Pamukkale & Hierapolis

Trip Start Mar 05, 2013
Trip End Jul 28, 2013

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Flag of Turkey  , Denizli,
Saturday, May 4, 2013


Pamukkale is a spectacular white mountainside, with thick white layers of limestone and travertine cascading downhill like a frozen waterfall. Located next to ruins of an ancient Roman city, Heiropolis (City of Healing) with a checked history of who was in charge and famed as a centre of healing, or spa town. The region has 80% of Turkey's hot springs (over 2,000) and just there, the water is pH 6.67 with a year round temperature of 35-36 degrees – warm body temperature, so perfect for a healing spa.  Quite a long list of claims to what bathing in it will cure, from skin complaints to internal ills including troubles with the liver, bugs, constipation, stomach problems and bronchitis.  It also became renowned for beauty therapy – with our guide assuring us we would look ten years younger (almost unrecognisable) if we went for a swim. So, bathed in the same pool as Cleopatra and Mark Anthony....and was not concerned about a foot cut from the sharp edge of an old Roman column on the base of the pool, given the water's medicinal properties

The region still experiences around 10-15 earthquakes each day, and although there were some that historically wiped out the town, on the day we visited, we didn’t feel a thing.

Near the town site there is a church dedicated to Saint Philip who was martyred around 80 AD at that location.

Told the best way to view the site was by air – in fact by paraglider.  So, off we went to a nearby high hilltop – and jumped off! Well, not quite so simple, when Captain Go Pro tried to take off with his guy Leo, a freak gust of wind sent them sprawling back into the hillside – a somewhat dramatic start to the flight! Next attempt went smoothly and Roxane and Mahmet followed shortly behind.  Speccy views of the surrounding landscape, gliding over the white mountain side and landing in a nearby wheat paddock. What a great way to travel!  Sweltering in around 30 degree sunshine at the bottom of the valleylooking up at snow-capped mountains not far away.

Late afternoon drive down to Marmaris to board the boat ready for a coastal cruise. Landscape was a mixture of rocky and in some places snow-capped mountains, with expansive river flood plains supporting orchards (strawberries, olives, peaches, figs) and paddocks of grain (wheat). Driver, Ali, made the trip in good time, often doing around 130 km / hour in 70 zones (mountain bends) – between radar checks and he deftly fastened his seat belt only when he saw traffic police!

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