Moonwalking & Snowshoeing

Calcium Carbonate. We love this stuff.

Not only is it used for antacids and blackboard chalk (riveting), it’s also the main component of the travertines of Pamukkale.

We’ve seen these snow-like plateaus in pictures but whoababy did we make our experience of it a unique one.

Our bus from Selcuk dropped us off in the early afternoon and we were eager to walk right over to Hierapolis and Pamukkale.

The owner of the Melrose House Hotel, where we were staying for the night, advised us to wait until the late afternoon to make our journey to avoid the blazing heat and throngs of tour groups. Slightly sleepy from the early morning bus ride we, as always, welcomed the opportunity for a siesta (we were practicing for our upcoming stay in Spain).

A couple of hours later, recharged and raring to go, we set off to this much-anticipated spot.

Our first thought: What IS this place?

Looks like snow, feels like rock, and digging our feet into the bottom of each lukewarm pool of water was like submerging them in pockets of something resembling baking soda or baby powder. Strange. Like a natural foot spa that doesn’t seem that gross.

Sidenote: The original, natural travertines are still in tact and viewable to the public but visitors cannot touch them. Years of allowing people to bathe in them resulted in deterioration so the travertines we walked through were man-made. Still just as beautiful.

Once we waded our way to the top we felt that familiar grumble in our stomachs and had a quick lunch alongside the ancient thermal pools before checking out the rest of Hierapolis, another one of Turkey’s ancient cities.

As evinced by our lengthy tour of Ephesus, our m.o. has been to stay at any major site for at least twice to three times the average length of time. We did travel all this way and often had to pay to get in, why not milk it?

We started at the Necropolis where two young aspiring Turkish musicians were filming their music video with the help of one of their mothers. There was still a whole city to explore but we soon became entertained with taking pictures in the amphitheater since it cleared out when we arrived and we had the entire structure to ourselves. Panoramics, silhouettes, yoga poses, contemplative faces — you name it, we probably shot it here. The only thing that could tear us away from that site was the impending sunset over Pamukkale.

Our timing was perfect and so was the sunset.

All of the other visitors started making their way back through the man-made terraces to the exit, but we could not get enough of the travertines. As the sun slowly melted into horizon, the colors of the sky and the travertines became progressively more magnificent. It was hard to see but we made our way down one of the paths and found even more travertines that we didn’t notice before! We tried to fend off the feeling that we missed out of seeing them in their full white brilliance and relished in the colors they took on at dusk instead.

We probably would have stayed longer but soon realized that other creatures, particularly those of the crawling variety (read: rats), enjoy the travertines at this hour as much as we did.

Not wanting our feet to get trampled by a scampering rodent we high-knee’d it back to the man-made terraces (you know, since that’s a proven way to fend off rats). Sean T. would be proud and we’re sure the night guards welcomed our ridiculousness.

After our quick workout, we took our time descending back down the man-made terraces (sans rats) partially because it was kind of dark, but more because we really felt like we were on another planet, possibly the moon. We’re so glad to have had the luxury to move at our own pace. It had cooled considerably since the afternoon and each step vacillated between cool and warm water. All we could hear was the steady trickling of the water and it felt like we had the whole world to ourselves.

 

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