September 12, 2011

Day 47 of my Turkey motorcycle tour and another day off the Family Truckster while I let someone else do the driving again.  J and Al were on this tour to Pamukkale and Hierapolis with me today. Al would leave us at Pamukkale and take another bus overnight to Cappadocia.

The bus ride took about 3 hours from Selçuk heading east via Aydin.

It would be a long day with the bus due back in Selçuk around 1930. The bus also picked up some additional passengers for the return trip including M, another Aussie who had recently moved to London from Melbourne.

I’d seen photos of this place and it looked worthy of a visit. Going on the tour was a much better option to taking the Family Truckster out there for the day. I even had a Nanna nap on the bus on the way back!

There are two sights here; the gleaming white travertine pools and the ruins of the ancient city and healing centre of Hierapolis.

Our tour guide was knowledgeable but lacked the ability to create in my mind a vision of this once great city, long abandoned (nearly 700 years ago) and in ruins due to centuries of earthquakes. Our guide did make us chuckle though when noting the was also a large cemetery nearby as a consequence of ancient visitors seeking the healing properties of the 36 degree spring water but unfortunately no healing took place.

Wikipedia informed me subsequently that travertine is a form of limestone deposited by hot mineral springs. There were plenty of people enjoying the sunshine and warm water in the series of shallow travertine pools that cascaded down the hillside. This was shoes off access only and an alert gentleman dressed like a security guard with a shrill whistle was alert to spot and reprimand anyone remaining shod or straying out of bounds. He sure did like that whistle.

This was high risk sunburn territory with the reflection of the limestone probably as bad as the direct sunlight. It was a very hot day also.

I gave the ancient pool a miss so I retain all afflictions such as “rheumatism, diseases of eye, derma, hearth and blood circulatory system, respiratory system, nerve and muscle system weariness, kidney and urinary system and post operation diseases”. Maybe I should have gone for a swim after all!

There was not much left of the ancient city which was founded in 190BC. Lots of big stones lying around and some recent excavations were also apparent. It was impressive though and made me wonder what Turkey would be like today if not for the centuries of earthquakes that have toppled so many spectacular ancient cities.

M joined J and I for dinner that night in Selçuk and we were later joined by R who had spent the day in town. A couple of Raki’s each ensured a good night’s sleep.

Here are some images.