns off. From there it is necessary to take a dolmus. I had read that sometimes it is necessary to wait until there are enough passengers, could be as much as a couple of hours. Having arrived on a later bus I was lucky. Everyone else was waiting, but the 7 dolmuses waiting there all left when my bus arrived with its contingent of some 12 or 13 people. Each dolmus would go to a different set of hotels/hostels/pensions, so it took a couple of minutes to get us all sorted out into the correct vehicle, but then away we went.

A fantastic ride down a steep, narrow and curving road was an exciting experience. About 30 minutes later we pulled into the Turkman Tree House Hostel. Quite a place. Lots of little wooden bungalows, some actually up in trees and a few larger buildings which housed dorms. Supper is dished out as you walk along a line of servers. The internet was very reasonably priced.

At 9 pm the minibus left the hostel for the foot of Mt. Olympus. We were assured that the climb up to the Chimaera was about 20 minutes. Well, maybe for some of the younger athletic types it is#

It is a very tough climb up hundreds of (high!)steps. It took most of us 30-40 minutes to get to the top but the sight of the natural and unexplained flames, which have been burning for thousands of years made it all more than worth the effort. The legends surrounding this phenomenon are numerous. It is said that the flame for the very first Olympics was taken from here. One of the legends claims that the Chimaera is a mythical fire-breathing monster. In legend Bellerophon on his winged horse Pegasus, defeated this terrible monster and imprisoned him here. At the site there are 12 to 15 flames, seen at night are the sight is incomparable. The very idea of flames rising from the earth that cannot be extinguished# Scientifically I read that it is the result of some unknown gas that rises and ignites when it touches the air.

We got back to the hostel after 1 am, so I was glad for a sleep-in that next morning. Breakfast which was served till 11 am (to cater to the night trippers) was sufficient.

A long rest, then at 3 pm a minibus back to the main road and Kas. There I was to get another overnight coach to Cappadocia. The coach left at 8 pm, so I had enough time available for a good supper in Kas, then on to Cappadocia.

Debbie, Israel