Olympos Night Swimming

“So, are we going to the beach or not?”

It was about 1 AM and a bunch of us were hanging around the garden at Bayram’s Treehouses, drinking beer, chain smoking, and challenging one another to riddles and brainteasers. We’d been planning on doing a night swim since hearing that afternoon that there were phosphorescent plankton in the water, but mostly we had just talked about it… and now that we’d stuffed ourselves on free dinner and gotten started with the drinking, those couches were feeling mighty comfortable and it didn’t seem like we were ever going to get up. I was laying back with my head on some cushions and my feet propped up on the discarded Backgammon board and my eyes were nearly starting to close on their own.

“Come on guys, we’re going.” Sarah, a blonde Australian who had been to the beach the night before and tipped us off to the bioluminescent phenomenon, was the de facto ringleader. She stood up and prodded all of us for a bit until we stopped grumbling and gathered up our things. I ran back to my room to drop off my bag and grab a flashlight and a towel, then we all set off.
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Lazy Days

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I’m here in Olympos, on the Lycian Coast, and I’ve decided that it’s the perfect place to wind down my last few days in Turkey. This is definitely a backpacker town, and I’ve been doing little else but lounging around the guesthouse garden in a hammock, going to the beach, and if we’re really feeling adventurous, walking twenty minutes up the road for coffee and dessert. (And I have finally found a place in this country that serves real coffee! Actual, sippable drip coffee, in a decent sized mug with real milk! It has been ages since I’ve had anything but Nescafe or small but potent shots of Turkish coffee.) Continue reading

A Day at Ephesus

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After my late arrival in Selçuk the night before, I was excited to get up and visit Ephesus, the whole reason I headed there in the first place. I had a nice breakfast at the guesthouse, then walked across the street to the bus station and caught the dolmuş (shared taxi/shuttle) to the entrance gate — it’s about a 3km drive and costs 2.50 lira. At the ticket window, I hesitated over whether to pay the extra 15TL to see the “terrace houses”, not really knowing what they were, but I decided to go for it and I’m so glad I did. They were definitely my favorite part of the whole place. Continue reading

Road Trip to the Weirdest Hostel in the World

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After bumming around Jerusalem for a few days, I ran into two people I had met back in Tel Aviv, Jon and Jahan. Jon was on a mission to get down to Eilat for some diving in the Red Sea, and Jahan was looking for an adventure to fill her last few days before she flew back home. It was pretty easy for them to convince me to come along. (Actually they snuck into my dorm room one morning, stared at me until I woke up, and basically said “Are you in or what?”) Road Trip! Continue reading

Tayrona National Park Pt. 3: Sleeping in hammocks is overrated.

[This is Part 3 of my Tayrona adventure. Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 here.]

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So when I left off last I had been crowing about how I scored the last available hammock in the mirador for the night. I may have celebrated that victory a bit too quickly though, because those fancy hammocks are up at the top of this big rock formation and right over the water, and it was absolutely freezing once the sun went down! Plus, my amazing luck meant that it took until that exact day, nearly two weeks into my trip, for the traveler’s sickness to hit and that was the furthest area from the camp restroom. It also meant a somewhat treacherous climb in the dark over slippery rocks. (Seriously guys, bring a flashlight, no matter where in Tayrona you end up staying.) Continue reading

Tayrona National Park Pt. 2: Arrecifes to Cabo San Juan

[This is part 2 of my Tayrona adventure. Part 1 can be found here.]

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After taking leave of our horses at the end of the trail, we walked through a small campsite until we got our first view of beach, Arrecifes. It was absolutely beautiful, the most breathtaking scenery I had seen so far in Colombia. The beach was surprisingly still and quiet, probably owing to the fact that the currents there are too dangerous to swim in so people don’t tend to stay there. There are big signs proclaiming this fact: Continue reading