Pamukkale, Hierapolis, and Laodicea

In the morning I woke up early at the Hal Tur Hotel, and had a pretty disappointing breakfast (well, compared to Kelebek Hotel) across the room from a British family.  I then headed right across the street to climb up Pamukkale.

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I’m not really sure which way is the way to get up on the bus or main road, but I went for the one that went up the side of the travertines.  Because they are such a fragile structure, you’re not allowed to wear shoes.  A security guard watches as you take your shoes off.  I’m usually pretty cold, so I was not all that excited about this.  It was cold walking on the stone at first, and painful, the cold went right to my bones!  By the way, none of that white nonsense in the pictures is snow, it’s all the calcified rock!

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EVENTUALLY the hot water kicked in, and it was just amazing.  There was a couple with their dogs just ahead of me, and they were having a ball running through all the little pools.

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Once you get to the top of Pamukkale, you are greeted with a huge complex of Greek ruins!

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As I came around the side, I saw that the travertines had “swallowed up” part of the ruins.

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There was a museum, but it was closed that day (most Turkish museums are closed one day a week).  I didn’t really feel like I missed out since I got to see some amazing sculptures in Aphrodisias.

There was also something called Cleopatra’s Pool, which I hemmed and hawed about paying the extra entrance fee for.  I, for some idiot reason, forgot my towel, even though I had read you needed to bring one or be charged for one at the top.  At least I remembered to wear my bathing suit underneath.  I talked with some nice boys originally from Hong Kong, currently living in Chicago and London, respectively, and they were like, hey, you came all the way here, it would be a waste not to go in.  I decided, yeah, I did come all this way, so I shelled out the 30 lira [!] entrance fee (Pamukkale itself is already 20 lira) PLUS another 12 lira for a tiny towel, stripped down and joined them.

From Tours4Turkey website (edited for grammar):

Especially in The Roman Empire period, Hierapolis and its side was a health centre. In that years, thousands of people were coming to the Baths (more than 15)….Today’s Antique Pool was shaped by the earthquake which happened in A.D. VII. Century. The marble portic with Ionic arrangement fell into the spring during the earthquake in VII. Century A.D.

According to research, the Antique pools water is good for heart diseases, atherosclerosis, blood pressure, rheumatism, eye and skin diseases, rickets, nervous disorders, nervous system and physical exhaustion, and circulatory problems.  Furthermore, drinking it is good for digestive maladies. All these benefits show why so many health centers had been founded at the Antique Pool from Roman Empire times on.

Cleopatra’s Pool

The water in the termal pool is 36 C°- 57 C°,PH value is 5,8 and radon value is1480 piccocuri/liter. Spa water has its inside bicarbonate, sulphate, carbon dioxide, partly with iron and radioactive combination. And also, the water in this spring is suitable for taking shower and drinking cures, 2430 MG/liter melt metal value.

I didn’t take these pictures since I was swimming, but it did feel like living in the lap of luxury.  Negative points: the “DJ” who had a TV blasting MTV over the speakers.

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I really love hot springs and even though these weren’t ridiculously hot, and pretty expensive, they were nice and absolutely too cool.  Be careful when knocking about the pool for all those rocks and pillars!

I got back to the car and found someone had parked in front of me even though I was side-parked, so I decided to get lunch.  I found a nice place called Mustafa Restaurant, which had decided to appeal to the hoardes of Korean and Chinese visitors by offering some dishes on their menu, and my Taiwanese buddy from the Kapadokya tour recommended to me.  I didn’t mention this previously, but there were a TON of Koreans in Turkey.  Busloads.  Literally.  Apparently the airfares are pretty cheap and they’re into all that nature stuff.  And also Turkish ice cream, just google youtube for a “Turkish ice cream” and you’ll see what I mean.  Anyway, Mustafa saw me, a single young lady sitting alone, and headed right over to do his shtick.  He did impressions of “typical men” from all different countries, and vaguely outright hit on me in that way that only greasy fat old men can get away with.  It was pretty funny though.  When I mentioned that I was studying acupuncture, however, we had a more serious talk.  It turned out that he had been having severe back pain, had undergone surgeries, all these drugs, it kept getting worse.  Then he finally saw an acupuncturist who worked wonders, and his pain almost completely subsided.  One more for the natural route!  I gave him the name of Dr. Onur Aydınoğlu in Istanbul if he ever chanced to find himself there and in need of an acupuncturist.  Overall the food was good and cheap, I think I paid 10 lira for a full 3-course meal, I couldn’t finish it and it was tasty and cozy.  I’d consider staying at the hostel the next time too.

I went back to the car in wait of my prey- the driver of the car parked in front of me.  In the meantime I THOUGHT about getting a ride to the airport with this guy:

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Finally the driver came back and pulled out, which allowed me to be on my way.

I made one last stop at a site called Laodikya.  This is the “Laodicea” mentioned in the Bible, and was a Greek, then Roman city.  The exciting thing about these ruins is that they were only discovered recently, and digs are still actively going on.  In fact, a score of archeologists and their helpers were just coming off their lunch break when I was there.

It was really cool to see this site that was under current renovation.  It’s 1 km or so off to the R of the road just before the turn to get back on the road to the airport, lots of signs.

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Can you make out the guys coming off break?

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I didn’t stall out once the whole ride to the airport, and even got to 4th gear!  Yayness.  I was pretty relieved to be on my way to Istanbul and done with the whole car adventure thing.

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Unfortunately fate had other plans for me than leaving Denizli so soon….

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