Fethiye & Olympos

After anoth­er enter­tain­ing­ly per­fumed bus ride, we arrived in the port town of Fethiye to begin one of the most shame­ful­ly self-indul­gent weeks of my already self-indul­gent life. For it was here that we board­ed a yacht for a 4 day “blue cruise” around the Mediter­ranean coast of Turkey.

Where do I begin? Per­haps with long swims in starlight blue waters in seclud­ed coves and beach­es? Snorkelling with rain­bow coloured fish, or vis­its to aban­doned pirate caves and sunken cities? Mar­ket shop­ping in Kas for the fruit to pow­er san­gria soaked nights? Drink­ing beer and singing to a Turk­ish gui­tar beneath con­stel­la­tions only exposed to sight by our dis­tance from the light of cities? Cap­tain Has­san and crew help­ing me scratch up on my Turk­ish, and teach­ing the more res­pi­ra­to­ri­ly self-loathing amongst my ship­mates to suck on the narghile, whose seduc­tive tobac­coes made pas­sive smok­ing more than tolerable?

Oth­er high­lights are too numer­ous to men­tion, although being assault­ed by a shark in waters alleged­ly devoid of them would rate high­ly. Okay, so it was no big­ger than a baby’s leg, but the beast tried to ram my float­ing-bed! The friends we made would plea­sur­ably linger in our com­pa­ny for the days after we depart­ed the boat for Olym­pos, with promis­es to catch up sealed by end­less bump­ings-into in Olym­pos and lat­er even in Cap­podocia. The sim­ple fact is, the 4 days spent aboard “Alatur­ka” were equal to the eas­i­est spent of my life, and I can under­stand why so many peo­ple who take that ride end up vol­un­teer­ing to stay aboard to work. Bliss.

Know­ing only too well how dan­ger­ous it is to mix work and plea­sure, we opt­ed for more plea­sure, spend­ing our next three nights in the back­pack­ing par­adise that is Olym­pos. Along a beach of sub­lime wel­come, Olym­pos is sur­round­ed by over­grown Greek ruins and seem­ing­ly bound­less for­est, snow-capped moun­tains fram­ing the hori­zon, even in late spring. The wealthy pack­age tourists large­ly absent, guests there stay, not in any ordi­nary accom­mo­da­tion, but rather in the tree hous­es that com­prise Olym­pos village.

After hap­py days on Olym­pos beach, and nights with friends from the yacht, plus a won­der­ful night hike to the moun­tain top Chi­maera – a nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring eter­nal flame – it was time to depart par­adise for the stars.