Full set of Pammukale photos are here

Pamukkale houses the incredible travertines, a cascading flow of mineral rich water which has created white stone pools filled with ice blue water that stretch for a couple of kilometres uphill.  You must remove your shoes to walk on the travertines and there is a special shoe guard entrusted with a whistle who reprimands offenders.  Wading through the water and over the hard white surface mottled with ripples, it looks as though the trickling water has solidified, which in effect it has, leaving little deposits of minerals as it flows downhill.

The Romans considered these waters to be health-giving, and settled a city nearby – so to add a little extra bang to your tourist buck there are the amazing Roman ruins of Hierapolis on the plateau at the top of the travertines.  The old theatre is being grandly restored and has an incredible view.

But first we had to try and avoid the annoying old Dutch tourist who had talked at us non-stop at lunch the previous day.  He was staying at the same hotel as us, retired a while ago and travels the world, and just wouldn’t stop going on about all the places he had visited.  We spotted him in the distance at Hierapolis, and paused to admire a ruin a little longer than necessary to let him get further away.  Unfortunately he cornered me later on while Sarah was inspecting the necropolis, and tried to talk over my answers to his questions, but I just talked over him right back.  He wasn’t put off and told me that he used to be an antiques dealer and made ‘rather a lot of money’.

Bores aside, the ruins are fantastic with hills behind and the valley down in the distance, all in easy wandering distance from our hotel in town.  Our favourite ruins were in the public pool, a heated oasis on the site of the ruins where you can pay to swim over the top of ancient columns and building pieces which had collapsed in the crystal clear waters of the pool.  It’s an amazing experience.  Sarah also paid a visit to Dr Fish where small fish in lab coats ate the dead skin from her feet. I’m not 100% on the lab coats bit, but they definitely had degrees.

The walk back down the travertines at the end of the day was incredible.  Gathered storm clouds were pierced by a beautiful sunset and, as the sunlight faded, the lights on the travertine took over.  Sarah attracted yet another extrovert who talked at her the whole way down but we managed to shake her and have dinner on our own in a nice Japanese restaurant that also served Korean food.  The Japanese lady who owned the restaurant had met her husband while on a tour in Turkey.  She had a nice golden retriever dog who stalked town fetching discarded plastic bottles to chew on.

For a small town with such big tourist attractions Pamakkule felt strangely underdeveloped, as though this small inland rural farming community just woke up one day with the travertines blinding white in the sunlight and they’re still not sure what to do with them.  The only sign that you’re in a touristy place are all the touts outside the restaurants and the scooters and taxis that blast past at every hour of the day and night.  The town wasn’t really peaceful or interesting but the amazing sights beyond it made up for that.

The best thing about the hotel we stayed in was the photo plastered on the wall next to the pool with a giant rooster straddling the travertines. We’re not sure why its there, but we like it.

Full set of Pammukale photos are here

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