Pamukkale - Pretty...Pristine...Perfect

Trip Start Jul 06, 2008
Trip End Aug 18, 2008

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Flag of Turkey  , Denizli,
Thursday, July 24, 2008

This was incredible...

On our way to Pamukkale, we met a kind English couple on our bus ride to Pamukkale, Bea and John.  Bea was actually Turkish and had a hotel booked for them already.  Offered for us to share their free ride to the hotel which sounded just like the one we had so enjoyed in Fethiye. 

We thanked them with a smile and discussed a few of the sights that we might go to see when we arrived.  Although they were likely going to be talking in some extra sights and ruins all around the general area, we were leaning a bit more towards just doing the main Pamukkale tavertines as we would be seeing many more ruins in Efes and Athens as well. 

The mountain-like hill that is covered in white calcium build-up has the appearance of an icy ski-hill.  It was a very hot day though - and no snow anywhere.  We began our walk up the site and found it pleasantly grippy the whole way even thought the ground was covered with trickling water from the overflowing pools.  It was great to be able to walk in the pools - some people were even swimming and wading in them.  We took our time as we wandered up and took many pictures along the way.  Once we were at the top, we could see ruins in the background.  This used to be an anceint city where many people lived, but due to frequent earthquakes, the citizens upped and moved. 

The large tourist boom of the 80s and 90s all but destroyed many of the natural pools here.  This is why there are a few man-made ones lining the walk on the way up.  There are still some beautiful natural pools as well - although not all of them have the water in them anymore, and there are also some areas that tourists can no longer go - although they are not fenced off, rather there are signs stating where you can and can not go and there are officials standing at key locations with a whistle and, like a lifeguard, they will blow their whistle if you venture into an off-limits area.  For some tourists, this appeared to be little more than a small annoyance as they would continue wandering as they pleased - taking pictures and ignoring the whistle blasts.  A few (actually most) would even stop, turn to look at the official, and then continue on their merry way wrecking more of the site with every step - and ruining chances for the rest of us to get pictures without them in it

We followed a somewhat rickety wooden boardwalk around the back of the site which led to some beautiful natural pools sparkling in the sun. 

Here's a question:

How long does it take an overweight Asian in a pink golf shirt to put on his shoes?
(Go ahead.  Yell our your answer.  Compare it with loved ones.  We will tell you at the bottom of this entry).

As we came around a corner of the boardwalk, a large area with some beautifully tiered natural pools - still filled with water opened up before us.  Unfortunately, a group of about 20 people were frollicking in them.  (Mr. McPink-erson Golf Shirt included).  We were waiting for this group to vacate the area and were feeling horribly embarrassed on behalf of all tourists when the official had blasted his whistle for about the 100th time and was now violently waving them in and out of the 'no-zone' area.  They continued to take their sweet time, and others even jumped in to join them.  One French family in particular were really rude.  The parents were encouraging their kids to go into the pools so they could get a picture of them there.  The brother and sister did not appear overly pleased - although they seemed to get over this fairly quickly as they too ignored the official desperately trying to empty this natural area.  The father walked out onto the pools with his camera - looked at the official - told his kids where to stand - and continued talking pictures - absolutely no regard and no respect for the authority put in place to help protect this area. 

(Quick side-note:  The Asian in the pink golf shirt is still bent over (in this pool) tying shoes.  Those who guessed 10 minutes - you better guess again). 

There was a small group of people next to us on the boardwalk with English accents who we couldn't help but overhear complaining about the people in the pools.  We smiled at them and agreed.  They became so frustrated with the French family in particular that one of them -  an older gentleman, walked out into the pools as well and stood directly - we mean directly - like inches away from the father's camera.  When the father would turn to take another picture - the Engish guy would move and step infront of him.  This was somewhat encouraged by the laughing coming from our direction.  When the English man returned, he said, "Well, the French guy got some very nice pictures of my hat".  Finally, the French family began walking out of the pools and back towards the boardwalk.  This was immediately followed by some cheers and clapping from the English group.  (We like these folks!)

(Quick side-note #2:  Mr. McPinkerson Golf Shirt is still tying his shoes and his back must be killing him from being bent over so long.  Would it be too difficult to pick up the shoes and carry them to the walkway?  Thus getting out of the area - which, in turn, would stop the whistle blowing and also would allow the rest of us a picture without a man in a pink shirt in it???  Is this too much to ask???  Seriously!)

We wandered up a small hill past a tree to get a better view of the pools - hoping that by the time we were there, the McPink shirt would be gone.  Not gone yet.  Still bent there.  (Perhaps he is a fountain we did not know about?)  No!!!  It moves!  It moves!  It's ALIVE!!!  The Asian man stood up straight and began walking towards the boardwalk.  More cheers and clapping from the English group - and NOW we can all take pictures.  Yeesh!

For those of you keeping track - it was nearly 30 minutes that he was tying his shoes. 

Any winners?
Did you know that was even possible????
There is probably a special school that teaches shoe tying and all kinds of tying for that matter....

Stay tuned for more about the ruins later.

Hugs and Love,
Dana and Trevor

OK we're back!  Where were we???  ......the ruins at Pamukkale...

We spent a good hour and a half putzing through the ruins in addition to wandering through the tavertine pools. The ruins were good to see as well - although we were far more blown away by the white covered slopes and pools that led us up to the ruins.  The real beautiful part was that the sun was setting as we were walking through them.  There were various tombs, a full cemetary, pillars and archways that led into the ancient city and a theatre/stadium once again.  We did not come across any more shoe-tying-impaired-tourists, so we were quite pleased with our stroll for the evening. 

(Mr. Pinkerson Golf Shirt must have had to begin his 17 hour descent back down again).

We caŭght the full sunset and were able to actually watch the sun sink down behind a mountainous landscape - it is odd how you can do that in some places.  A matter of 5 minutes and the full blazing circle was completely gone!  We began making our way back towards the white sparking pools, preparing for our own tread back down white, rocky surface.  This was quite spectacular as well since there were a few lights along certain pathways, and some of the natural pools almost seemed to glow blue in the moonlight.  We took our time heading back down, pausing to look in all directions before completely leaving this place.

When we arrived at the bottom, we realized that we were both quite hungry - hadn't eaten since breakfast!  A restaurant right at the bottom was very alluring, and the menu as well as the prices were well suited to us.  So there we sat, with a view of the shining, sparking, calcium covered slopes above us, as we ate a delicious meal (and had a beer of course), before resting up for our trip to Efes. 

Hugs and Love,
Dana and Trevor
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