Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Adrasan - Olympos

The Lycian Way day 24.
Distance: 16.0km (386.8km), time spent: 6:53 (148:46).
Altitude (start / end / highest): 21m / 14m / 762mo.
Weather: Clear, some clouds.

Today the trail passes over Moses Mountain (Musa Dağı); it does however not cross over the summit itself. Anyway, I do expect some views over the landscape on the walk and foremost be able to see Mount Olympos (Tahtalı Dağı) in my own eyes. As in opposition to yesterday, today I will not get any headaches when I arrive in Olympos (the ruins, not the aforementioned mountain). I have already decided upon spending the night in one of the tree houses (houses built up in the trees, not only of trees) there, instead of walking to Çıralı (after Çıralı there is a great deal of walking before the next place with accommodation, Beycik).

After Adrasan, the Lycian Way moves in the shadow of Musa Dağı.

Perhaps I should have taken a closer look at the map yesterday, with so much time at hand; I maybe should have taken the walk up to Kız kalesi. Out of Adrasan, I pass by a signpost advertising the walk up to the ruins. Today, there will be enough of ruins, so I leave these abandoned for now. It is only for a short while that you walk on level grounds, with Musa Dağı towering next to you, before the path takes a steeper turn. You get the feeling of walking through a gate to the mountain when the trail passes through a tunnel made of huge boulders.

After walking through a natural tunnel between boulders.

Upwards into the Moses Mountain, the trail goes through the shady and partially narrow valley of Akçabelen Dere. Shortly after having started the climb up into the valley, I arrive at a kösk. It is a nice place to camp, but now only a break is what I am looking for; I sweat like a pig even though it is not as hot as before. It does help going under the shady trees either. I walk bemused past the wild strawberry trees that for long has shed their bark, the trunks of the trees reminds me of skin.

A kösk (platform with places to sit) at the entrance to the Akçabelen-valley, a nice place for a camp.

Up at the pass between Bakacak Tepe and Eren Tepe (yet another Eren Tepe, this one the highest point of the Moses Mountain at 983m), a grassy clearing makes way for a view over the landscape. There are more clouds on the sky now; they were slowly coming in over the mountain on my way up, in the horizon is Tahtalı Dağı wrapped in them. The trail from here is open and nice.

At the end of the Akçabelen-valley up towards the pass between Bakacak Tepe and Eren Tepe, I walk past several wild strawberry trees.

In a previous shepherd's hut, the owner of Aşik Pansiyon sells highly overpriced refreshments and hot gözlemes (pancakes). I pay 7.3 Turkish Lira for a sprite (and wonders long about the 0.3 Liras). So, despite that I have not seen any other walkers so far until now (two left the hut just before I came), this must be a popular hike for walkers. I meet more day trippers shortly after leaving the place.

View in the direction of Tahtalı Dağı (wrapped in clouds) on the trail after the pass between Bakacak Tepe and Eren Tepe.

The ruins of Upper Olympos / Phoenikus lies on a hilltop above the trail. These ruins are as Apollonia about to be reconquered by the nature and there are little left that reminds of an eventual earlier golden age here now. In addition, there must have been a forest fire here earlier, in the middle of the remains of walls, buildings, agoras and temples there are small charred tree trunks. To walk here in the dark could also be a little bit scary. Not because the place is haunted, but in the middle of the ruins there are remains of four huge cisterns and there are no safety around them. They lie as open gaping wounds in the ground, if you fall down into one you are in big trouble.

In the ruins of Phoenikus, hole in the ground where there has been a huge cistern. It is easily done falling down into one of these if you walk here in the dark.

From Phoenikus, the walk is heading downwards again, deep into the forest. It is also beneath the embrace of the forest, trees and leaves that I have lunch. The silence only broken by two German hikers walking a small part of Likya Yolu, but their voices are disappearing as all others as well. The trail descends through areas of fallen trees, as well as past more charred trees after a forest fire. Tunnels of vegetation.

The Lycian Way throws you straight out into the middle of the ruins of Olympos. First, you can see the remains of the buildings through the trees, then graves emerges alongside the path, small windows opening up. And then you walk between buildings marked by the embrace of time. To get into the area, you otherwise have to pay an entrance fee, but if you are willing to hike for some hours, you do not need to.

Ruins of a church in Olympos.

Olympos is by far the most impressive ruins I have seen on my walk so far. The ruins are spread out across a large area and buildings are found in both inaccessible and easy accessible places. Small overgrown paths leads you to remains of the past. Some paths also just leads you to a fence blocking the way further towards the beach. I walk beneath a stone arch and come to the overgrown remains of an amphitheatre. Out in the river stands the remains of a bridge, now you cross the river on a small and not so impressive wooden plank.

Mozaikli Yapı, buildings with mosaics.

The path to the beach goes through the ruins, so there is an abundance of people here, many just walks straight through it to go swimming. Small irrigation ducts leads into the ruins on the north side, to more tombs and buildings, in a slightly hidden building are there remains of mosaic on the floor (Mozaikli Yapı). Seeing every part of Olympos will take some time, not to speak of finding everything. The ruins keeps me occupied for a long time, before I rest my feet in a small café.

Olympos. Another church ruin.

Outside the ruins, I begin to look for a place to stay, my criteria is that it should be a tree house. Something that should be easy to find, since most places here offer either accommodation in small wooden cabins or cabins in the trees (slightly exaggerated of course). I can do nothing but laugh when Melike turns up on the road. It is a nice strike of luck though, she has a cabin at Kadir's Tree Houses and the place is just what I am looking for.

For 60 Turkish Lira I get a room in second floor of one of the tree houses, given the name Vegemite House, with the price including dinner and breakfast. In a large building, there are places to eat and a kitchen below and a huge bar in second floor. Outsider there is an open fireplace with benches and platforms around that you can relax in. In the middle of the area, there is a tree with a single cabin in the top, for women only (Prenses Kösk). It is probably quite lively here during the peak season. Now there are some guests here, with a quiet and peaceful atmosphere.

The Princess Cabin in Kadir's Tree Houses.

Melike tells me that she came to Andriake the same day as I left the camping place. She skipped the mountain section between Demre and Finike. Instead, she travelled directly to Karaöz and has walked from there. Yesterday she was surprised by the thunder up in the mountain I walked over today. In Kadir's Tree Houses, I also finally meet the mysterious Chris. A German hiker that I for long has heard of, but never met. We talk for a long time about our experiences on the trail, I learn he carried 9 kilos of water across the mountain (Demre to Finike), but he has now grown tired and will leave the trail after visiting the flames of Chimaera.

Not the longest walk today as well, but the visit of Olympos more than made up for it. This is as well probably the best accommodation I have been to since Özlen's Pansiyon in Pydnai.

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