Today was a slow start. We were not expected to leave till nine and hence we had plenty of time to have lavish breakfast. The food in Turkey is plentiful. Everywhere we have been given lots of fresh salads, a variety of dips, bread, meat, and desserts. In spite, though there was an abundance of food the men in our group would have killed for bacon.
After saying goodbye to a nice hotel, Suhan360, ( which indeed had the 360 degrees views of the coast) we started our journey towards Pamukkale. The first two and half hours were quiet, many were catching up with their sleep.
The landscape was beautiful. All through the way, there were fields of cotton and sunflower and orchards of figs, oranges, mandarins, lemons, and pomegranates. Turkey is the biggest producer of pomegranates. Most of them come from the region, Anatolia. They are big, juicy and blood-red in color but their juice is a bit on the sour side. Turkey is also a big producer of chestnuts, apricots, and figs.
We reached Pamukkale around mid-day. The hotel Pam Thermal Resort had a thermal pool right in the middle courtyard, which had mineral-rich natural spring water gushing from a canon like structure and falling from one terrace to another. The temperature of the water must be around eighty degrees.
After lunch, we headed towards the Pamukkale terraces. I wore three-quarter pants and thongs (a big mistake because it was quite a walk and my thongs were not very comfortable).
Pamukkale means “cotton castle” in Turkish, an appropriate name for the hill covered in calcium and other minerals brought by the water from underneath. Since the water trickles down from one terrace to another at a slow speed, the minerals get time to settle down and solidify. If the water was flowing at a higher speed the terraces wouldn’t have formed and minerals wouldn’t have deposited.
This is the only formation of this kind in the world. There was one more in NewZealand but it got destroyed in a volcano eruption in early nineteen hundred.
In 300 BC Roman established a town here called Hierapolis. Although there were only a few structures remained of the town, it was a flourishing town with health spas and cotton trade.
We walked on the prickly and at some places slippery surface to get to the lower terraces. From each point the view was different. With the number of people walking on sharp edges iris miracle that nobody has fallen off the cliff and got seriously hurt.
At many places, the water was directed to the drains and the terraces were intentionally kept dried to save them getting too much calcium deposits. Although in summers, because of the sheer numbers of tourists all the terraces are full.
We sat with our legs in gushing water letting the hot and mineral water wash away the tiredness and pain. There is a lovely garden all around the top of the hill worth a walk.
Coming back to the hotel we all sat in the thermal pool and rub the mud on our faces as a face pack.
Pamukkale has very nice markets with a lot of well-priced souvenirs, dried figs, apricots chestnuts and woolen, and cotton clothes.