Smooth Feeling All Over

Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Turkey  ,
Friday, August 11, 2006

One thing we love about traveling in Turkey are the bus services. They have so many buses going all over the country. At the massive and somewhat chaotic bus station we jumped on a bus to Denzali. The ride was pretty good with great service. On board we got scented hand wash, followed by a cup of water, some cake and a cup of coke. Then the movie started. Great! Time to relax except the movie was completely dubbed into Turkish. Oh well time for some sleep.

Arriving at Denzali a guy approached us wearing a t-shirt with "Australia" printed across the front. He offered to take us to his family's hotel out at Pamukkale. As this was where we wanted to stay we figured we'd tag along. On the local bus we paid the obligatory tourist price (about double of what it should be, but that's the standard tourist rip-off everywhere we've been) and headed out of town to Pamukkale. Leaving Denzali there were a couple of large statues of roosters. We'd heard they were pretty proud of their roosters in these parts. After checking out the hotel, the Four Seasons (not affiliated with the hotel chain) we drank our welcome apple tea and finally relaxed.

Up the road were the beautiful Pamukkale travertines. These are spring pools, created by calcium deposits. Since Roman times people have been coming here for the therapeutic benefits of the waters, so we figured why not join them. Walking up the little track to the springs you can see why the called the place Pamukkale, meaning cotton castle. There were about seventy tourist buses in town so we decided to walk to the top and go for a swim in the Pamukkale Thermal of Hierapolis. This is a thermal pool that contains submerged ruins of the town. We thought "How cool would it be to swim around old ruins of the town?" Well that was until we found out the additional cost of a quick swim. We'd already paid entrance to the thermal springs and they at least double that again. Don't they realise we're backpackers? Rick did try and sneak into the pool but was yelled at by some guy wanting a ticket. We consoled ourselves by the fact that it was very very busy, crowded with people and it had a scungy layer of something on top of the water. With this in mind and realizing that diseased and sick people travel here from afar for the healing waters, we thought we'd pass.

Walking further up the hill we headed into the ruins of the Roman city of Hierapolis. Eumenes II, King of Pergamum founded the city in 190 BC though over the years it was conquered by both he Byzantines and Romans. The city was abandoned in 1334 after successive earthquakes. Avoiding the over crowded Roman Theatre, we walked up an old road to the octagonal Martyrium to St Philip the Apostle. As it was right at the top of the hill and it was pretty hot we had the ruin to ourselves. They believe the church was built on the site where he was martyred. It was a really cool layout with eight individual chapels, each marked with a cross. From this we walked up to the Necropolis. The view from the hill top was great and there were many sarcophagus and tombs spread around. This makes sense as every Tom, Dick and Harry with a disease or skin aliment came here to get cured. Most didn't and subsequently kept the undertakers pretty busy. Walking down to the Roman Theatre, it was now relatively empty. The theatre was built for a 12,000 seat capacity by the emperors Hadrian and Septimius Serverus. It was fantastic to sit and imagine what it would have been like those many years ago. Across the other side of the ruined city we walked down Frontinus Street, the city's main north-south road marked with columns either side. At one end of the road was the Arch of Domitian.

With the crowds starting to leave for the night (tour buses down to about 40) we headed back to the travertines. Wading into the shallow pools we had a quick dip, the water leaving our skin all smooth.

Status of Rick's hair: Snow white scalp, no sign of hair yet.
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