Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pamukkale & Hieropolis, Turkey


Destination: Pamukkale, Turkey

Number of Days Spent: 2 days

Where we stayed: Venus Hotel - 24 Euros ($35) with breakfast, wifi & a first for us on this trip...a pool! Very friendly and helpful family run staff with mom in the kitchen and son running the place.

Best restaurant: Dinner at the hotel was very nice! (17 lira, $11)

Best of: The sun setting across the travertines is stunning!

Worst of: Our direct bus wasn't so direct. Instead of going into town the bus driver called his friend, a dodgy hotel owner of course, to pick us up from the highway and to try to persuade us to stay at his hotel. From the highway we proceeded to the gas station (where he abducted the gas attendant's puppy with the help of the two Aussie girls he had brought from the hotel to go for a "ride"), then the grocery store (had to get supplies for a big BBQ that night) and then finally a shipping warehouse to pick up a carpet before finally being deposited at our original hotel 2 hours later than expected all the while telling us to come stay at his hotel.

Most Memorable: Walking barefoot up the travertine was a terrific experience!

Yet another Unesco World Heritage Site, Pamukkale's petrified waterfalls, aka travertines were the next stop on our Turkey itinerary. Formed by white calcium deposits left from the water, the hill at first glance appears covered in snow. Once you get closer (and the obvious temperature outside) you you begin to see the pools of water mixed in.

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We decided to wait until the afternoon to start the hike up, both for the heat and to be at the top closer to sunset. The walk takes about 30 minutes as you have to walk barefoot, plus we like to stop and take photos.

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Above the travertine stands the ancient city of Hieropolis. Its ruins are scattered around the area and like many in Turkey, are quite well preserved. Hieropolis' claim to fame is its preserved 12,000 seat Roman theater. After the crowds of Ephesus the ruins of Hierapolis were a joy to wander through!

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Aside from the ruins and the travertines, there is not much else but the town is pleasant enough for a night or two and with plenty of competition, the hotels offer loads of amenities that you don't normally see in this price range.

To see more photos from Pamukkale please click here!

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