Saturday, 17 May 2014

traveltalk turkey: pamukkale & ephesus

Getting out of Istanbul and down to the south showed a whole other amazing side of Turkey, from thermal pools to ancient ruins.


The first full day of the tour involved a loooooong bus ride south. Thankfully it got warmer the further south we went, which was exciting, and we ended up in an amazing place, Pam Thermal Hotel, complete with thermal pools.

Pool and thermal pools at our hotel

This was also the beginning of the epic buffets. I don't normally stay in hotels when I travel so that was a novelty for me, and the hotels had amazing buffet dinners and breakfasts. Cue me eating about 4 plates of dinner every night...

Pamukkale means "cotton-castle" in Turkish, and you can see why they named it this because the calcium deposits and thermal pools cover the hillside. This is the only place where this occurs in the world, since the pink and white terraces in New Zealand were destroyed by the Mount Tarawera volcanic eruption in 1886.

How the pools look from down below

At the top of the hill looking down over the village
Amazing formations overlooking the town and mountains
Pools going down the mountain

Cleopatra pool

There is a pool you that Cleopatra purportedly swam in with ancient ruins in it, but it costs money to use, whereas the terrace pools on the hillside are free and contain the calcium deposits so that you can make a mask for your skin. We did this and it was awesome, although it is only about knee deep!

Looking over the bigger pools which you cant swim in for preservation reasons

At the top of the "cotton castle"

The top of the hill is also the site of the ancient city of Hierapolis. We only had time to run up to the theatre on the hill, but as it was my first time visiting like this I thought it was really cool.

The old theatre

It was much bigger than it looks!

And the day was only half over! We got back on the bus to head to our next destination, stopping at Ephesus on the way.

The ruins of Ephesus are important because they are so in tact. Ephesus was mentioned in the Book of Revelation as one of the seven churches of Asia. It is believed the Gospel of John may have been written here and that Mary may have lived there at some point.

Goddess Nike - where the Nike tick comes from!

Ruins of Ephesus

Walking down one of the main streets

Old road in Ephesus

Where a statue of Atlas with his foot on a globe stood - somehow they knew the world was round!

Mosaic street for the rich people to walk on

Facade of the library - located next to the first ever brothel!
Me at the entrance to the library

Early marketing - a prostitutes foot advertising the brothel nearby

Having not been to Greece or Italy yet I haven't really seen ruins like these before, so it was a new experience and strange to think of people actually living there.

What is believed to be the largest ancient outdoor theatre in the world - and still missing two levels

Near the top of the theatre

Theatre from a distance
The huge day continued with those who wanted to being dropped at a Hamam near where we were staying in Kusadasi. A Hamam is a Turkish bath, which involves going in a sauna/steam room, before being fulling scrubbed down and then given a soap massage. A very interesting experience to say the least since we were told woman and men would be separated and instead we were in a big room all together with tiny towels and the scrub and massage was done by men! They were super professional though and my skin did feel amazing afterwards.

Coming out of the Turkish Bath

We stayed at a really nice hotel from which you could see some of the Greek Islands! That night was a big night out in Kusadasi at a local place where a lot of other tour groups were. Me and a few of the other girls left when a woman came out with a trunk full of snakes she started dancing with and headed to a nearby Irish bar - there's one in every place!

Being random in a club in Turkey!


Hard to tell but that's a GIANT SNAKE

A huge day, with so many amazing activities. Definitely an area of Turkey I would love to go back to and explore more.


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