.... and no Mum, we didnt get married.
03.05.2012 - 04.05.2012
If there is a Hell, I call it Turkeys overnight buses. We arrived off ours in Pamukkale at 6am, after getting zero sleep. We had heard various things about the natural wonder of this place, everything from enthusiastic endorsements to tales of bitter disappointment, either way we were here to see for ourselves.
So we had 2 hours to kill before the grounds were to open, so sat and had a tea with two American girls we had met the night before. They were nice and inspired us with travel tales and the adventures of living abroad. One lived in Spain and the other in Lebanon.
We planned the day to involve trekking through the ruins of the ancient city in the hills, Hierapolis , followed by checking out the famous travertines, the white pools of water which the mountains spring water flowed over. The water contained special minerals which resulted in a very unique white build up to form. So we did the opposite to what most the visitors do and explored the ruins first, given us a down hill run to the water. Alone on the hill we casually strolled through the ancient remains and rumble of a civilisation lost, its history scattered nonchalantly across the plain. Some structures were magnificently intact, while others not so much.
Interestingly though, we soon saw three other people, two Japanese girls led by a Turkish guide. Upon passing, the guide looked at us strangely and then asked if we were CouchSurfers. Stating she had recognised us from the website, she all but abandoned her clients and started chatting with us. She seemed nice for a while and I though we might be getting a free private tour, but after asking where she learnt Japanese she suddenly turned very racist and aggressive towards the Japanese people. Now we don’t like racism at the best of time, but we love Japan and its people, and had an amazing time as guests in their country, so we got away from her at the earliest opening.
Following that unpleasantness, Mels legs started hurting. The overnight buses hadn’t done them very good, and they were swelling up and causing her quite a bit of pain. We found a place to sit and chill for a bit while they recovered somewhat, and then checked out an old ruined theatre.
Then onwards to the springs. They were amazing. Again, unlike anything we had seen to date. The blue and the white combination was magical. We took our shoes off and went for a walk through the pools of water, which has long believed to contain healing properties, along with the white mud like substance that rests underneath. I do know that our feet have never felt so smooth for days afterwards, but in terms of medicinal properties, I think I benefited more from the laughter brought on by half-wit girls posing for photos like they were supermodels. I am always a fan of watching the posses of others, and getting your boyfriend or friend to take a photo of you making love to a waterfall is bar far one of the most ridiculous. The amount of pouted fish lips and hair flicks I have seen can rival that of US's deep south beauty contest judges. Ah, there I go again, I start talking about real, natural beauty and end up talking about hollow, superficial vanity. Whoops, my bad. Pamukkale is spectacular, and I'm glad we didn’t pass it as originally planned.
Having to wait for the bus to Selcuk a few hours away, we walked around the town a bit and got some excellent gozlemes from a nice little restaurant. We also tried the traditional Turkish ice cream, made from goats milk, which gave it a whole new consistency. It was quite delicious.
We arrived to Selcuk a few hours later, just in time for dinner at Atillas Getaway, an excellent Hostel/Resort which is listed among the best in town. It was easy to see why, as the place was gorgeous. It had a well constructed resort theme going on, the staff were lovely and the food was amazing. Unfortunately we hadn’t slept in like three days thanks to overnight buses, so we crashed straight afterwards and couldn’t socialise, which I think is what the whole place is set up for.
The next morning we headed for Ephesus, which is one of the largest remaining and well preserved ancient cities around today. It didn’t disappoint. We took our time in the sun, seeking shade inside the century old structures. Tour groups sped past in hordes, their guides being useful to gather bits of information from that wasn't displayed on the info boards.
There were a few highlights one was the enclosed area of villas, an excavation site dedicated to the preservation of the housing occupied by the rich. Set up on the hill it showcased decadent rooms and mosaics and lavish paintings from an ancient time.
The next highlight was the library. Although mostly reconstructed by modern teams as opposed to preserved, this structure is quite imposing and beautiful. The facades is the most well known symbol of the city, but we actually found inside to be really calm and peaceful, and its energy caused us to just sit there and chill for a while, embracing the ambience.
Moving on we hit the theatre, of which its size and design is magnificent, particularly when thinking about when and how it was constructed.
That night we had another awesome dinner and a few drinks by the open fire at Atillas. We met a bunch of other travellers and shared stories from the road, and really had a good relax. Atilla, the Turkish/Australian owner, came down and had a few beers with us and it was a really cool vibe.
The next day we had free to explore Selcuk some more. Timing had it that there was a massive market in town that day, so we went in and explored and purchased some local produce. It was a good day to chill and catch up on the sanity lost from fast paced travelling. Luckily we did, as we had another overnight bus that night. Plus, Atilla had lent me his clippers, so I discarded the hairy beast face I had been sporting, and was now clean shaven for some fun in the sun.
Funnily enough, you could throw a stone to the Greek islands from the Turkish coast, where we were very near to, but we found ourselves having to get an overnight bus back to Istanbul, then a plane to Athens, then another plane to our Greek island of choice. We had absolutely loved all of Turkey that we experienced. Truly loved it. We cant wait to go back. But the transport system was a pain in the arse. Luckily though, all that travelling, all the pain of buses and trains and planes, all the hassle and stress to make connections or the draining boredom to wait for them, all of that disappeared, when we saw our first sunset on Santorini.