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Gallipoli to Pamukkale

TURKEY | Tuesday, 1 November 2011 | Views [584]

It was a fairly early departure from Istanbul as all the later ferries were all booked up. Loading was slightly hectic as all the passengers and cars crossed the same ramp at the same time to board. We weren’t sure what to do with our luggage but followed the locals lead and just dumped it all by the entrance. We were on the fast ferry across the Marmara Sea to Bandirma from where we caught a bus to Cannakale and then another ferry back across the Dardanelles to Eceabat on the Gallipoli peninsula. We stayed at the Crowded house hostel where the owner had patchy English but a thick Aussie accent. We also meet Stacy and Mike here and we ended up following each other for the next few days.


A tour of the ANZAC battle fields was obviously on our agenda but as that wasn’t on till the afternoon I managed to convince Dusk to go on a snorkelling tour at ANZAC cove. The snorkelling was ok and we could see the remains of a ship sunk during the battle but the best part of this tour was being able to experience the area with no one else around. Later when we returned on the battle fields tour other tour groups on day trips from Istanbul had arrived and there were people everywhere. The Gallipoli peninsula is a really beautiful place and we realised how lucky we had been to have ANZAC cove and Ari Burnu to ourselves for a few hours.



We had to cross back over the Dardenals to catch our bus to Ephesus. The ferry across normally takes about 15 minutes but this morning it decided to just dawdle along and drift for a while and we were cracking a few nervous jokes with our new travel friends Mike and Stacey about what we would do if we missed the bus. The problem was another ferry blocking the berth but it eventually moved and we ran off the ferry to be immediately grabbed by the mini bus driver and whisked off to catch the main bus.


The bus ride to Selçuk was fairly long and uneventful but we did go through some seriously crazy motorway off-ramps that did a 270 degree loop, went  under the motorway then joined another road heading back over the motorway to take what originally was just a simple right hand turn (Turkey drive on the right).


We decided to stay at Atillas getaway in Ephesus which was actually a bit out of town but had a sweet pool and bar so a pretty cool place to hangout. The only problem was the American students who talked half the night which wouldn’t of been too bad except for their loud accents and stupid opinions. We spent the next morning checking out town which has an old roman aquaduct running through it but is now just an excellent nesting site for stalks that like to clap their beaks a lot. There was a market on in town and Dusk ended up buying pots, we then had to scrounge the streets for a cardboard box to pack them in to send home.  We left going to the Ephesus ruins till late in the afternoon to try and avoid the crowds and heat. The ruins themselves were very impressive though we struggled to make any sense of them as the guide book we had been loaned seemed to have been written using google translate and was virtually nonsensical.


We had arranged bus tickets to Pamukkale through a bus agent and associate of Atilla. We kind of worked out that we had probably paid a bit too much when a bus pulled up that only had tourists on it but considering we got door to door service and looked after, paying a few extra lira was probably worth it. Pamukkale is all about the terraces. Thermal water flows down the hillside depositing minerals as huge white terraces. You walk up from town and have to go bare foot across the terraces which feel quite weird to walk on as they are covered in tiny ridges. At the top around the springs are pools which people pay to swim in even though they contain radon and measurable quantities of radioactive particles (they advertise it on the sign out the front). We opted out but mainly because they looked grungy and were full of Russian tourists.


Another day, another bus ride. This time we were heading south to Fetiye on the coast. Firstly we had to get a crowded minibus to the bus terminal in Denizli. As it was rush hour we’d picked up our fill within a couple of blocks and then it was a cramped ride into town, just enough time for a fresh orange juice and then onto a slightly bigger but just as cramped bus. There was a big Aussie guy on the bus who wanted to move to a slightly roomier seat but Turkish buses have strict unwritten rules about who can sit where (lone woman sit next to lone woman etc) and the bus conductor soon had him back in his original seat. Our map showed two roads for the trip neither very direct as there was a big mountain range in the way, however we took some other road which went straight over the mountains. Very scenic, even some opium plantations (legal ones), but the windy road was not that good for Dusk.


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