Pools of Emptiness

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Flag of Turkey  , Denizli,
Sunday, December 6, 2009

Excited for the first official 'site seeing' day in Turkey:  a day trip to Pamukkale and Hierapolis. 

Able to arrange this trip through our hostel.  So far we've only camped one night in Turkey!  Pensions are very affordable and come with amazing breakfasts.  Hard to pass up over sitting in the dark in a damp tent all night.  Also, this way we're in a town and can enjoy a bit of a night life rather than falling asleep at 7pm since it's gets dark so early.  It's working so far.  We'll see how things continue. 

Boarding our bus, Brian had little confidence in our driver.  I couldn't figure out why at first, but after catching a glimpse of him in the rear-view mirror I could see what Brian was talking about.  His eyes looked in both directions at the same time!  Well, I thought, at least he's got good peripheral...He also seemed to have an affinity for running red lights.  But like Greece, I don't think the lights mean too much considering that driving on the opposite side of the road is a frequent occurrence!

With a guide who loved the sound of his own voice and frequently talked in different tangents, it was enough to keep us occupied for the trip!

After about 3 hours, I could see in the distance a great white swath across the landscape - like a bandage on the land.  Pamukkale means 'cotton castle'.  Cotton for the colour white, and castle for the structures on top.  This is such a unique land formation.  Calcium and mineral rich hot springs bubble out of the land at the top of a large plateau.  As the waters cascade down the hillside they create various shaped pools that terrace on top of one another covering everything in white looking like a snow-and-ice landscape. 

But I must say, after staring at countless gorgeous pictures of blue brimming pools, I was a little disappointed.  Everything had been drained in efforts to recoup vast amount of damage done in the 80's (when roads ploughed through the landscape, hotels were perched on top, and people swam everywhere).  They are attempting to help the pools rebuild themselves.  Still, it didn't stop people from walking out and allowing their children to make 'snowballs' out of the calcium build-up. 


I have been looking forward to Turkey for the 'untouched'  and 'no boundaries' type of places to explore.  But it's easy to see how that can quickly destroy a natural area when filled with people who don't care. 

Still an amazing thing to see.  And all around are the ruins of Hierapolis.  Greeks and then Romans possessed this great plateau with expansive views and 'healing waters' and created a huge city.  However, after several large earthquakes, not much remains.  But it is an impressive area non-the-less.  Walking along into the area we were amazed at the evidence of a water system.  Troughs that held water are everywhere with an intricate design giving an idea of where houses where settled.  Some doorways and lintels still remain in place and old roads are still 'paved'.  A magnificent theater has been lovingly reconstructed with original pieces.  What I liked best was that it really gave an idea of the scale of the building rather than a pile of rubble.  Also, many of the statues have been left in place rather than taken to a museum.  I found that a beautiful touch to help envision the grandeur of this place. How amazing it would be to see a show at this theater!

Got to explore more area than we would have been able to on our bikes, that's for sure.  180km one way would be a significant journey out of our way.  Don't know how it's possible, but I feel more exhausted after busing 6 1/2 hours than I do after cycling.  But we had a nice relaxing evening watching movies and smoking a nargila.  Best part was, we weren't in a public establishment so I was able to try!
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lindsayholmes on

Woweee! Those look awesome even if they are empty!
Don't you love "splurging" all day on restaurants and hotels only to discover at the end of the day that you've still not spent over your budget? I loved it.
Are you finding comfy beds or are they about the same as camping?

2totango on

It is nice to splurge, but I'm longing for camping again! We've had such a wide variety of rooms for a wide variety of prices. i'm still trying to figure out a guideline!

Jen Artan on

I lived in Turkey for three years, and desperately wanted to go to Pammukkale, but I didn't want to be disappointed. I had heard from other teachers that travelled down there from Istanbul that it was a letdown. Went to Cappadocia instead, one of my favourite places in Turkiye...

2totango on

It was still interesting and I'm very glad that I went. Just didn't live up to the post-card images I'd been flooded with. OK for a day trip, but I don't know if I would have spent much longer. We could have taken a lot more time poking around Hierapolis, but unfortunately the tour didn't allow for that :(

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