Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pamukkale, Turkey

We first learned about Pamukkale via a poster outside a travel agency near the Hagia Sophia in the summer of 2007. Our first thought was, "why are people in swimsuits hanging out in the snow?" Pamukkale, lit. translation cotton castle, are terraces made of travertine-a type of limestone formed by hot springs. 
We arrived in town with our bathing suits ready to splash around in those gorgeous white pools. The above is what expected to see. The reality was quite different. The pools were shallow and many parts of the sight were closed off. We did note a determined tourists or two desperately, in vain, attempting to reenact the postcards and posters.
The bottom.
At the entry point, shoes are not welcomed and must be removed. 
Where are all the fashionable hotties with their speedos and bikinis? Sounds like we came during the off season. 
Ana's feet getting wild.
Closed off.
The town below.
At the top was a museum, gardens, ruins, and an angry German shepherd mom with pups.

My Silly Girl
Ruins in the setting sun.
Inside the theatre.
The bad news was we had to walk back down the wet rocks after the sun had set. The detail of the stone looks like the moon's landscape. 
Hello kitty. Since swimming in the terraces was no longer an option, we took a bus 5 km north to the village of Karahayit for their famous red springs and mud bath. We also loaded up on nuts, olives, soap, and other goods.   
Locals taking advantage of the free hot springs.
Freshly squeezed pomegranate juice.
The big town of Denizli wasn't overly exciting. We did run into a souq and saw this friendly man making minarets. Someone mentioned we should catch a bus to Kaklik. So we did.    
 4 km north of Kaklik is a cave. The bus dropped us off on the highway. We looked around and didn't find a taxi, so we walked over to a cafe and one of the men playing dominos offered us a ride. 
Our ride dropped us off and left, there was no one at the cave taking tickets or otherwise, so we just walked in and noticed some flooding and broken stairs. It was a little erie. Overall, the cave was like an underground Pamukkale. Ana wasn't keen on disappearing, so we didn't spend too much time exploring. 
Our main concern was getting back to our hotel 50 km away. We hitchhiked and one of the cement trucks coming down form the quarry offered us a ride. The driver gave us each an orange and showed us his personal hygiene products, maybe he was teaching us how to say "toothpaste" in Turkish. He even squeezed his lemon-scent alcohol hand cleaner into our palms. He dropped us off outside his cement plant. We eventually found our way home. Stay tuned for Cappdocia.   

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