Köprülü Canyon & The Turquoise Coast
Adventure comes in many shades of excitement. Bewildered, blown away, breath stolen or heart skipping beats – that is what we seek out every day. A day in the Köprülü Canyon gave us a taste of the thrill we were craving. We were taken into the narrow gauges of the canyon where we would begin a fourteen kilometer downstream trek : walking, swimming, floating and whitewater rafting.
After the Jeep groaned it’s final breath reaching the interior of the canyon we made haste below the bridge and into the trickling stream bed. The gray, sandstone walls intricately rounded into the narrow, bulbous canyon had us ensnared. Mesmerized. Tripping over rocks from not wanting to look down at our feet. A paradise for those who crave mountains, canyons and fresh water.
When the stream met up with the main section of the river it didn’t seem possible to be more blown away than we already were. The water so ridiculously blue that it couldn’t be real. The frigid, rushing whitewater dissolving into the cerulean river overwhelmed the senses. Rapidly beating hearts slowing after diving into the ice cold water, hands tightening in an effort to clench in heat. Toes felt like they weren’t even there at all. Fine motor functions thwarted. Smoothly floating down the river for half a mile to catch up with the boats, legs up and feet forward.
We were relieved to get to the boats. A chance to finally get circulation in our extremities. A quick calm before the continued storm of freezing cold water splashing us endlessly as we rafted along a 12 kilometer stretch.
After some time the cold lost the fight over my body as I adapted. Throwing myself over the boat whenever the opportunity presented itself. Jumping off of the dock after a mid day mid float beer.
Our eyes were fixed on the Turquoise Coast. We followed the lush rolling Southern Taurus mountains southward until we met the sea. The intensity of green meshing with blue caught us spellbound. The heat tormenting our hot, parched skin beckoned us to feel the cool lapping waves of the Mediterranean.
In the distance the rugged coastline dramatically shot upwards, towering silhouettes casting shadowy colors of black, blue, teal and white against a coral sanded beach foreground. We’ve been craving the calm and tranquil; so much time spent always slingshotting from place to place. So much continued motion could make even the most seasoned traveler nauseous and burdened by an overwhelming urge to just stop for a few days. Still lengthy drives ahead, but the majestic feeling of relaxation quickly stole the anxiousness from our bodies. From here, take it slow. Enjoy the coastline and bask in the beauty of both mountains and sea.
A little over an hour drive from Antalya Mt Olympos towers above the Turquoise Coast. Legends as old as they come reign over this entire area, stretching as far as Iran, Indonesia and Azerbaijan. Home to the Eternal Flames of Chimaera. The flames never retreat from the rocky, mountainous hilltop. Ignited by the oxygen in the air. Left to burn for millenniums.
We watched the flames dance in the afternoon heat. Stopped to wonder if we were a tiny flicker through the timeless life of Chimaera.
In Kás we finally found our best meal of the trip at a vegan cafe by the sea. So enchanted by savory food and sweet sangria we skipped our daily destination and stayed the night on the most furthest part of the Kás coastline, taking in the sea breeze that wafted in at every angle.
Sipping cocktail specials and Coronas while periodically plunging into the prettiest of plajis. Soaking in the sun, the sea and the salt.
Buffet breakfasts of on demand omelets, fruit and veggies with a hearty array of crisp, hot waffles, dashed with traditional Turkish tea; I felt like we were in an endlessly floating dream. Finally two days of nutritious meals to rouse motivation.
Our last two days on the Turquoise Coast were also our last two days In Turkey, the end of a three week road trip that encompassed 4000 miles. From the dry, cracked wheat center of Turkey, to the solemn, lush mountainous hills of the northeast we drove on continuously. Crumbling desert dwelling towns in the lands beyond the cry of tourism and all the way to the humble western Taurus Mountains overlooking the endless wonders of the Mediterranean.
As we soak in our last sunset on the Mediterranean we reflect on the first part of our five week journey. Three weeks seemed to have vanished just like that. Seems only a moment ago we were stepping into our cave honeymoon suite in Cappadocia. Throughout our journey we have seen so many incredibly beautiful natural sights that have stole our breath away. We have also been in unsightly, possibly scary situations that left us turning and driving toward the mountains. The good, the bad and the ugly accompany any adventure; the beauty is finding the light within. We feel that we have seen so much of Turkey’s rich, diverse landscape and are excited for what awaits us in Jordan. A couple who are always on the move remain satiated by the complete unknown. And off we go, from the sea to the desert!