Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Hello Pamukkale

Last night after watching Fenerbache go 2 goals behind before half time I decided to leave Mr Blues and go to bed at a reasonable time. In the morning I went online to check out the result. They managed to get back into the match, draw level and win it on penalties! Damn…missed a good game of football.

Today I repacked my rucksack slightly better than previously but it’s still too heavy!

I thought about catching a minibus to the station but the taxi rank was just to close for me to ignore. Besides it’s only money.

The bus ride was an easy 3.5 hours to Denizil. Once again, the road snaked over the mountains and slivered across the valleys and plains. From the approach to Denizil down into the valley, I could see the reason for why I was coming here. Across the valley several miles away was the natural wonder at Pamukkale.
At this distance it looked like a seagull’s dropping on a khaki jacket. (Don’t worry the view got better)

Once I had disembarked at the station it was straight on board a minibus for the 20 minute ride to the village of Pamukkale.

I got off on “Main Street” and followed the signs to the hostel that I had booked online a few days earlier.

It’s the off season now for tourists and they are busy refurbishing the hostel in time for the start of the new season that starts next month. On the ground floor outside all the rooms were cupboards, dressers, beds and mattress lying around in various heaps and piles.
On the plus side, my second floor room had already been finished and the beds got a duvet…it doesn’t take much to make me happy these days!

I settled in and then went for a walk around the village. Ten minutes later I was back at the hostel. Yep! It’s a small village. I did come across somewhere to eat so, I am hopping back into “town” for dinner tonight. You never know might even find a place showing the Chelsea match…now that would be nice!

Two nights should be long enough here. The 6 nations are on over the weekend and somewhere in Selcuk should be showing it. In the morning I’ll once again be with camera.

Thursday the 6th of March

Today was a day for walking. The reason for my visit here in Pamukkale was to check out the old ruined city of Hierapolis and of the course the Travertines.

Firstly the travertines. The award for how to completely ruin the thing that has drawn people here for centuries goes to: The Local Turkish Government! Way to go guys!!! (In the 1990s the local authorities undertook a development campaign meant to improve the spa and increase tourism. Misconceived in some ways, the development, along with changes in Turkey's entire tourism picture, resulted in fewer visitors.)

Despite this it was still worth coming. The entrance is just across the road from the village. The day was overcast but bright so the sunlight was reflecting diffusely off the white of the calcium deposits.
It’s about a 300m walk along the path and you have to go barefooted. This I found out near the top when a tourist policeman shouted “Oi, shoes off”. Is putting up a sign Sooooo difficult!
Although the amount of water that travels across the escarpment is now zero (and you are no longer allowed to walk off the path) it is still an amazing geological event. At least it is still here unlike the one in New Zealand.

Once you reach the top the 1st place to go to is the small museum. It has 3 large vaulted rooms in what was the old bath house. The rest of the bath house is closed to the public due to ongoing excavation works.

From there you are free to roam and I did.

1st to the southern Byzantine gate, along old goat paths to the restored theatre. Then more goat paths to the church built on the site where Saint Philip was meant to of come a cropper i.e. martyred. After that, yep, more goat paths to the unrestored theatre (my personal favourite). Passing through the necropolis on my way to the northern end of the site.
After that a slow meander back down the travertines.

In the evening I went back to the travertines. The place is lit up at night and I hoped to take some adequate shots (notice I didn’t use the word good…for that I would need a tripod)

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