Published: September 27th 2011August 9th 2011
Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?
Timeless classic. This must be where Shaq got his inspiration for the ill-fated Kazaam, "Hey Kareem was in a movie and he was a center for the LA Lakers so I should be in a movie too." Ridiculous.
Onto the photos from Turkey...
Thankfully I haven't either but I did return last month from 4 weeks in Turkey which was awesome. Cappadocia and İstanbul each deserve their own blog because of the sheer volume of pictures which is taking a long time to whittle down. This entry details places visited between those 2 destinations, namely Patara, Pamukkale, Kuşadası, and Ephesus.
1 US$ ≈ 1.75 Turkish Lira (TL)
Travel related details
Beautiful beach (5TL/day entry fee for the beach and ruins; 7.5TL for one week), not crowded, but the serene village of Gelmiş doesn't have much going on. In hindsight, I should have stayed in more lively Kaş or Kalkan and taken advantage of the almost hourly buses to Patara or Kaputaş beach (as seen on the cover of this year's new LP). There is also direct transport from either of the other towns to Fethiye, Antalya, or anywhere along the coast whereas the dolmuş from Patara will only run to the highway junction where you have to wait for a bus. Accomodation and Food
I stayed at St. Nicholas pension for the walk-in rate of 30TL w/ breakfast (half board 50TL) and use of the PC. Nice place with a
Turkey's longest beach, around 18 km.
grape vine covered patio. Rooms have A/C, ceiling fan, and small balconies. Can also use the pool at the nearby Delfin Apartments. 25 minute walk to the beach from the village or there is a tractor-trailer several times per day for a couple of lira. A dozen or so restaurants serving typical fare but the town specialty seems to be gözleme
, kind of a Turkish burrito. Transport
Long bus ride from Cappadocia. First on an overnight bus from Göreme to Antalya on Nevşehir for 45TL arriving at 5:30 am. At 6:30 am switched to Bati Antalya to the highway junction at Patara for 20TL arriving 11:30 am from where I easily hitched to the village 4 km away. Better and faster would have been the one direct, overnight bus from Göreme to Fethiye for 50TL but it was sold out. Leaving Patara, I caught a lift to the highway junction of the coastal and main roads and another ride to Fethiye's otogar.
Totally overrated IMO and totally overrun with tourists. It most definitely does not look like the brochure anymore and you currently can't get near the travertine
pools. All for a 20TL entry fee and
25TL more if you want to swim in the ancient bath with dozens of Russians which I imagine is not nearly as appealing it sounds. I found the ruins at Hieropolis more interesting. Additionally, the town of Pamukkale is a dump. However, it is on the way to and from a lot of places so it is easily visited on your own. Best advice is to arrive on an overnight bus, visit the site, then leave on another overnight bus going anywhere or take a 5 hour late afternoon bus ride to Fethiye. I definitely do not recommend one of the heavily promoted 40€ tours from Kuşadası even though agencies will insist that it is not possible to visit on your own. Accommodation and food
I stayed at Özbay Hotel whose redeeming qualities were it's $10/night price tag w/breakfast, proximity to the site, and friendly staff. However, the hotel is rundown and the advertised pool hasn't been cleaned since the Ottomans were in power which was also when the bread they served at breakfast was baked. Özbay was adequate for one night which is all that is needed in Pamukkale even if planning to visit Afrodisias for which there
One of Several Pools Along the Entrance
Many seemed constructed to make up for the fact that you were not allowed near the natural pools.
are daily tours from town. Nothing remarkable in the dining scene except for the all you can gorge dinner buffet at the Artemis Yoruk Hotel for 10TL where I was able to practice my Russian with the Georgian waitress. Interestingly, it was the third time in Turkey that someone spontaneously addressed me in Russian. The first instance was very close to Azerbaijan and the second time was close to Georgia near Yusufeli. Transport
After arriving at Fethiye's otogar I waited one hour for the 11:45 am Çameli bus to Denizli (20TL) which not surprisingly passes through the hilly village of Çameli surrounded by beautiful pine forests. There is a short break in Çameli where you can get tavuk döner
for 2.50TL. Arrived at the new Denizli otogar ~5 pm. Immediately boarded a dolmuş for Pamukkale for 3TL which took another 30 minutes. Make sure you say Denizli and not Pamukkale when you buy a bus ticket. If you say Pamukkale you will be charged slightly more and may still have to pay for the dolmuş from Denizli. Leaving Pamukkale, there are 2 daily direct buses to Selçuk and Kuşadası around 9 am and 4 pm booked through
Exiting the Pool
The bottom was mucky and very smooth to walk on which was nice because you have to take off your shoes before entering the terraces.
the Pamukkale Turizm agent. Those buses cost 23TL but fill quickly as they are only 25 seaters. I bought my Kuşadası ticket from the same agent also for 23TL which included the servis shuttle back to Denizli since the direct bus was indeed full.
Kuşadası Accommodation and food
I stayed at Sezgin's Boutique Pension booked on Hostelbookers.com for ~50TL/night in my own room with AC, fridge, balcony, and breakfast. Great place and more of a hostel vibe owing to the sociable living room and the owner's friendliness. There is also a small pool which is not insanely crowded like Ladies Beach. Dining can range from dirt cheap to lavishly expensive. There was one very schwanky place called Sare that was also very inexpensive presumably because it had just opened. Service is spotty and it is a bit of a walk from the center south along the pedestrian mall at İnönü Bulv. 74. In the center is unpretentious Hanımeli where the Ramadan fast breaking meal costs 9TL (don't have to be fasting to partake). The complete meal includes soup, bread, cacık
(cold yogurt cucumber soup but bizarrely called salad on the menu), rice, a choice of entree, and tatlı
Travertine Pools in Background
No entry. They should change the tourism posters to reflect that.
or dessert, which was a small honey cake. Rosy at Ladies Beach has great lunch specials for 8-9TL which include a thirst quenching glass of ice cold beer. Transport
Sezgin picked me and a few others up at the otogar after arriving from Denizli at 6:30 pm. Left Kuşadası for Istanbul with Efe Tur for 50TL on a very nice bus. No servis shuttle to the terminal but I got a ride from the hotel although it is only a 10-15 minute walk from the center. Most companies provide the free shuttle from their central offices but their tickets are 55-60TL and you have to walk to their offices anyway. Getting around most of Kuşadası is easy enough on foot but the 2.25TL minibus to Ladies Beach cruises by the waterfront every few minutes or walk there in a half hour. There are also minibuses to Millipark. Ephesus
There is a sweet spot in the middle of the day when the site is devoid of tour bus throngs. That seems to be just after 12:30 pm and purportedly lasts until closing. Before 12:30 pm the place is literally wall to wall with tourists. Easy to get there without
Top of Pamukkale
At Hieropolis, ancient Roman city. I think there was a hotel here before it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hotel was subsequently demolished.
taking a tour or taxi. From Kuşadası, dolmuşes leave every few minutes from the central station taking 30 minutes or so, costing 5TL, and leaving you 1 km from the gate. Entry fee is 20TL plus another separate fee for the terraced houses. To get back to Kuşadası, cross the highway, turn left, and walk 100 m to the bus platform. Boat trips
I took an all day trip on Big Baba for 25TL booked directly with the captain on the dock the night before. The boat visits 3 bays across from town where there is great swimming. A nice buffet lunch is part of the deal. Beer is unfortunately not included but can be purchased on board.
There are more photos below