31/5/90

PAMUKKALE We got up at 8:30 and sat around drinking tea until 9:30 when a Dolmus arrived to pick us up. The trip out to the village of Pamukkale only took 10 minutes and cost 1000TL. We were dropped off at the foot of the terraces and we walked up through the toll gates, bullshiting half price tickets with our YHA cards.

The terraces, although a wonderful example of geology, were pretty disappointing. Dry weather had left nearly all of the pools empty or half full of muddy water and the hazy overcast day didn’t enhance the effect. The terraces have been formed over thousands by calcium-rich mineral water running over an escarpment to form hundreds of terraced pools called “travines” made of pure white calcium. In Turkish, the name Pamukkale translates as “the cotton castle.” At the top of the terrace lies an extensive set of Roman ruins called Hierapolis, built over and around the spring from which the water flows. Known for the healing properties of its waters from earliest times, it was a large Roman spa. Most of the ruins date from around 100BC.

 After an hour or so of wandering around the terraces Linda, me and two Aussies walked up for a quick look at the museum built into the ruins and ate an overpriced kebab each with the local dogs sitting beside us. One of the large hotels had an open swimming pool which cost 1,000TL  per hour so we went up there and sneaked in amongst a large party of Germans.  We spent about 2 1/2 hours swimming in the warm and fizzy pool the floor of which was strewn with pieces of marble columns and baths from the old Roman bath house. The edges of the pool were covered with beautiful pink hibiscus trees and the water was very relaxing, although was strangely non buoyant.

The front and rear of a postcard Linda sent home from Pamukkale showing the terraces as they appear when they are full of water.

When the time came to leave we just casually strolled out on another entrance and escaped paying for the whole thing! We mucked around waiting for a Dolmus to take us back to Denizli and when we got there we went with the other Aussies to a pizza house for something to eat.  While we were there, the inexperienced young travellers sat and hung off every word a dickhead Kwi and his silly wife told them. They have been travelling overseas for a whole 8 weeks and thought they knew everything. 

After a bite to eat Linda and I went in search of a bank to give us a cash advance on my Visa card. We went to 5 banks and none of them knew what to do but the last bank, Gurasi Bank, just went straight ahead and did it for us and 5 minutes!

Carpet shopping at the Denizli Pension.

Back back at the pension we sat around having a few beers then after tea, Suleiman’s mother showed us how she makes carpets on a loom set up in the office. When Suleiman came back from catching tourists he and I began negotiating for a carpet of which I had no intention of buying but after protracted talks I bought it for £190, including postage and insurance. The carpet has a fountain design on it and it is made entirely of wool dyed with natural dyes.

Once the deal had been made, we sat on the floor amongst the other carpets and talked with Suleiman’s wife, mother and two German tourists. The carpet took 8 months to make including spinning and dyeing the wool and the actual weaving took two ladies 4 months.

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