Travels / Turkey

Turkey: Çiralı to Cappadocia

We only had one full day in Çiralı, and only two plans for it: 1) Spend the whole day at the beach; 2) See the flames of the chimaera in the evening.

Çiralı’s sister village of Olympos is more famous for international travellers as backpackers are attracted to its treehouse hostels. I was not terribly impressed by the reviews I read about the hostels though, and Çiralı is closer to the flames of the chimaera, one of our primary reasons for visiting.

We did indeed spend most of the day on the beach. There are deck chairs laid out underneath umbrellas along the beach, owned by the cafes I suspect to encourage you to buy something from them. The sky was clear and the sun quite warm, although the sea was still just a tad cool for us to go swimming.

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We had pides for lunch at one of the seaside cafes before going back out and lazing around on the beach a bit longer. When it began to get a bit cooler we explored some of the shops along the main street of the village on our way back to the hotel.

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That evening our hotel provided a transfer to the base of the walk up to the flames of the chimaera. These are flames which burn natural gas seeping out of the rocks. You can try extinguishing them but they re-ignite! It costs about 5 lira to walk up and you have an hour. It’s a bit steep going up in some spots but it’s not a very long walk, about a kilometre.

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There were some weird hippy groups doing dances and stuff around some of the fires but eventually some of them moved on. There was one group that had obviously been there for a while and didn’t look like leaving any time soon when we had to head back, so obviously the hour time limit isn’t very strictly enforced.

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We bought marshmallows in the village that day because Andre wanted to toast them over the fires. Aside from the fact they are not as good as Pascal’s marshmallows they turned out pretty well!

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Andre toasting marshmallows

The next morning we were picked up by a transfer we arranged the previous day and taken to Antalya, about an hour and a half from Çiralı. In Antalya we caught a bus I’d booked before leaving home for the long drive to Göreme in Cappadocia (‘Kapadokya’ in Turkish). Most people do this bus trip overnight, but as we’d been to see the flames of the chimaera last night, and had an early morning hot air balloon flight the morning after we arrived in Göreme, an overnight bus wasn’t really an option. I thought about flying but there were no direct flights the day we were travelling – they all went via Istanbul and were a lot more expensive than the bus and would have got us to Göreme later than the bus did anyway.

The bus ride was better than our last one! More comfortable seats and the airconditioning worked. It was a long trip (9 hours) but we both managed to get a bit of sleep. None of the movies on the entertainment consoles were in English though (even the American films that had been dubbed in Turkish didn’t have English subtitles). We arrived in Göreme a little after 7pm, and the information kiosk called our hotel for someone to come and collect us for free!

We stayed in the Turquaz Cave Hotel which was pretty cool. I had specifically booked a cave room (most ‘cave hotels’ have a mixture of rooms which are in caves and not in caves) but when our hostess showed us the two rooms available we ended up picking the arch room (not the cave room) as it had a better view of Cappadocia’s spectacular scenery.

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