Pamukkale, Hierapolis, Antalya
'Cotton Castle' in Turkish.
the Tourist Turkey award goes to Pamukkale,
a shadow of its former
cotton candy self, with barely enough drifting calcium left to wet the feet of a busload of sticky tourists, let alone the dozens that belch up daily and release swarms of sweating waddlers onto the dazzling white calcium terraces so lovingly developed by the Romans and ruined by local authority meddling in the 90's.
Pamukkale is 170 km (105 miles) from Selcuk, near Ephesus.
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email tuts1384, UK (July 2010), a rather long but educational and hilarious account of a classic Turkish rip-off:
I recently went for a week's holiday to Gumbet near Bodrum and was enticed into a day trip to see one of the 'wonders' of the world, Pamukkale.
We were told that it would be a four and a half hour coach trip leaving our hotel at 6am and be spending a day, playing in the pools, seeing all the sites and historical monuments that Pamukkale has to offer and shown a variety of photographs boasting brilliant white cliffs, beautfiul pools and general holiday merriment, how excited we were, but oh how different it turned out to be.
We were picked up on time at 6am only to be toured around in a small minivan whilst we waited 30 minutes for our fellow passengers, okay not the travel companies fault. By 7.15am we finally arrived at our transfer point we we boarded a large coach, again lacking air conditioning.
We travelled with a breakfast stop at 9am and were told we would be leaving at 9.20am leaving a full two minutes to wolf down a rather suspicious looking croissant and luke warm coffee before heading back to the coach. We arrived at a TURKISH RUG FACTORY at 12.00 noon....hang on a minute when was this mentioned in the big sell?!!
We endured 2 hours of the turkish rugs, followed by 'lunch' which consisted of a buffet of barely edible produce and rotten fruit.
We finally arrived at Pamukkale at 2pm, again travelling in 34 degree heat, non air conditioned, lovely. So a total of 8 hours travelling only to be told by our 'guide' that we would be leaving at 4pm, yes 2 whole hours yipee!
Our guide, after settling himself down in the restaurant told us where the pools were, the white cliffs and the historic monuments all from the comfort of his seat by gesticulating with his hand in the directions of the sights, leaving us to find our own way.
The 'wonder of the world' consisted of a series of small to middling sized murkey puddles that you could easily recreate by washing hair in the bath and then returning to it after a few minutes.
I must admit the small uniformed man who stands guard over the puddles warning off all would be flip flop wearers from wading in without first removing footwear by blowing his whistle and flailing arms and shouting loudly did bring a small amount of entertainment.
We returned back to Gumbet at 10.30pm (we were told it would be 10.00pm) thus missing our hotel evening meal and therefore had to seek alternative nourishment from Gumbet centre.
I am sure this site would be a lot more enjoyable if staying in a part of Turkey nearer to Pamukkale itself and with considerably less time taken travelling but personally if you are going to Gumbet I wouldn't bother it is a lot of hassle for little reward.
Close up of Pamukkale calcium deposits.
However! If Pamukkale is more-or-less on your way somewhere and you can get there early or late and prepare to enjoy the thermal baths for an hour or two after a little walk around the diminuitive ruins of Hierapolis, you will probably enjoy the experience!
Hierapolis, right next to Pamukkale.
The Thermal Baths.
The ruins of 190 BC Hierapolis cure centre next to Pamukkale are wonderfully
atmospheric and hardly visited by the tour bus folk. Hierapolis' sacred
pool has metamorphosed into the pay-to-enter Pamukkale Termal pool.
This is a wonderfully calm experience, with the naturally warm and curative
waters washing over ancient fluted marble colums and freshly sunburnt
skin in a glowing, tranquil environment. Worth every cent it costs for a two hour immersion.
But for really relaxed watering head for the Mediterranean beaches like this at Antalya, Konyaalti Beach.
Antalya is a massive modern city on the Turkish Mediterranean coast, with a small, attractive historic center, a fine archeology museum, several lengthy and well sorted beaches, a variety of decent hotels, panoramic mountain and sea views and plenty of things to do. Also, crucially, the Turquoise Coast's busiest airport.
Nemrut Dagi (Mount Nimrod)
Mt Nemrut is an astonishing sight but not easy to get to, being at 2,150m (7054ft), far east of Goreme and just south of Malatya (70 kms/44 miles) in eastern Turkey. The hike from the car park to the top of the artificial mountain top scattered with giant heads will take about 20 minutes and may be chilly, even in mid summer. Beware altitude sickness or at least shortage of breath/headaches.
Sumela Monastery, near Trabazon.
To escape the tourist hordes, Turkey's northwest region, such as Trabazon on the Black Sea, offers a look at the ancient but less-trod attractions that are home to real Turkish people who amazingly have no intention to sell you a carpet and wouldn't have the English necessary to do it anyway!
That's the end of this photo gallery.
Whatever you do, wherever you go, enjoy Turkey!
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