Just after 7.30pm our new adventure began as we headed away from Flintstone's cave hotel, towards the bus station in town. We have had a good afternoon mellowing out by the pool. Me and Lisa ventured into town earlier in the day for a bit of dinner and to check out when and where the bus left from. On the way into town we ran into Kenneth, who had returned from the Ozbus, to pick up his passport that he had left behind! Doh! After a chat we made it down to the bus station with time to get in some mints and biscuits for the journey. One of the other buses was leaving as we sat waiting, but it didn’t get far as it immediately drove into a wall after about 3 feet. There was a loud crash and everyone saw a pile of dust rise from the broken wall and broken bus. It couldn’t have been serious though as the driver reversed and then drove off towards his destination. Our bus was a few minutes late, but when it arrived we boarded and took our seats. We chatted a little with a couple who were on their way to Istanbul with their bikes and then after 4 or 5 stops in the first half an hour, the lights were switched off and we tried to get some kip. It wasn’t as comfy as our bus, because we all had to share seats, but I think we all managed a bit of sleep. On the way we stopped a couple of times for breaks, including one stop where we saw the most sinister Motel entrance door. It looked like something from a 50s movie and we wondered if anyone who had ever slept there had ever left. After one stop to drop passengers off there were spare seats so we were able to spread out a little and get some real sleep.
We arrived in Antalya just after 7am and were greeted by a dodgy looking bloke saying 'Olimpos, Olimpos?' , we asked how much a ticket was and were quoted 10 lira. However we needed a toilet first so took it in turns to look after the bags. The first bloke wandered off to be replaced by a second even stranger bloke – 'Olimpos?, Olimpos? Come now – Olimpos?', he said in the deepest voice I have ever heard. It didn’t help that he stared straight into your eyes and stood bolt upright with hands behind his back. He would have been perfectly suited to say – 'Your soul, I want your soul, I swap your soul for a bus to Olimpus!!' -He was a very scar y bloke!!
However, we felt compelled to follow him -Maybe he hypnotised us and now we are all off to hell! He led us through the worst security check ever – Walking through a metal detector, with full backpack, whilst a security guard looked at us, listened to the alarms going off and then just waved us on, before we boarded our small 16 seater minibus to hell – Sorry I meant 'Olimpos – Olimpos? Olimpos? Olimpos!'.
When we left Antalya bus station, it got even weirder – The bus driver drove at no more than 5 mph, for the first ten minutes. We looked at each other wondering what was going on. There was nothing wrong with the minibus and the driver seemed OK, but he just drove us away from the bus station – very very slowly!He kept driving on the main road then onto the adjacent minor road before going back onto the road he had just come off. He did speed up after 10 minutes or so, but as soon as he did, he pulled off the main road, past some goats who were enjoying breakfast in the rubbish and onto a piece of waste land. Awal predicted that this was where we would be killed!!! hahaa!. The driver then pulled up by a small food stall, got off the bus leaving the engine running and sat down with a few other dodgy looking geezers for what must be his breakfast break.
The next hour or so passed by quickly – even though the driver kept dropping off and picking up wired people every couple of miles. I swear he dropped off one bloke, with a mullet and 10 miles later he picked up the same bloke!! This was turning into a really fooking weird trip!
Anyway, a few miles later the bus dropped us off in – 'the middle of fooking nowhere'. - Or so we thought – As soon as we got off the bus in what appeared to be a dusty car park in the middle of nowhere – guess what – another dodgy bloke appeared – This one though wasn’t as dodgy as Beelzebub who we met in Antalya. He lobbed our bags into the back of a 15 seater minibus and us and the other 18 passengers (Yep – 19 passengers in a 15 seater bus!) headed off down the side of a hill on a dirt track towards what we thought was the town of Olimpos!
After 10 or 15 mins though we realised that Olimpos isn’t a town – Its a series of shacks, tree-houses, sheds, and any other kind of wooden building built alongside a dried up river in a spectacular wooded valley – We were dropped off at Bayram hostel and shown our home for the night – A tree-house – Actually a large garden shed in the woods, with air con and 4 beds!! You even have to climb through the branches of a lime tree to get in the door! Its ace!
We settled in and had a free breakfast – omelettes and fresh fruit, cheese etc. Then decided to head to the beach, 500 metres down the valley. Lisa went to drop off the washing and then lost our room key, but it didn’t matter as we were simply given another key!
It was then down to the beach.
The beach is gorgeous – small pebbles rather than sand and a crescent shaped bay. The sea is the clearest and warmest I have ever seen. We spent a couple of hours down there swimming and sunbathing and we knew we had picked a good spot when a local dog joined us in the shade under a rock. We named it Chester, until we realised it was a female dog, so quickly renamed it Chelsea – We didn’t want to confuse it!! Anyway, by 1pm ish we were all getting a bit tired after the long night on the bus's so headed back to the tree-house for a rest. We stopped along the way to look at the Roman ruins that are spattered throughout the valley. When we got back we managed to borrow a couple of towels when the washer woman wasn’t washing and had a shower to freshen up. Then Awal had a rest while me and Lisa went down to the bar to mellow out. Yet again, I shit you not, it has been a great day!! haahaa! If you are reading this, look around you – what do you see? I’m in an open air hut surrounded Turkish cushions, music playing in the background and a drink on the table. There are stunning 200foot cliffs across the road and dry river and its about 35deg Celsius I suppose you could say I’m content!!
Photos to follow soon!