Cindy was a bit burned out from the 6 hour hike the day before so she took a dolmus (mini-bus) and I rented a bike and we met up at the fairy chimneys (featured in the pic in the last post and partly visible behind us) on the way to Urgup. It turned out the town was still a couple of kilometers from the chimneys. As luck would have it, some locals were there taking pics, too, and offered her a ride to town.
Urgup is a bustling, sprawling tourist town much larger than Goreme. Actually, I would call it a small city. We enjoyed our visit and were glad we were staying in our quiet, peaceful hamlet. We ate lunch in Urgup and shortly thereafter it started to pour. I waited a while for the rain to ease and then headed back in a drizzle. Cindy took a dolmus but this time passed me on the road. I got back to town with dirt stripes on the back of my shirt and shorts. Of course, the sun came out just after I returned the bike. Doh! It was a 20km ride (10k up/10k down) and oddly my lats feel sore 2 days later. Perhaps it was a combination of big hills and no cleats to help get up them. It’s been tough staying in shape on the road.
We stayed one extra day and left Goreme last night taking the overnight bus to Olympos. Cindy fared much better than me as she was able to sleep–and quite soundly, even through one of the two stops the bus made! The buses are run very well here; we arrived in the big city of Antalya and immediately caught a connecting dolmus (pron. Dole-mush) to Olympos, and a second dolmus right to Saban Cabins where we’re staying the night. We are set deep into a valley surrounded by craggy mountain tops over a high pine forest mountain range. We drove off the main road and descended so far into the valley I was somewhat surprised to find out we’re only a 10-15 minute walk to the beach. It is reminiscent of two Greek islands we’d been to, Lesvos 9 years ago, and Rhodes 29 years ago on our belated honeymoon. Both islands are extremely close to the Turkish coast and we played with the idea of taking a high-speed ferry and going to Rhodes for a day of nostalgia. I doubt we will, though, as tickets are 95 Euro each, and we’re about to splurge on a 4 day/3 night cruise from Olympus to Fethiye.
As we’re working our way towards Istanbul the protests and our safety is on our minds. We raised some eyebrows when we told everyone we were starting our trip in Egypt. Our eyebrows were raised, too, as we were well aware of the problems there. So we researched all we could by checking the news and State Department updates, reading blogs of people who were there during the revolution two years ago, and continuing to watch the latest developments until it was time to ‘pull the plug’ and decide whether or not to go. In the final analysis, it came down to not being in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Our new friend, Jim, had crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon 30 minutes before the explosion). Of course, not too far into our journey in Egypt we caught news of riots in Istanbul so once again, we’re watching the news and looking for alerts from the State Department.