Turkey Stories and Tips

Pamukkale and Cappadocia

We booked with Pamukkale Bus Co. for a morning bus to Pamukkale where the calcium mineral springs are. I’ve heard Pamukkale isn’t as amazing as it used to be, but we still had a great time and recommend going there for a day. After getting off the bus, we had to pay an entrance fee to get into the area where the calcium mineral springs are. You’re not allowed to get into the pools anymore except to wade, but it’s still fun. At the top of the hill, there are ruins you can explore as well as the Pamukkale Motel where you can go for a swim. Since it was a hot day, we went for a swim in the thermal pool. The water is bubbly and gassy like Bon-Aqua (the mineral water we drank throughout our trip), but is quite warm—almost too warm. Apparently, the swimming pool is an historic site and there are actual Roman columns in the pool. After a dinner of stuffed pepper (tasty!), we hopped on a night bus to Cappadocia (Goreme) with Pamukkale Bus Co. Although the chairs reclined fairly far back, there was definitely smoking going on in the non-smoking bus. Sleeping was a bit more difficult because of the bad air, but I did manage to catch a few zzzz’s.

The bus dropped us off early in the morning in front of Gulliver’s Travels in Cappadocia. Since we only had one day in Cappadocia, we decided the best way to see everything we wanted to was to take a day tour. After listening to Gulliver’s pitch, we headed over to Hero Travels (recommended by the Lonely Planet) to compare tour prices. To be honest, most of the travel agencies offered the same tour itineraries for the same prices, but we decided to go with Hero Travels and booked a tour that lasted from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm. I can’t do justice in describing what I saw in Cappadocia because it was so different from what I’m used to. For all the Star Wars fans out there, Cappadocia is where the movie was filmed! The scenery is awesome—very blue skies, sand dunes, fairy chimneys. Take my word that Cappadocia is a must-see. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Here’s a quick rundown of our day in Cappadocia. First, we went to the Open Air Museum to see the churches and frescoes. Unfortunately, we only had about an hour there, but it was really amazing. The tour took us to the underground city at Kaymakli, Pidgeon Valley, a pottery demonstration (not one of the highlights), fairy chimneys, the place where Star Wars was filmed, a stop on the Silk Route trading post, and watching sunset on top of a hill which was absolutely beautiful. A very productive and enjoyable day. I regret not being able able to spend more time in Cappadocia, but we had to meet friends back in Istanbul the next day so at 8:45 pm we hopped on our last overnight bus in Turkey.

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