cleopatra for the day

A solo traveler often has the benefit of receiving certain perks. However, there are times when being alone also carries certain pitfalls. Sandwiched in the front of a small tour bus in between our tour guide and a driver who speaks no English (and whose waistline shows that he has spent too much time sitting behind the wheel) for the three hour ride from Ephesus to Pamukkale, I wasn’t sure which category to mentally file this under. My position did provide an opportunity for plenty of conversation and local insights from the guide. A language barrier is always dependable for many, sometimes misinterpreted, laughs. The drive took us along newly paved highways which unexpectedly become cratered, moon-like surfaces.

Seeing many women lounging on the side of the highway in clothes which would certainly not be considered their Sunday best, I reflected aloud about how much the Turks seem unphased by the heat and love to picnic roadside. I found out that these women were not the innocent picnickers I have seen littered throughout the country. These women were donning their finest clothes to attract those lonely drivers in need for some lovin’. This is very charming.

We arrived at Pamukkale and checked into the Herakles Thermal Otel, complete with dinner and breakfast buffets, thermal pool, and poolside bar. It was a cute little place and one that I would definitely recommend. We got an early start the next morning for our day at Pamukkale. This is a place that I could imagine would have qualified as a theme park for the ancient times. Hierapolis, the ancient city that existed here, is nestled amidst the mountains with great views.

No site in Turkey would be complete without richly historical ruins, and after taking a small hike uphill in the blistering heat to see a coliseum, only to be greeted by the most unresponsive guard dog I’ve ever seen after almost stepping on him, I decided that I had had my share of ancient sites.

I then headed to the travertines, which are naturally occurring pools and sedimentary rock deposits from hot springs. I took my shoes off and walked along the glacier-looking formations and snapped all my pictures for the folks at home. Apparently the water used to be crystal clear, but those days are long gone thanks to the tons of unpedicured feet which have tramped through. The water is now a cloudy, icy blue, which is still beautiful nonetheless (if you can put visions of dirty feet aside).

After that, I headed to Cleopatra’s Pool, a ridiculously overcrowded and overpriced feature which should not be missed. This has been around since the Hierapolis times and is decorated with stones and various ruins of pillars. The water is always warm because of the natural hot springs and is chock full of vitamins and minerals that are good for your skin.

The most entertaining part about this is watching all the photographers who work here. They direct personal photo shoots for the tourists with encouraging shouts regarding the sexiness of their subjects. Either these guys are blind or they are certainly not discriminitve in their taste. I swear there is never a dull moment, despite my solitude.

Apologies for the repeat of pictures. It is difficult to travel with no computer!


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