Turkey — Day Fourteen — Cirali

Sunday, October 21

Steve was up and gone for sunrise Sunday morning early. Again, hypothetical for me. Apparently the sky was threatening, and that I believe because he returned just before the heavens opened and buckets and buckets of rain descended on Cirali.

Fortunately, Cirali is just as beautiful in the rain, if not more so… the hill behind the hotel became a darker, deeper green, shrouded in mist and shadowed by the greyness of the sky. We splashed out onto the rivers running down the tile pathways, which were slippery in flipflops. Fortunately it was still warm, or at least not too cold, and breakfast was delicious… again!

We spent the morning stuffed like sausages, watching the weather and reading trashy novels. It was great, though our laundrey was obviously not going to dry.

As if I could actually be any more relaxed, I set off into the light drizzle for my 11am massage. The rain was light enough to be refreshing and not wet enough to be actual rain for a West Coaster. Steve and I had agreed to meet at the little glass shop at noon after the massage so that we could find somewhere for lunch.

I was greeted at the entry to the garden by the bridge by a handsome young man in a white teeshirt and red thai pants. He was very striking in the vivid greens of the garden. The room I was led to was warm and airy, with pale walls and curtains on the windows. It smelled lovely and I was releived to see a normal massage table with sheets and blankets. I was directed to hooks on the walls to hang my clothes on and managed to get under the sheet just before he came in. I kept my undies on, though frankly, everything was very professional.

There was even Loreena McKennit playing on the stereo — how Canadian! And relaxing!

I had selected a full body massage for some 40L which was supposed to take an hour. It was lovely. The oils were warm and scented and the masseuse had a nice touch. I wasn’t entirely surprised when I was asked to turn over… now I don’t want to be alarming — he was very professional — but I certainly wasn’t covered when he massaged my stomach and ribcage. It was a little disconcerting at first, but I was relaxed and warm and in no danger of any impropriety.

Just be warned, if you’re not by nature a comfortable person — when they say full body massage, they mean FULL body massage.

When I emerged from the little room, it was raining harder, so I hurried over to the glass shop. After waiting for a few minutes, watching the rain bucket down, I popped next door to the grocery store to see if I could use the washroom. I wasn’t making much headway until a little contingent from the Canada Hotel showed up: our kindly but silent waiter and several of the woemn who worked there. They made my request more clear and I was shown to a tiny, spotless bathroom at the back of the store. There were bunkbeds in a back storeroom: another example of public vs. private space in every business we saw in Turkey.

I bought a few toiletries and whipped back over to the glass shop where — the power went out. I stood waiting for Steve, watching the road turn into a river and people leapt from car to shop and back to car, soaking to the skin within seconds. The man in the glass shop courteously brought me a chair, but I couldn’t quite sit in it as I was too busy looking for Steve and trembling to the thunder and lightening that shook the little town of Cirali.

According to Steve, he set out at 10 minutes to noon to meet me just as the sky opened up to thunder and biblical rain. He checked by the massage place but was told I had left, then went to the glass shop where… I wasn’t.

He must have come by just as I was in the washroom and, not finding me, returned soaked and miserable back to the hotel. When Saban saw his bedraggled state and heard his pitiful “I’ve lost my wife”, our kindly host offered to come find me. The staff had returned to the hotel by this time and told Saban the whereabouts of my last sighting.

All I knew was that through the curtain of rain, I saw Saban leap from his car to the shop next door, getting slightly soaked in the process. I didn’t know he was there for me; I just saw a saviour in a sedan who could drive me back to the hotel. I leapt myself, the few steps to next door, getting soaked myself. I quickly asked if I could get a ride back, and when Saban told me he was there for me, I was just delighted. The Canada Hotel is a wonderful place to stay!

Dashing from the car to the hotel common room, I became wetter, but Steve was the wettest. I gave him a huge hug, soaked as he was, as he told me his pathetic tale. Awww, poor wet husband!

We cuddled under covers and read books, listening to the rain and thunder. The hotel had a generator, so the power wasn’t a problem. It cleared a little in the afternoon and Steve took a walk down the beach on the other end from the ruins of Olympos, but he couldn’t get around the cliffs. I opted to stay in bed, warm and sleepy, and more than a little cough-y.

After another delicious, huge dinner, we decided it was now or never to see the famous Chimera. There are flaming gas jets on the slopes of Olympos which led to the legends of the Chimera, a creature reported as part goat, part lion and part serpent, which the Greek hero Bellerophon killed from the back of the winged horse, Pegasus. The Chimaera breathed fire, and it is this fire which burns on the slopes of Olympos.

Saban offered us our waiter to drive us in a large rattling van. At the bottom of the path that led up the hill, we shouldn’t have been surprised to see a ticket booth. We were surprised, though, and even more surprised to realize we hadn’t brought any money! After frantically searching our pockets, our kindly driver took pity on us and hauled a 5L note out of his wallet. We thanked him profusely, and taking our hotel-supplied flashlights and our brought-from-home-headlamp, we walked up the stone-lined pathway to the Chimera.

It took less time than suspected to get up, though it wasn’t unsteep, and our first glimpes of flames through the trees were very exciting. There were a few other people at the site when we arrived at the top, but they spoke German at each other, looked at some ruins, and left pretty much right away.

We investigated the gas jets, which were really cool. There was a slight smell of methane and you could hear a hissing sound, much like that of a gas stove or fireplace. Some flames were large, like bonfires, and others were no more than a thin blue stream. On some the mix was bad, with orange smokey flames, and others were pure blue.

Apparently they used to be so extensive that they were clearly visible from the sea, and actually formed the picture of the creature of the myths. Even reduced, they were very impressive.

The fires created shadows on the trees and broken ruins around the Chimera and small sounds emerged from the trees. It wa a little spooky. Ok, I found it spooky, and was in a hurry to leave by the time Steve was done taking photographs. At the top of the path, as we were leaving, we had to pass under a tunnel of dense forest where the branches met over our heads. It was exceptionally dark walking into that tunnel and I practically bolted through it. Steve was intensely entertained, and I was distinctly not. More people came up while we were heading down, which made things a little less eerie.

Back at the bottom, we collected our driver, who had been having a nice chat and smoke with the gatekeeper. It was so interesting to drive back through Cirali. As a tourist, we would never have guessed the full extent of the town that stretched much further past the bridge and little built-up area. There were groves, and a mosque, and lots of houses that stretched over the flat area between the mountain and the sea. It would have been a fascinating place to explore — too bad we were leaving tomorrow!

Back at the hotel, in the warm and scented night, we considered staying more time in Cirali, but we had been four days already and four nights, and we wanted to see the Tuesday market in Fethiye. I also, by this time, wanted to find a place that sold cough syrup.

Hoping for dry laundry by morning, we went to bed sad to leave Cirali.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *