Instead of driving 3 1/2 hours to Olympos, we opted to stick around Fethiye and explore the town.
We found a few beautiful vistas, and agree that the waters in Turkey are best seen from above to truly appreciate the beautiful colors.
One thing we did notice throughout Turkey is the litter. There doesn’t seem to be any pride in their land by the amount of rubbish scattered about.
We checked out the Çalis Beach and was equally unimpressed. The beach area is definitely developed for the foreign tourists, but appears rundown and lacks charm.
The town has a long bike path that extends from Old Town to the end of a very well designed park, the Sehit Fethi Bey Parkı. The park has a huge playground for kids. One thing we’ve noticed around Turkey is the large number of playgrounds scattered about in towns and cities. We wonder if it has something to do with Turkey’s demographics. The median age of Turkey is 31, versus Italy’s 47 and Japan’s 48 (the US median age is 38). With a younger population, you would see more children. More children would require more playgrounds.
The highlight of the day was the Fethiye Archeological Museum. The surprising part was that it is free. All the finds from the excavation sites we’ve visited (Kaunos, Letoon, Xanthos, and Tlos) are on display – potteries, coins, figurines, jewelry, and sculptures. Despite the museum being free, the place was deserted. No one was there except for the 2 guards. I thought it was because of low season, but it sounds like few people visit according to a local shop keeper, Mustafa. He told us that the people who visit Fethiye come on vacation packages. They are not interested in the culture. They just want to eat, drink, and sunbathe – “like döners on the beach” (his words). In fact, so few people visit the museum that they’ve installed motion sensor lights in the exhibits to conserve energy.
Well good for us, because we got the whole (tiny) museum to ourselves.
It would have saved them time had they had paper to write on back then. Then again paper would not have survived those thousands of centuries as this stele has.
Another amazing relic we got to see was the preserved wooden door of the lower church in Kayaköy, the Greek ghost town.
So thinking back, we accidentally planned our trip perfectly. You want to visit all the physical sites first (and wonder where everything is), and then visit the Fethiye Archeological Museum so that you can easily put things into context. It’s like a giant treasure hunt. Most of the treasures are in one tiny museum that’s free to the public, and you don’t have to fly to London to see it.
Speaking of treasure hunts. You don’t need to venture beyond Fethiye to see sarcophagi and Lycian tombs, as they are scattered around town.