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NNs Adventures We have traveled over the years but will be retiring in 2017 and want to spend more time traveling the world. We've been to Turkey, Sri Lanka, Africa twice and a number of trips to Europe and St Lucia. Kathleen/Thom Ennen

Day 14 – Pamukkale – Hierapolis (Nov 24)

TURKEY | Tuesday, 24 November 2015 | Views [262]

Hard to believe we’ve been here over 2 weeks now. We’ve seen nearly all the sites we’d planned on seeing. Today is the last day for visiting sites on the list. The hope is to see Pamukkale and the hot baths, and Aphrodisias, an ancient Greek city to the east.

We tried to get an early start. With breakfast done it was 9:30 when we got underway for the 3 hour trip to Pamukkale. The young couple we met in Selcuk went there on Sunday and talked about how great it was.

The countryside of the two valleys we travelled through were dry and brown looking but as we got farther west, they got greener. We saw many orange groves, with a great many of them being picked. Trucks would have stacks of crates filled with the oranges. We travelled through the towns of Aydin and Nazilli, good sized bustling towns.  We think we saw pomegranate trees with ghosts of a few old and dried fruits hanging. The trees had lost their leaves so it was an odd looking orchard.

I forgot as we approached the center of Pamukkale that google maps is good on the highways but not so much on specific sites. I wasn’t aware that Pamukkale was the town where Hierapolis is located. Also the gps wasn’t waking up for a while; perhaps the charge had run down. We asked for directions in the town, and realized all we had to do was follow a fairly steady stream of tour buses. This is another UNESCO World Heritage site and extremely popular.

We drove up to the entrance and wandered into the site, on top of a high hill overlooking the town below. The unique parts of this site are the ruins of Hierapolis, a very large, not very extensively excavated hill top city and fortress. We could see a large structure where the amphitheater was located but it was a hike away and it just seemed too far given all the hiking our knees have been through!!! It’s reported to be in very good condition and the stage and related structures are more intact than most any other amphitheater found to date.

The other extremely unique part of this site is the vast expanse of white calcite deposits at the top and covering a large part of this big hill.  Calcite-laden waters from hot springs, emerging from a cliff almost 200 meters high overlooking the plain, have created a visually stunning landscape at Pamukkale. These mineralized waters have generated a series of petrified waterfalls, stalactites and pools with step-like terraces, some of which are less than a meter in height while others are as high as six meters. Fresh deposits of calcium carbonate give these formations a dazzling white coating. The Turkish name Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle”, is derived from this striking landscape.

When we got to the main tourist attraction here, the Ancient Pool, we decided we’d give it a try. We’d brought bathing suits just in case. My only mistake was forgetting my waterproof camera that was in my backpack that I left in the car. As it was 20 minute walk to the car I had to forgo taking pictures while in the baths. All of our site visit entrance fees have been covered by the all Turkey Muse Kart. This however was an attraction, similar to the locomotive museum that had an entrance fee. Converted to US$ though, about $11 each was not too bad.

Also given the time of day, the distance back to Sirince, and the distance needed to get to and back from Aphrodisias, we realized it was one or the other. We went for the hot springs!!! We’ve seen a lot of ruins and this was something not likely to be encountered again.

We changed and stepped down into the pools. The first section had a gravel bottom and was about 4’ deep. It was very warm, though not hot. We paused for few minutes where the water was rushing out of gutters of some sort to get a neck massage! Then we swam/wandered to the area that was larger and partially filled with stones, blocks, old columns, etc. I walked along some of the blocks and then got into a deeper area and stood on a column base in maybe 4-1/2’ of water. It was warm and slightly effervescent with occasional warmer upwellings. I believe the warmth is derived from very deep volcanic sources. It was great!!! We moved to where a column was lain across the bottom and stood on the flutes! We wandered and swam a bit but mostly floated/stood in the warm water. We decided after about 40 minutes it was time to start heading back. You can spend as much as 2 hours in the pool but we were getting bored……. Time to move on.

The drive back was on the same route as in the morning. The most notable thing though was the extent of smog/air pollution. The entire valley was thick with it. Farmers were kicking up great clouds of dust while tilling the very dry and brown fields with their tractors. There was evidence of smokestacks and industry as well as a lot of small fires. We’ve seen, nearly everywhere, that dried leaves are raked and burned. All combine to make the air thick and gritty which makes you cough a bit and even have a bit of a sore throat.  It was good to get back to the cabin.

We again stayed at the cabin complex for dinner as it’s a narrow road to the village. Dinner was chicken with great seasonings. We met two Turkish couples here for one night from Istanbul. They are hoping to invest in a business here and have “negotiations” on Wednesday.

We hope to have a quiet, last day tomorrow, before we start our travelling back home. On Thursday we have a flight to Istanbul from Izmir and then Friday we head back, stopping in London and then onto BWI Baltimore.

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