It started raining the evening before. Since I have arrived, not one drop. But then in the evening the flood gates opened and it poured down hard. Which was perfect because the land needed it and when I was picked up for my trip to Pamukkale it had already stopped. And here is where my error lay. It hadn’t stopped, it had just moved on in exactly the direction where I was going. So once we arrived in Pamukkale we were back in the downpour.
The clouds above the hills and mountains looked amazing in their formations and once we arrived in Aiden (a city on the road to Pamukkale) there was the sun shining on the Turkish panel flats. They look amazing in their ugliness. I know I sound like a judgmental bitch, but it’s not as we don’t have same ugliness in Vienna. One has to appreciate the beauty in it.
Finally we made it to Pamukkale which means “Cotton Castle” in Turkish. Upon arrival it didn’t look like much. It was too foggy to see it from afar and when you enter the “World Heritage Site” the white stuff is actually below. So not so impressive in the beginning. What I didn’t know was that at the same site was also a city called Hierapolis and this is where we entered. Founded in the 3rd century BC it still has a theater for 18k people and quite a lot of other stuff that I didn’t see. Neither of our group was in the mood to walk around in the rain for long. So we made straight for the museum which is at the site (so great to leave the artefacts actually on site) and got a good look at what has been found there.
The museum by the way is housed in the former spa area. When you look at the diadems above, I liked the one in front with the gold leaves the best. It looks a bit like the laurel wreath the Roman emperors were wearing. Not so shabby when you imagine yourself entering a ball with this in your hair? I can picture these three beauties with diadems in the hair dancing the night away. This must have been one very rich city by the look of it.
And blessedly it stopped raining for a bit because by then I had frostbite on my toes and I wanted nothing more than wade into the hot spring and revive myself. The pictures in the guide-book were of course super misleading because since the eighties it has been forbidden to bathe in the springs on site (why the books then still use these old pictures is a mystery to me). When Pamukkale has been declared a “World Heritage Site” it had to demolish the hotels on site and bathing was forbidden. One travertine was opened especially for tourists and there I headed in the wake of a bus load of Japanese tourists. Which was great, they are super friendly, always asking if they can take your picture and know how to take one. Lucky me!
It’s also interesting to see what happens when the water stops coming. Because then nature starts to take over again.
And so that you get an impression on how cold it was…
These are the springs that are feeding the site. In the meantime they have of course been regulated and the growth of the site is controlled.
As you can see the pools have lots of different colors. This comes from the the minerals in the water (iron, sulphur). All in all we spent about 2 hours at the site, way too little to really see everything, but enough in this cold and dreary weather. I think April is the perfect time to visit it because you can really appreciate the warmth of the springs, it was just bad luck that we had rain. Also there are not a lot of tourists anywhere. I can imagine in summer this most be super crowded. From there we went for another abominable lunch. I really don’t understand what’s the point of serving this awful food especially since Turkey has a wonderful cuisine on its own. To make you fully appreciate my sentiment we were treated to Spaghetti Bolognese, fish fingers, chicken and Moussaka.
Later on I found out that only I have such delicate taste buds because the family from Rostock/Germany who was with me on the day trip thought the lunch delicious. Anyway, I shouldn’t complain because that’s what I booked.
The best was yet to come though, at least in a culinary way because in the cultural department my wishes had already been fulfilled. We stopped next to the road at a little kiosk and I bought fresh strawberries. Wow, full taste bud explosion! Yours, Pollybert