The healing waters of Pamukkale

by CameronM Sun, October 05 2003 06:30

After spending several days in Selcuk, where the average stay is 2 nights top, we were ready to reignite the "don't stop moving" motto and headed to Pamukkale, about 3 hours away by bus. Pamukkale has been a tourist mecca since the earliest Greek times, as evidenced by the ruins at Hierapolis, possibly the world’s first spa town. The ruins are nothing compared to Ephesus, however there is a large cemetery, which contains all manner of monuments to the dead, who had obviously come for a week and stayed a lot longer.

The main attraction is the natural terraces of Pamukkale, created by calcium rich water flowing down the mountain from hot springs that would appear never to run dry. The result is a multitude of small pools where it is rumoured you can look 20 years younger after even a brief swim. Unfortunately, due to the heavy usage and resulting destruction of the site, authorities have stopped all swimming in the natural pools, although many hotels in the area have pools filled with the same water. The water itself looks bright aqua, set against the stark white backdrop of the terraces and the whole mountain side can be seen from several miles away.
 
Don't expect to get lonely, with up to 10000 visitors a day, Pamukkale is packed with tourists, who for some strange reason, feel very comfortable wearing not much, while walking around the site (and some of them really should rethink they current fashion choices).
 
We stayed overnight in the town of Pamukkale, situated below the terraces. I got the sense that this didn't happen often, as many of the locals were amused by us and the town lacks all the usual tourist trappings, like carpet shops. The people are nice though and we had a good discussion with the local bus agent, who was obviously bored out of his brain and invited us for a cup of tea.

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Turkey

Ephesus - some of the best Roman ruins

by CameronM Thu, October 02 2003 06:16

The town of Selcuk (Selçuk), like Canakkale is made famous by its proximity to greatness. In Selcuk's case it's the ruins of Roman Ephesus. The vast city, like Troy, received prominence because of it's access to the sea, which now lies a good 4 kilometres away (somewhere at the end of harbour street).
 
The ruins have been partially restored so that visitors can get a feeling for life in the metropolis. There is a large amphitheatre, the front facade of the Library and more columns than you know what to do with. During our visit, workers were busy restoring a series of town houses set into one the hills near the Library, so there's a reason to come back.


 
On the way back from Ephesus we stopped at a small village, where one restaurant sold pancakes. Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised. The pancakes are prepared by several people, usually women, in front of you, so you can see exactly how they are made. One woman sits on the floor and rolls the pancake on a large board placed on her legs. The pancake is rolled until it is about 70cm in diameter (and nearly overhanging the board) before the contents are placed in the middle. You can choose from a variety of fillings including banana (my choice), egg plant, spinach or chocolate. The pancake is then folded into a square and placed on the fire, where a second woman tends to it until cooked. They were very filling and very cheap, which is always good, but overall it's the experience that makes the whole thing enjoyable.

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Turkey