Day 246 - Heading East to Cappadocia
Trip Start Jan 10, 2011
221Trip End Jan 08, 2012
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The Turkish bus system continues to impress and this bus in particular was really nice. Perhaps as a symptom of our travels we have low expectations but regardless this bus was truly first class. Very comfortable seats, individual video consoles and the folding neck support on the headrest (like on some airplanes). So much that we were sorry to get off after the 3hr ride to Denizli.
We didn’t spend any time in Denizli, instead hopping a dolomus north to Pamukkale after we booked our overnight bus ticket inland to Nevşehir, the hub for touring Cappadocia.
Pamukkale is known primarily for a very unique geographic occurrence. The hot springs are so rich with calcium and other minerals that these have been deposited across a huge section of a bluff. This area is often referred to as the cotton castle because it looks completely white reminding us of glaciers and having us yearn to go skiing (in 3 months we will be in the Swiss Alps!!).
We walked up a path that has been carved in the deposits. There were a good number of tourists here as expected. This amazing natural wonder sits just below the Greco-Roman ancient ruins of Hierapolis. Together they are now a world heritage site and they have created a really a beautiful park incorporating warm spring water, old stone and the natural deposits.
It is said that THE Cleopatra came to bathe in the pools here. They now have an entire complex dedicated to her - a public pool surrounded by the ancient ruins. It is said that if you bathe in these pools, you will become more beautiful and it will help heal various ailments. The cost to swim in these ‘rejuvinating’ pools was outlandish and after briefly touring the grounds and snapping a few photos we decided to keep the looks we were given (as well as our lira) and headed towards the exit.
On the way down, Eli got into the ‘pools’. The original ones are off limits as they are too fragile for the migration of tourists tramping about but the man made ones fit into the esthetic very well. The pools were luke warm but enjoyable nonetheless. With your body submerged and your head down you could time the passing crowd for an unobstructed view and a piece of paradise.
Just before the exit point we stopped at a small shelf waterfall that was much warmer. We joked around with some Norwegians about taking ‘modeling’ pictures at this site.
In the village of Pamukkale we had a nice Turkish dinner. Mia’s dish was similar to the clay pot meal we’d had in Istanbul while Eli had a wonderful chicken mushroom and cheese Turkish style pizza. We chatted with the well-spoken manager who guessed that we were Canadian (and not American). Beyond this he clearly had an ear for languages.
We went back to the Denizli bus station on a dolomus as night set in. Thanks only to Mia hollering for him while he was loitering in a shop, Eli did he not miss the ride. At the bus station Mia satisfied her addiction to Turkish çay (Tea) while Eli had a Turkish coffee. The coffee here is good though often strong and sometimes with a biter flavouring. Turkish coffee is typically served in an espresso cup with the grounds in the cup. They are big sports fans here particularly with futball (soccer) and basketball. We watched some highlights while we waited.
The bus we boarded was fine but not AS nice as the one earlier in the day. We tried to find something in English on the consul but opted instead for a movie on our netbook. The bus stopped occasionally along the way to pick people up and for washroom breaks. Oddly, despite the modernity of the buses, none of them have washroom aboard.
Despite some sections of bumpy road (we were in the back of the bus…) we managed to sleep in fits and starts for most of the 10hr ride.