Day 29: Çıralı (rest day to see the flames of the Chimaera)

A mosquito-free night and sleeping until the decadent hour of 6:30 a.m., followed by a steaming hot shower – delightful! We came to the dining room for breakfast, and because the morning was cool Yilmaz started another fire for us. He even made Turkish pancakes in addition to the normal breakfast after Warren raved about them the night before (even though he meant American ones). We’re getting spoiled!

We spent the morning enjoying unlimited coffee, a raging fire, a cozy blanket and a comfy lounge area while journaling and talking about future plans.

We decided to walk to the Chimaera, which was about 3 km away. It is on the alternative section of the next leg of the Lycian Way, a route we are not taking. But we can’t be this close to these eternal natural flames and not see them!

Flames of the Chimera

During the summer season, taxis and tractors routinely take people from the village to the parking lot for the trail to the Chimaera. But in the off-season, it’s more difficult to find a ride. We decided that anyone who’s actually walking the Lycian Way should be able to walk the measly 3 km to the site, so that’s what we did.

Once we arrived and bought a ticket, we still had a steep stair climb for about 1 km to the top.

The Chimaera is a pretty cool set of flames, almost like little fireplaces dotting the side of the mountain. It would likely be spectacular to see it at night. But what really surprised us were the ruins at the top. Imagine the ancient times and how sacred these natural flames would have been to them. There were priests and caretakers who lived there, and you can still see the pain from elaborate murals on the walls of their homes and public spaces.

As with all of Turkey, we’re so surprised we can get up close and personal with these artifacts from history.

Getting close to the flame

We saw 2 walkers with heavy backpacks coming down from the Chimaera as we were going up and wondered if they were descending from the mountain route we decided not to take…or if they tried it and came back down! Unfortunately we didn’t speak the same language, so we don’t know. The Chimaera is on the alternate path for this section of the route, so if you go this way you’ll see it as part of your walk.

Mosque coming back to Cirali

We spent the evening enjoying another good meal in the dining room of our pansiyon with a big fire and talking over our last day’s of walking. Sherry has decided that tomorrow is her last day on the trail, and it seems like a fitting end point. We’re debating about the big climb at the end, especially after the guidebook states it is not well marked. After the last mountain climb and bad marks after Demre, we’re not sure we want to put ourselves in the position of struggling to stay on the trail when there are no resources for food or water.

Daily Stats

Where We Stayed

Emin Pansiyon, just across from the beach.

Hours Walked

2:00 (to see the Chimaera and back)

Perks

The Chimaera, the unexpected delight of finding the ruins there, a great breakfast, clean laundry, and a cozy dinner by the fire.

Problems

Still trying to decide about the rest of the walk. We’re not excited about another poorly marked mountain trail and wondering what to do when the trail veers off permanently from the coast tomorrow. How will we spend our last few days?