Hitchhiking to Turkish ruins… in a Hail Storm

“This is stupid,” I thought; as gigantic raindrops pummeled our minibus’ windows.

The intersection where Carrie and I were dropped off on the way to Tlos Ruins - Fethiye, Turkey - 2013-05-10 21-39-23“I have zero interest in getting soaked just to see some ruins. We should just stay on the bus until it turns around; and go home.”

. . .

Yet there we were; standing on rural corner in a downpour after being dropped of four kilometers from Turkey’s Tlos ruins.

My wife, Carrie, was smart enough to bring a rain jacket; I only had a tee-shirt.

. . .

As we sought shelter underneath a series of overhangs and patios, my mind once again filled with thoughts of returning to our warm and dry hotel room.

Still, we continued; advancing a few hundred feet each time the rain lessened while holding my thumb out towards every passing car.

(I filmed the below video to keep myself sane while waiting)

 


The Kindness of Turkish Strangers

Finally, just as I had given up hope, a clunker-of-a-car pulled to a stop and two kind old women invited us into their back seat.

“Tlos,” they asked with a knowing smile; while we piled their grocery bags onto our laps?

As we warmed our hands and faces in a glorious blast of hot air, we finally were able to laugh at our experience; while retelling it to our new friends.

Meanwhile, the rain continued its relentless assault on the car; even transforming into hail for a few minutes.

 

The view from our ride to Tlos
The view from our ride to Tlos

 

The reason our friends were going to Tlos is because they run a souvenir stand there. We bought a jar of honey before leaving.
Our kind driver friends also ran a souvenir stand near the ruins. We bought a jar of honey before leaving.

Hail + Rain = No Crowds at Tlos

By the time we finally made it to Tlos, the skies had dried up.

Even more exciting was that the downpour had driven all the tourists away.

This meant that we had the entire ancient ruin complex to ourselves.

Queue up the Indiana Jones music and let’s explore!

 

Tlos Tombs and Castle Ruins
Tlos Tombs and Castle Ruins

 

My darling wife: Carrie
My darling wife: Carrie

 

The highest point of Tlos
The highest point of Tlos’ citadel

Turkey’s Tlos Ruins: a brief history

Located in the Antalya Province of southern Turkey, the Tlos ruins are believed to be more than 4,000 years old.

The site is one of the oldest and largest settlements of Lycia; and was continually inhabited up until the 19th century.

What makes the ruins especially interesting are the Lycian rock tombs and sarcophagi; which are carved into the face of the hill.

 

According to TurkishTravelBlog:

“Although now empty and displaying no signs of grandeur, the tombs were the resting place of important people in the Lycian Empire.

Laid to rest inside, with their possessions that would go with them into the afterlife, the high position on the hill made it easier for the winged-like creature that would transport them.”

 

Lycian Tombs at the Tlos Ruins in Fethiye, Turkey
Lycian Tombs at the Tlos Ruins in Fethiye, Turkey

 

The clouds parted for just long enough to snap this overhead shot of Tlos.
The clouds parted for just long enough to snap this overhead shot of Tlos

 

Ruins of a Byzantine Church in Tlos
Ruins of a Byzantine Church in Tlos

 

An old archway near the Tlos stadium
An old archway near the Tlos stadium

OK… so how do we get out of Tlos?

Usually, hourly shuttle buses help tourists traverse the four kilometers between Tlos and the nearest main road.

However, the day’s thunderstorm had sent the drivers home early. This left us only one option: walk and hope that another kind soul would heed our thumbs-out call.

Sure enough, about ten minutes later, a painter’s van stopped and let us in.

 

With only two seats in the van, the man originally riding shotgun offered us his chair.

Despite our protests, he spent the next hour sitting (and sliding around) on a paint bucket in back while Carrie and I squeezed into the passenger seat.

Just another example of the incredible kindness we encountered every day in Turkey.

 

This was the road where we met our painter friends
This was the road where we met our painter friends

 

On a clear day, you can see for miles from atop Tlos
We were very happy to not have to walk all the way to that town.

 Have you ever had to hitchhike?