There is this small village in Turkey called Olympus. Up the hill from the village of Olympus is a hill with burning rock – where methane slowly seeps out from underground and burns at the surface. The hill is called Caldiera.
Naturally, in our open touristic state of mind – we put 1+1 together and conclude that this must be the home of the Olympic flame – which is a great story. The site posts a billboard telling the story of a race run from the hill to the sea with flaming torches – signed by the Santa Claus Society. Our hosts remain tactfully quiet, which provokes comments from me about the Greeks, who probably made up some lame story to claim that they own the flame.
According to the internet, the modern Olympic flame is lit from the sun at the temple of Olympus at the Acropolis to symbolize purity.
I still like the story of the burning hill…
PS There were also ruins of a Byzantine church – with the remains of friezes – at the site. Free to touch. Cool. Old. Very old.
On Tuesday night we hiked up an old road – built for trading olive oil by the Lycians and improved by the Romans. There are still olive trees on the hills. At the top of the road, we found a nomad’s tea shop, a Roman temple, city hall, and cistern. The temple was built with marble from at least 200km away and the latin inscriptions are still clear. Right next to the Roman temple stood a Byzantine church. Over the hill sits another cistern from the Ottoman era, still in use. We were welcome by a goatherder and his wife, formally fed tea made from the sage bush in their yard, and invited to buy spoons made from sandalwood, belts woven from goat hair, goat bells, and wild honey. Our new Turkish friends on the boat are curious and open and enjoy being active outdoors – much like our Czech relatives and our Canadian friends – but against a backdrop of antiquity rather than against our Canadian landscape of wilderness, wildflowers, and wildlife. Here, hiking is all about the (very, very) old rocks.
Written July 14, Posted July 19
Andrew and Mehmet looking at a Roman rock
Latin inscription – what does it say?
Roman or Byzantine? Our Turkish friends can tell….
Ottoman era cistern (water storage). Water storage is a big deal for serving merchant ships
Hiking on a Roman road first built by the Lycians – now the Lycian Way hiking trail. Note the olive tree – bottom left.