Pamukkale- Turkey's 1000 year old ancient version of Wet n Wild. The intense white glare of the cliff leaves you constantly blinded but you're also rubbing your eyes in disbelief that such a natural formation can actually exist. It's completely surreal.
We're getting very skilled at packing our little Panda. Haylee's bag is thrown into the roof box and Pat, Natalie and James' bag go into the boot. With a big thump (that surely hurts Miss Panda quite a bit) the boot is shut and we're off.
We're quite fortunate that the hotels we stay let us pay separately. It makes it super easy for us but not so easy for the staff. We literally drove five minutes down the road to the parking area for the hot springs. It was then we saw that there's no road leading up to the sites in Pamukkale, instead you walk up the distance and leave the car down the bottom. Thirty-five Lira and we went past the turnstile to start our walk along the white travertine. You're required to take your shoes off when on the travertine. No arguments there! We were ready to roll around in the cool water it was that hot already. There's a constant flow of water coming down the hill, we've no idea where from. That ended up being our main question for the day, 'where is this water coming from?' A mysterious spring or creek which unfortunately we never saw. The water source remains a mystery to us. If we just googled it we're sure we'd find out but better to leave a bit of mystery and magic to Pamukkale. We walked past numerous pools with countless tourists in them. It was quite funny to see all these Europeans determined to get amazing Instagram photos of their fit bikini bodies leaning against the white rocks. The waterfalls over the edge of the cliff providing Victoria's Secret type photos. Worse though to see little twelve year old girls also trying to get the same type of photo in their skimpy bikinis. We didn't swim, but let our feet get a good wash. At the top of the cliff we found some little shops and walked on to the hot thermal Pools. Free entry to get into the beautiful little oasis area with restaurants, ice cream, tables and palm trees however it was thirty lira to actually swim in the Pools. We decided to forgo swimming to grab some lunch and sit by the water. You could have mistaken where we were for Hamilton Island, it was such a welcome respite from our busy days. Tourists were lying about in the green grass drinking fruit shakes, and of course Instagram addicts were posing over a hundred different ways to get the perfect photo in the hot springs. Haylee convinced James to buy some thongs at the shop up there. Probably his best purchase of the trip, free those feet! James' socks smell like death so the team was very glad he began to opt for his thongs after today's purchase.
We braved a very hot walk up the hill to the Roman theatre. Crazily enough Pamukkale is an old ancient Roman city, Cleopatra herself swam in the hot springs up there. Numerous Roman ruins lay about. The theatre itself is in fantastic condition. We all 'oohed' and 'aahd' upon seeing it for the first time. It was enormous. The sun was beating down and turning us into puddles, we guessed it must have been around 36 degrees. Natalie was avoiding the sun so as not to turn into a human tomato. Patrick and James smelling manlier and sweatier by the minute. Haylee's shoulders turned into red bubbling pieces of leather. We returned to the beautiful oasis of the hot springs and grabbed some delicious ice cream cones then braved the enormous tourist crowds to return back to the car. The water on the white cliffs had become so much warmer than when we initially walked up there in the morning. Guards stand along the cliff blowing a whistle at you like life guards if they spot anyone wearing shoes. No shoes allowed on the precious white travertine! We highly recommend Pamukkale to anyone who wants a super relaxing holiday! Even around where we parked the car there were numerous pools with deck chairs, water slides, bars and music pumping.
We jumped in our sauna of a car and continued on to Cappadocia. We came across the salt lakes of Turkey and drove past a sign that likely said no entry so we could grab a photo. Onward we drove for another few hours until our stomachs reminded us it was time for "some grub" as we've come to call it. First we stopped in a town that looked on the map like it would have a few good places. We quickly realised it wasn't the greatest town. James quickly renamed the town "dodgeville". That we did, we dodged it and drove on for fear locals would swarm the car if we parked. It was lucky we did drive on because we found a town called Konya that was really great. The restaurant we'd picked for dinner was an outdoor place beside a foundation. Quite classy considering we'd rocked up in thongs and tshirts. Our waiter approached us. "Do you speak any English?" "Yes a little", he replied. The guy dining behind us with his family burst out into laughter as our waiter then went into full blown English interpreting the Turkish menu for us. We turned around to him quite amused, he said "sorry I don't laugh it's just that he said he didn't speak any English but he does". We were pleasantly surprised too with his English skills. Our waiter then told us that he'd worked for a few years on a Celebrity cruise ship, of course he'd need to have good English skills for that sort of job. The local man behind us ended up butting in on our waiter and recommended a whole bunch of dishes for us to try. "You must try the fish here, it is great". Pat and Natalie order Pidé while Haylee and Patrick shared the fish dish. Our kind waiter brought us free tea and free dessert, although we tipped him anyway so it most likely covered it all.
As with most of our dinners, we couldn't relax just yet as we still had a three hour drive to reach Cappadocia. The drive was quite uneventful and we weren't able to see any of the rock formations as we drove into the region. That would have to wait for the morning. Surprisingly enough the hotel manager was still up waiting for us when we arrived at 12:45am. He welcomed us into the hotel and showed us to our rooms. We'd booked an incredible hotel for our stay in Cappadocia, a legit hotel built into the cliff. Haylee and Natalie's room actually had little beds built into the wall of the room, Patrick and James had a massive room that was intended for a family as it had a cot in there. The more space the better!