Thursday, May 27, 2010
Climbing in Olympos
Due to Youth and Sports Day, we had a 4 1/2 day holiday, so Tim, Erin, Uriah, Leyla and I drove down to Olympos to beachbathe and climb.
We drove through Afyonkarahisar (translation: Poppy Black Castle), Turkey's leading town for producing legal opiates (Turkey's rumored to be one of the leading countries of legal opiate production). Along the highway were fields and fields of white poppies in bloom.
We stayed in bungalows at Bayram's treehouses, a super chill place for hanging out on çardaklar, raised wooden platforms littered with pillows for lounging while drinking tea.
And right across the street, there was climbing. We took our friends, Uriah and Leyla, first-time climbing.
That evening, we hiked 1km up a hill in a neighboring valley to see the eternal flames of chimaera. In Greek mythology, the Chimaera was a fire-breathing creature of Lycia in Asia Minor (the Lycian Way goes right through Olympos), composed of the parts of multiple animals: the body of a lioness with a tail that ends in a snake's head, and the head of a goat. The earliest literary reference to the Chimaera is in Homer's Iliad: "a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire." Sighting the Chimera was an omen of storms, shipwrecks, and natural disasters (particularly volcanoes). In the myth, the Chimera was defeated by Bellerophon, with the help of Pegasus. Since Pegasus could fly, Bellerophon shot the Chimera from the air, safe from her heads and breath. He attached to his spear a lump of lead that melted when exposed to the her fiery breath but still killed her. The myth supposedly took place on this hillside we visited: an area of permanent gas vents called Yanartaş (flaming rock) in Turkish, consisting of two dozen vents in the ground, which emit burning methane thought to be of metamorphic origin. In ancient times, these were landmarks by which sailors could navigate. (Thanks, wikipedia- the English translations in Olympos were spotty!)
The site was really cool! To see flames coming up out of the earth all along a hillside, the crackling sounds, the warm night!
The next day, we climbed in the valley across the street:
We tried to sunbathe on the beach a few times, and each time a massive cloudfront moved in. The water was only warm enough for this Montana-blooded girl on one of the days. Chilly in Olympos! Thank God we have this other hobby! Last day of climbing!