Capadocia, Olympus, Pumukkale & Olympus - Turkey
Jun 9, 2006
|I guess it's fair to say my ignorance of what Istanbul had to offer can be broadened to include the whole country. Obviously I've talked about Istanbul, Gallipoli and Troy but they are only three parts of a gem of country that is Turkey.
In 9 tough days of travel encompassing 4 bus rides totaling 42 hours, I visited some truly spectacular places containing a mixture of natural and man made wonders.
The area of Cappadocia is by far the most striking of these places. As a result of volcanic activity several million years ago, it was buried under thick layers of hot ash that formed ignimbrite. Natural erosion of this rock has shaped the landscape into some of the most extraordinary scenery I've seen. Add to this underground cities, churches, houses and even storage units that have been cut in and under this soft ignimbrite and you have an area that is just so unique and so beautiful I'm in shock that I hadn't heard of it before. If I get to visit in a town more enchanting than the town of Gorome on my trip then all the luck in the world to me.
Olympus is known as a spot for partying and getting boat cruises that last a few days around the surrounding coast. Time only allowed for a night stay...a shotgun visit where I spent the day on the beach swimming and the night on the beach drinking. I can see why people get stuck here for days and weeks.
The only thing more amazing than the terraces of Pumukkalle is how human intervention almost destroyed them. The water of the hot springs that flows down the small mountain contains large amounts of minerals, in particular hydrogen carbonate and calcium. As the water cools thick white layers of travertine are formed in the shape of bright whites terraces. The result is simply amazing....see the pictures. But no more than 10 years ago about five 5 star hotels stood atop the mountain and used the water from the springs in large levels. No surprise the terraces started to disappear. Thankfully the government has demolished these hotels and is in the process of restoring the water and thus the terraces.
Selcuk, and the ancient city of Ephesus, was the last stop. I've seen a few ancient cities now and while this one wasn't intact as some, its old infrastructure is clearly visible and paints a picture of just how big a city it was....the 3rd largest of the Roman Empire at one stage. It was also home to the best coliseum I've seen yet...a prelude I hope to the coliseum in Rome which I'm highly anticipating.
Highlight - Cappodocia
Lowlight - the crowds at Ephesus.....the most I'd seen at any attraction so far on the trip. As a result I couldn't hear the guide which made the day a lot less an enjoyable one than it should have been....would have been better of with one of the illustrated maps.
Funniest moment - there are a few. Trying to get back from beach in Olympos in pitch black (drunk) darkness and a private fashion show for our tour group at a leather goods factory in Selcuk just two.
Missing most - Sunday mornings in bed after a massive night watching 'Any Given Sunday' and then a whole afternoon of footy with Slurpees going down like water. Liz.