Pammukale, Heiropolis, Kaputas, & Kas
Trip Start Jun 08, 2011
12Trip End Jun 19, 2011
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Where I stayed
What I did
Pammukkale & Heiropolis
Things we leaned about Turkey today:
-There are tons of stray dogs and cats. The animal activists in Turkey pick the stray dogs up and get them their shots and check them out for diseases, if they aren't adopted in a week they turn them loose to be strays again but with a tag on their ear to show they have their shots…
-The stray cats are centered around restaurants, particularly the open area street side variety that Heather and I frequent
-The words "meat" and “lamb” are 100% interchangeable in Turkey. If you order something in Turkey “with meat” or “meat doner” or “meat pide” it really means, “with lamb, lamb doner, and lamb pide.
Arrived at the South gate of Pamukkale right at 9am (even though it is open at sunrise) to find tour buses already pulling out and leaving! Come to find out, they drive in the night before like us and stay in a hotel and hit the site at the crack of dawn (discovered this on the drive to Kas late in the afternoon). So yea, there were 8 tour buses at the South gate when we got there. The place is huge so we actually didn't see anyone for at least the first 10 minutes of walking. The travertines are simply amazing, no other way to describe it, no other place on Earth looks like this, and the scale is mind blowing. They have documented settlements around the area dating back 3000 years...people have been drawn to this natural wonder for a long time. Anyhow, so a bunch of hotels ruined it for everyone else back in the late 80's so now all the naturally occuring pools are shut off to foot traffic and you can only explore the man made ones; however, there isn't a real big difference in general appearance. Its still calcium covered rock or cement in the case of the man made ones
The next stop was the thermal baths at the top of the hill inside the Heiropolis ruins. Cleopatra used to swim here. An earthquake or 2 came along sometime between then and now and dumped the columns into the water, or so the story goes. I'm thinking there was just one in the water and someone thought they could make some money by selling $25 TL tickets to each person that wanted to swim in the pool...all they'd have to do is attract the people by pushing the rest of the columns in the water, then arranging them nicely and lining the bottom of the pool with pea gravel so it didn't hurt their feet. But hey, who am I kidding, I wish I was sitting on this gold mine. All those Russians and Europeans eat the pool up when they get off the baking white hot Pamukkale at lunch time. We timed it just right by getting in the pool around 11 am and out by 11:30. Heather spent most of the time sitting up on a rock with nothing but her ankles and butt in the water because its about 100 to 104 degrees
Over breakfast Heather told me of a dream she had last night about a flying magic carpet. Between the pool and the lockers, sure enough, there is a guy with a green screen and a carpet that you can pay $30 TL to make your own flying carpet movie. Heather said it was a sign, I said it was a rip off.
Heiropolis has one of the best Roman ampitheaters in all of Turkey, but the path to it is a decent walk in the other direction of our car plus it was swarming with people so I settled for some telephoto lens shots of it…there is another one at Patara. On the way out we found the ancient gym which only consisted of a couple knee high walls and a few columns they have re-erected, but we snapped a couple cool photos.
We passed on the overpriced tourist food sold around the pool area and loaded up in the car to start our trek to Kas, on the way out of the parking lot and the surrounding roads we counted no less than 50 tourist buses. Saw a camel at the bottom of the hill.
The drive to Kas is supposed to take 4 hours according to the GPS and the guide book…I did it in 2. Really I’m kinda pissed at the guide book, they talk about the roads and how the signage is bad and they may be dangerous. We’ve had absolutely no need for our GPS, infact it’s a good thing because the goofy thing won’t stay in the cigarette lighter and the battery is run down…waste of money, the road signage is Turkey is superb, its on par with anything in the US
We took the “short cut” to Kas by bypassing Fethiye and it supposedly saved us 25 km’s, but I’m doubtful that it was faster, just shorter. It is definetly the scenic route though. It’s the road that takes you to Sakelient Gorge, and the other side of the road from there is like the lost road of Turkey that no tourist has probably been done in 3 years. This thing takes you through some mountain dirt roads with no guardrails peering over the edge of a 900’ cliff…pretty amazing. But the coolest thing about the detour is that we stumbled upon Gakilent Canyon. There is a little gravel road and a small sign with a picture of a waterfall. Heather gets full credit for this discovery, she said lets go check it out…so we did. After about a mile drive done this white gravel road twisting through farms and past houses it opened up on to a big black canvas tent and parking area. No cars in the lot, and certainly no tour buses
Back on the road we finally made it to the coastal road and saw the Mediterranean Sea again…oh how blue you are. We quickly arrived at Kaputas Beach and went down the nice set of stairs to enjoy the last rays of sun. Heather is in love, except for the pebbles, I think they are great, they don’t get all up in your creaveses like sand does, they don’t stick to you, they don’t get into your clothes and bags, they don’t gum up your camera lens, etc. Just nice round pebbles that you can easily brush off…I’m in love, with this beach, and Heather of course. J
As the sun was starting to set, we arrived in Kas and our Hotel. Hotel Begonvil. Its beautiful from the outside, the inside is nice, and it looks fairly new. The bed sucks…we have 2 singles, “I push together for you for big bed” said the front desk worker. It has a fitted sheet, but only some double thick sheet to sleep under, not even a blanket. Its hard as a rock, the pillow is harder…maybe like steel? The room does have a great sea view though. We changed and headed down to the square for dinner. We are very turned off by the aggressive sales techniques of the restaurants