A Travellerspoint blog

Flaming Mountains and Smiling Turks

sunny 31 °C

Everywhere we go in the world we encounter friendly people, but the ones we usually meet are those who have a vested interest in pleasing us. The hoteliers, waiters, taxi drivers and tacky souvenir touts all depend on us tourists for their livelihood so it pays them to smile. But readers of James' novels may remember that when his ace detective, David Bliss, visited Turkey in The Fish Kisser he was constantly warned that there was nothing more dangerous than a smiling Turk. So we decided to put this stereotype to the test with the help of a couple of smiling Turks.This is Zafer and Yildiz - authentically Turkish and genuinely smiling.
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But were they dangerous? Not in the least - other than Yildiz's fabulous meals that seriously threatened our already expanded waistlines...
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Thanks to their daughter, Ebru, who is a close friend and colleague of James' eldest daughter, we were given a royal welcome in their home near Alanya and can now say authoritatively that Turks are as warm and innocuous as their smiles suggest. Also warm and very welcoming is the eastern Mediterranean. While daytime highs have consistently topped out at a pleasant 30c under a cloudless sky for the past two weeks, the nights have been relatively chilly. But the translucent turquoise sea remains a balmy 28 degrees day and night and is like a tepid bath when we take our early morning swim each morning - once we have fought our way through the throngs on the beach here in Cirali...
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But the sea is not the only warm thing here. In Cirali, near the ruined city of Olympos, we climbed for seemingly hours up a rugged track in the moonlight high into the foothills of Mt. Olympos where the ancients believed that the gods made fire from the rocks. "Stuff and nonsense," we said, until we arrived, exhausted, and found roaring flames, two or three feet high, lighting up the rock face around us.
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These are the famous 'Chimaera' or chimneys of gasses that spontaneously combust and cannot be extinquished. They have burned for several thousand years and the Romans and others built temples around them in order that they could worship Vulcan, the god of fire. Today, people bring sausages, kebabs and marshmallows to barbecue over the flames - a different kind of worship altogether...
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We are now making our way westward along the rugged turquoise coast of Turkey that was once the home of the Lycians - a civilization that pre-dated the Persians and the Byzantians in the 12th century BC. We will be visiting the tombs and other monuments created by these people as well as marveling at the fantastic vistas along the way...
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Posted by Hawkson 07:37 Archived in Turkey

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Comments

This looks like a little bit of heaven. Have a happy thanksgiving.

by Janet

Looks like a beautiful spot for an early polar bear swim

by catherine

Flaming mountains & smiling Turks sound good to me but i might be biased!

by Ebru

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