Published: January 12th 2013January 11th 2013
Brrr, no sun today!! We headed off from Kusadasi in the drizzle hoping that the weather might improve as we drove inland. Today our first stop was at the city of Aphrodisias, which is considered to be one of the finest archaeological sites in Turkey. And yes, it was named for the goddess of love, Aphrodite. We were dropped off in a big parking area and ferried over the main road to another big parking area adjacent to the site in a trolley towed by a tractor. We have absolutely no idea why our mini-bus couldn't park in the car park on the Aphrodisias side of the road. This transfer made us feel more like we were taking the wildlife safari tour at Werribee Park Zoo than going to visit an ancient archaeological site!!
Once again we had this amazing historical site to ourselves. Rather incredibly, this major site was pretty much undiscovered until the early 1960s. The local villagers were dismantling the ancient monuments and using them to build their homes until then!! When the site was discovered by someone with archaeological training the village was relocated and exploration and restoration works commenced. Some of the buildings, for example
the Sebasteion, have been reconstructed with plaster copies of the sculptures and friezes that originally adorned them. The original sculptures and friezes are housed in a museum on the site in order to preserve them.
The site includes a small theatre that seated about 7,000 and a Roman bathhouse dedicated to Hadrian. The most impressive part of the site was the 30,000 seat stadium that hosted athletic events. Following damage caused by an earthquake in the 7th century, the stadium was reinvented as a smaller arena that hosted games, circuses, gladiatorial combats and wild beast shows. After hiking around the site we visited the museum to see all of the sculptures and friezes that have been discovered on the site and relocated to the museum for posterity.
We had lunch today in a village restaurant which was much nicer than eating in one of the tourist cafeterias. Even better was the the little pot-bellied stove that they had going. It was lovely and warm. We enjoyed a massive four course lunch. We started with menemen a dish made with onion, tomato and eggs which was a bit like scrambled eggs flavoured with onion and tomato. Next we had
pides which were fresh out of the oven and delicious. And really, that would have been enough for lunch, but then Bernie had a beef shish-kebab, Meredith had a chicken shish-kebab, Alex had a meatball shish-kebab and I had a barbecued trout. There was also a salad to accompany our mains. All of this was followed by yoghurt with pine honey and freshly sliced oranges for dessert. Once again, all of the food was locally produced and delicious.
After all of this food it was back onto the mini-bus for a couple of hours heading for Pamukkale which is famous for its white calcium cascades. As we drove through the town we stopped for a quick photo from the bottom of the cascades before continuing on to the Richmond Pamukkale Thermal Hotel. To thaw out we ventured down to the indoor thermal pool which was blissful after sightseeing on such a cold day. After a quick dip we indulged in massages.
And then we ate AGAIN! Just as well we are burning so many kilojoules just to stay warm.
Steps for the day: 10,204 (6.95km)
There are more photos below