Hi guys! Just to reassure you in regards to our April Fool’s joke (hee,hee) we are actually safe and sound in Italy. We are hanging out in my old stomping ground of Lanciano where I went to high school at the Canadian College of Italy (CCI). Chris and I are both working on photos to show this lovely place to you, but for now here are some photos from back in Olympos in Turkey. Enjoy. –Laura–
First of all, I want to reassure everyone that we were well away from the zone of last night’s earthquake. We didn’t feel so much as a tremor, although when I stomp up the steps of our rickety wooden treehouse after the types of huge and delicious dinners we get here, it can feel like a 1.0 on the Richter Scale.
Also, after the generous advice of our new friend Brenda here in Olympos, we set up a profile this morning on Couchsurfing.org, a world-wide online community for hosting travelers. The idea is brilliantly simple: travelers get beds and local insights, and hosts get to entertain house guests from new and interesting cultures.
There are thousands of users around the world willing to open their spare bedrooms and couches up to strangers based on their online profile and a simple, effective rating and referral system. Users create an online account and load it with info about themselves. They network online with other users, and through the referral system (similar to Facebook friends), hosts and couchsurfers can rate and evaluate each other.
I was going to blog about our hike in Dilek National Park, but I think I’ll work on that and publish it tomorrow. In the meantime, here are a few pretty pictures from Olympos.
Chris and I are in Olympos. Yesterday, it took us 5.5 hours to get here by bus.
The hotels here are called tree houses because of their style of buildings. The entire area has a very relaxed, almost Caribbean feel. Little roofed wooden platforms line the river. In the high season they are all covered in rugs and cushions, but since it’s the slow season only two are equiped at our pension. I am sitting on one right now. A light breeze slowly moves my hair. The sun beams strongly on my white Canadian skin. The rhythmic, continuous flow of the river is peaceful. There are a few hammocks in the main courtyard. It didn’t take Chris too long to find them.
For 50 Turkish Lira (around $38.00) Chris and I get our own little “tree house” which is a wooden shack on stilts with a mattress, sheets, 2 pillows and 3 blankets. The bathrooms are communal. Included in the price is breakfast and dinner! Last night dinner was probably more food than we usually eat in two nights. It started with a lentil soup, followed by two different types of salads, and for the main course a heaping plate of couscous, and a chicken vegetable dish.
Upon arriving last night we were surprised and happy to run into a couple we met during our tour of the Gallipoli Battlefields almost two weeks ago. They are a lovely and friendly Australian couple who are currently ten days into a hike known as the Lycian Way. The hike is about 500 kilometers long, but it is not necessary to do the entire hike. Lots of people just do part of it as a day hike. During the hike there are some places to stay to take a break and to restock the food supply. That’s how we met them here. It’s one of their breaks.
I was excited to come back here where there is a mountain that burns fire, otherwise known as Chimaera. I saw the mountain 11 years ago when I came with my parents and two friends, Lindsay and Casey, but was excited to see it with my best friend/husband.
Just after arriving last night, we walked 1.5 hours one-way (3 hours total) with 4 other tourists, including Ben and Pen, up Mt. Etna — the mountain with the Chimaera flames. It was a lovely evening to be in such a mystical place with fire spewing from the mountain, the full moon and the ocean in the background. In another post we’ll put some photos and video clips of the fire on the mountain. Find out what happened when Chris dumped a litre of water on the eternal flame...