To get down to Olympos, Antalya (on the Southern Turkish coast), I decided to go by bus. As is appropriate for any travel blogger, I almost missed it. I had purchased my ticket from the main station (Aşti Otogar), and completely failed to notice that the bus itself departed from a different station entirely. Oops. The evening had already started on a slightly stressful note – when attempting to draw money from the ATM, my brain went blank. I’m not sure if you have ever experienced this before, but it really, really sucks. I was super pooped from lack of sleep, and simple information that is normally stored right up there with my birthday and Mark Wahlberg’s abs in the early 90’s was inaccessible. So no money for me… which isn’t that bad, considering I don’t really have any in the first place.
Back to the bus issue, and just another situation where the kindness and helpfulness of Turkish people have saved the day. After finding someone at Aşti who spoke English they bundled me up into another bus in a flurry of goodbyes, and dropped me off at the proper station. Thank the pope for awesome locals, because that could easily have been a nightmare of a situation.
The trip itself was magnificence in bus form. I travelled with Ulusoy/Varan (the bus line), and the 8 hour trip cost me 65TL – not bad at all if you consider that one beer is about 10TL… and yes, I’ve found that when you travel you compare the price of everything to how many bira you could buy for the same.
The vehicle was like a ground bound baby airplane, still waiting to remove its training wheels and head up into the sky. The seats were comfortably padded, with leg room enough for my 5’9″ frame, and reclined to a position where you could almost fall asleep. The price of the ticket included (to my surprise), 2 bottles of water, tea/coffee/juice, snacks and a sandwich – all served by a cheerful Turkish man, who was the perfect host. My fellow passenger was a young lady, and even though our communication was limited we bonded quite firmly in the dark hours. As I first sat down next to her, her mum jumped on board to hug me and ask me to keep her daughter company. A sweetly embarrassing moment that reminded me very much of my own little Mother dear back home.
On arrival at the Antalya otogar, I had just enough time to pop online and let my family know I had made it before my next shuttle left. You need to get on the Fethiye bound dolmuş (a Turkish mini-bus that runs set routes), as it travels up the coastline and stops at all the little towns in between. It only costs 12TL to get to the Olympos stop. Out of interest, because I know you were dying to find out, the word dolmuş comes from the Turkish for ‘apparently stuffed’ – these little babies had a tendency to be full far beyond capacity. I count myself lucky that there were only 5 extra passengers in ours. Interestingly enough, the traditional way to pay for your trip is to pass the required amount up to the driver through the other passengers, hand to hand. You’ll get your change when the driver believes he has the least chance of killing anyone by handing it back to you. Good luck.
After jumping off at the main Olympos stop, the final leg of the trip found me waiting at a lovely little pansyion (restaurant/hostel), for the dolmuş to Deep Green. This minibus runs every half hour or so, and stops at all the pansiyons, backpackers and hotels in Olympos. It cost 5 TL, making the total cost for Ankara to Antalya 85TL.
All in all, it was a pleasant trip. I was welcomed with breakfast by my first HelpX host, and the rest is for many other stories to come. If you have any questions regarding travel in Turkey, feel free to google it… or you can ask me on my contact form.