We walked nearly 8km from our hotel to the Chimera thanks to some mis-information. Finally arriving at the site after about an hour and a half walking in the thick humidity, we were drenched and not exactly happy to see more heat. That was until I remembered that the flames supposedly couldn’t be put out and for research purposes only of course, I decided to try my hand. My first attempt, splashing a little water on a small flame, put the flame out momentarily, but it quickly returned. Thinking it would make a great video for the blog, I moved to a slightly larger flame and instructed Danny to film. Sprinkling water on the flame, it didn’t even flicker and Danny urged me to splash more on. Slowly at first and then with a little more zeal, I splashed water out of my Nalgene onto the flame. Sure enough it went out with a loud sizzle. We waited….and waited. Embarrassed, although you can’t hear this on the video, I decided the best thing to do was to stop filming and walk away quickly and silently. At this point Danny and our Turkish friend Baris were audibly laughing at me claiming I had doused the eternal flame. For the record, we left 20 minutes later and the flame still had not returned, but to be fair, I did see some match like pieces at the base of one of the flames.
You’re probably thinking, Chimera, Chimera, where have I heard that name before? High school, Greek Mythology. The fire breathing monster appears in Homer’s the Iliad as a creature of Lycia: “a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire.” The Greek myth is said to have been inspired by the “eternal flames” (or are they) above Olympos on Mount Chimera. No one will ever know the truth, but its safe to say that spotting of the Chimera in ancient times was seen as a bad omen. Likely because you were about to hit shore.
If You Go: Tours run every night from Olympos for about 20TL. The walk is relatively flat, but prepare to ask for directions as signage for “Yarnartas” is few and far between. It’s about 7km from Olympos to the Chimera, and you should bring a light for the rocky beach. We took a taxi from the entrance back to the beach and walked back to Olympos from there.