Thursday, 23 June 2016

Thurs 23 Jun 2016. Egirdir to Pamukkale

Thurs 23 Jun 2016. Egirdir to Pamukkale
Had beach to ourselves for early morning swim in our freshwater lake, on almost-sand with almost-waves. We were packed up ready to drive out when Laurentin appeared offering Turkish coffee, so we disembarked and BoyRob got our chairs out again. Our host said he was born in Turkey on the Black Sea coast, and his wife was from Albania, but they have lived in Sweden last 7 years. He was happy to listen to our observations of his home country, and answer our questions eg we commented that some nights we had mosques in stereo, one either side of the camp, and asked if there is any difference in the night and morning prayers? He said no, except the Iman adds at 3.50am "praying is better than sleeping"!! His wife did not appear, and GirlRob was not offered the water or Turkish Delight - it occurred to us as we were driving away that maybe he had only extended the invitation to the male Wanderoo, and there was no need after all for the female Wanderoo to tell him politely that she didn't drink coffee....

Drove out around the mountainous point, GirlRob taking a photo of a huge message with a Turkish flag on a hill; a soldier in the military complex opposite yelled and gesticulated towards truck "no camera", no doubt sensitive about their installation being vulnerable if filmed...(oops, sorry...) 

Passed a long saline lake with huge mounds of glistening salt on edges (does it have anything to do with proximity to Pamukkale's travertine mountain?)

Old irrigation system still in use

What on Earth...?

Saline river running between the mountains and rail and road

Arrived in Pamukkale mid morning, not believing the height and breadth of the travertine mountain that loomed before us. Entered through the southern gate closer to the sprawling ruins of the Greco-Roman and Byzantyne city of Hierapolis built on top of the "White Castle", and admired its majestic view. Founded as a thermal spa in 2nd century, the healing city contains ruins of many interconnected baths, and not surprisingly has a necropolis reflecting the large numbers of retirees who came, stayed, and died there!

City in its former glory on top of the White Castle
Low Southern Gate

Ruins are quite spread out

Ancient building method or restorers?

Large Baths

Medieval Fortress

It was way too hot to explore too many kms of the ruins, so it wasn't too long before we walked in bare feet down the travertine pools, with guards blowing their whistles at tourists every few minutes "no shoes, no shoes". 

Moved to "cool" shade and ate tuna rolls (sparing none for the begging cats). Walked the boardwalk around the top of the mountain, found a piece of travertine to take back to grandson Nathan for his rock collection. 

Lording it over the town...

Drove around White Mountain to see it from all sides, before seeking an evening's camp. Between the mineral structures and the surrounding rock, the original inhabitants just "joined the dots" to secure their hill with perimeter walls. 

Chose Tepe Camping out of town up a steep hill, because they advertised panorama views, restaurant, and pool, and was hopefully cooler up the mountain than staying in the hot-hole of a valley. It lived up to its reputation and had grass sites to boot - outweighing that the view was obscured by heat haze, and that we had to drive past "stinkytown" on way up (cows kept in small yards all day in own excrement, with no pasture to be let out into). There was a bonus up top, a huge Overland bus had just pulled in to the campground. It could take 44 people but there were only 6 travellers this trip, 4 of them Aussies, including a young man with dreadlocks "spending his house deposit" going to Iran, Georgia, Armenia etc. They were all interesting people to chat to with a beer around the pool, Giovanni (who's poor partner Fiona was camping with a broken wrist) was wildly enthusiastic about EarthCruiser, he's been looking into one for years and was tickled at the unexpected opportunity to inspect one “in the flesh”. We stayed on around the pool for dinner of sizzling chicken and beef on individual spirit burners, glad to have vegetables as a change from salad. We chatted until dark waiting for the air to cool, enjoying Giovanni's travel stories and exuberance, our new friends coming inside to check out the EarthCruiser in minute detail.

Not a bad view for Ozzie..

A blustery wind was the signal for the campers to retire to their tents. Doing a final tidy up before bed, GirlRob realised her well-travelled wine glass (white wine largely BYO in this male dominated country) was missing, and had to go back and retrieve this vital piece of equipment! 

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