Pamukkale, Turkey

After one last day relaxing and reading in Goreme, we grabbed our bags and headed toward the bus station. Our night bus arrived on schedule and was very full. The bus had multiple stops on the way; three times for a 30 minute break, and on a few occasions to pick up and drop off people. It was very hard to sleep as the attendant turned the lights on a few minutes before each stop, and the guy working in the alley was passing by a lot, doing the snack service as well. The bus arrived in Denizli around 6am, and a minibus was parked on the side of the highway to bring us to Pamukkale. We sat in the minibus which drove us to the Metro office. That is when we learned it was a big celebration day in the Arab world, Sacrifice Feast, so the hotels where not opened yet according to the guys working in the bus station. We waited for about an hour, listening to some machine gun being fired. The Asian tourists looked slightly startled by the sound when they got of their minibus. After spending one month in Jordan, where there was a wedding celebration almost every night with machine guns and fireworks, we now consider it a normal sound.

We walked to the hotel, checked-in, showered and went for a tasty and much needed breakfast in a restaurant attached to another hotel. After filling our bellies, we started our climb up the cascades of the Travertines. They are made of multiple pools filled with mineral water coming from a natural source. The water was still fairly warm which was a good thing as we needed to remove our shoes to walk in the cascades. The Travertines made of limestone rock are bright white, and the water a nice shade of turquoise. Pamukkale means “cotton castle” in Turkish, and it is a pretty accurate description. It was funny to us as it looked like snow. It definitely feels different to step on what looks like a snowbank, but is hard as rock and covered with warm running water. Our feet really appreciated the treatment, and our skin was baby soft at the end of the day.

 At the top of the cascades, we visited Hieropolis, an old Roman city. It had a great amphitheater with 12 000 seats. There is also a pool with remains of roman columns in the bottom. We didn’t pay the extra money to swim in the pool as it was getting very crowded. After our time in the Travertines and the ruins, we walked back towards the small town to plan our bus to Izmir the following day.

The next morning, we woke up late, enjoyed the well-presented breakfast from the Allgau hotel before packing up and heading out to the bus station. The guy from Metro had told us the day before that there were buses every hour, but when we arrived at 11am, he said the next one was at 3pm. So we decided to try Pamukkale Bus Company instead as they had room to leave right away. We took a Dolmus (shared minibus) from Pamukkale to Denizli to reach the bus. It was even more comfortable than the other company. Slightly more expensive but worth it. We read while listening to some music from the entertainment system for most of the 4 hour ride. 

When we arrived in Izmir, the sky was very dark and it started raining. We tried to find information on how to reach to the city center by bus. The signs were not very obvious but we finally found the bus stop, and the little kiosk where we bought our tickets. The guy didn’t speak much English, but enough to tell us the right bus number to take. Seb’s GPS app turned out to be very useful again as we could see where to get off and find to our hotel. 

Our stay in Izmir was brief, only two days, as we just needed to shop for good hiking boots for our next adventure. We also started to buy some warmer clothes as we don’t have any left after summer in Europe and fall in the Middle East. After our short stay in Izmir, we took another night bus to Istanbul where we spent one night and two days to prepare for our next flight.


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