Published: January 12th 2013January 12th 2013
The hotel last night was more modern again, but the rooms were quite cool because the heating only operated when the key fob was in the slot to activate the power for the room. The Grand Onder may have been a bit old-fashioned, but at least they kept a card in the slot so that the a/c ran all the time to keep the room lovely and warm. The Richmond's room was compact with a bed that was very firm and the world's smallest doona. There was barely enough of the doona to cover us both!! On the plus side, the shower at the Richmond was our best yet, but it was a bit strange having to step down into the sunken bath to take a shower.
After breakfast this morning we had only a few minutes drive to the next ancient city on our itinerary, Hierapolis. The city was built above the cascades created by the calcium-rich thermal waters flowing over the mountaintop. Over time the waters formed stalactites clinging to the side of the mountain creating the appearance of a cotton castle. The name, Pamukkale, means cotton castle.
We walked through the Necropolis consisting of more than
2,000 sarcophagi and several tumuli (circular burial mounds), before we reached the remains of the Roman bath house located just outside the Northern gate of the city. The bath house was later converted to a Byzantine church.
From the ruins we walked to the top of the cascades to view them from above. Rather disappointingly, they do not look as pristine as the pictures in the tourist brochures. This is mainly because of the increased demand for the thermal waters caused by the number of tourists that come to visit. In turn, this means that today there is not enough water to keep the thermal waters running over all of the site all of the time, so they manage the water and direct it over sections of the cascades on a rotating basis to try to preserve the cascades for the future. Apparently if fresh water does not run over the formations, they turn black.
Fortunately, the rain held off while we were at Hierapolis and we were able to meet Mr Erhan at the Southern gate without getting wet. Outside the gate was a tourist plaza paved with marble. There was a row of trees planted in
the plaza and a dog sleeping at the base of each tree. As the ground was unpaved around each tree we are inclined to think that the thermal nature of the area made this the warmest place for the dogs to sleep??
As I write this we are two hours into a six hour drive to Konya ... and the rain hasn't stopped since we set out from Hierapolis!!
And we drove and we drove and we drove ... today has been a very long day in the minibus. When we stopped for a late lunch Yalçin confessed that a turn had been missed and we had come the long way - around the shore of a lake and up over a mountain. The rain gave way to snow as we passed over the mountain's summit! Not to worry, the lake was impressive, even if the sun wasn't shining and the mountain pass was pretty spectacular.
After lunch we continued on the road to Konya where we arrived (in the dark again) at about a quarter to six at a beautifully appointed Hilton Hotel. Definitely our nicest hotel yet and ... they have a laundry so we
have taken to opportunity to do a load of washing. It beats rinsing things out in the shower or hand basin as we have been doing.
Over dinner we have just been discussing that there was an earthquake in the Turkish part of the Aegean Sea on Thursday when we were on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Meredith received an email from a cousin who asked about it. When she Googled it she discovered that there was indeed an earthquake on Thursday. Yalçin then said that Mr Erhan mentioned that he felt the bus shake while he waited for us when we were visiting the Lone Pine Memorial. It just goes to reinforce that I am not at all attuned to seismic activity because I didn't notice a thing. Google actually says that there has been quite a bit of seismic activity (between 4.2 and 4.6) right across Turkey over the last three days. But then there has been an earthquake in Australia too ...
Steps for the day: 9,312 (6.34km)
There are more photos below