Turkey Day 9 - Swimming in a Roman Spa and walking the white Travertines

Robin and I standing on the Travertines about to start up the hill.


Months ago I was sitting in on a train heading home to Pukekohe reading the Lonely Planet guide and I saw a picture of people bathing in thermal water in what was the remains of an original Roman spa – and how cool is that. The idea of bathing in the same pool as Romans really caught my attention and is something I really wanted to do but to be honest was something I thought wouldn’t happen as the location was far off the beaten track. But today I got to do it and I was so happy, it’s great how life works out.

Breakfast in the Hotel was below average which was a surprise after last night’s great tea – good range but the quality was simply poor. I had breakfast with just Luke and myself as everyone else was still asleep. Julianne did not have a good night as Luke kept waking her for some reason.

After everyone had eaten we went for a stroll around the town of Pamukkale. The biggest surprise was the number of Japanese in town, not only were Japanese people everywhere but even a number of the signs around town were in Japanese, clearly Pamukkale is a big thing on the Japan tourist circuit.

Today a gamble was taken, let’s leave Luke with Grandma, for some reason Luke has been anti her and kept crying over the holiday which has been problematic as Julianne and I can’t go away and do things together including simple things like pack the car.

So Julianne, Robin and myself headed off to climb the Travertines, a strange powder white mountain which stands out compared to the nearby greenery. There is water flowing over this unique calcite surface and visitors need to climb them in bare feet to protect them. Luckily today is really hot, it is t-shirt weather.

So soon I was in bare feet walking over this strange white rock with water flowing over it. It is very strange to think only 2 days ago I was in thermal underwear traipsing through the snow!

Julianne and Robin nearing the Travertines

Robin and I starting off up the Travertines

A close up of the Travertines.

Together on the Travertines

The Travertines

It takes about 45 minutes to get to the top where there are the Roman ruins of Hierapolis. So after a simple lunch overlooking the great view the next couple of hours are spent exploring these Roman ruins.

Julianne & Robin at Hierapolis.

Including another Roman street, always great to see.

Nothing near as splendid as yesterday but there was this mind-blowing theatre. Normally when you see a ruined theatre you can sometimes see the remaining seating but not the columns and art work around the stage – but here the whole stage collapsed in an earthquake and was left in place so was easily to reconstruct. Again another mind-blowing image of real Roman would have been like. The surrounds of the stage were a lot larger than I thought they would have been and were very elaborate. Plus with the seating it created a great ambiance – plus combined with a view into the plains below and then raising again into mountains in the distance.

Robin and I at the Hierapolis Theatre.

Large backdrop to the theatre.

There was also a very unusual octagon centre church. I have never seen a church like it with its octagon centre. This is the location where it is said where St Phillip, one of Jesus’s apostles is said to have been martyred. This strange church was up on the mountainside, and required a number of stairs of which were are still in place to get to.

stairs to climb to get to church

Inside octagon church.

I then rushed down the side of the hillside to get to the ‘ancient pool’, one of the highlights of the holiday – my chance for a swim in an original Roman pool – sort of . It was quite expensive at 35 Lira which is about $17NZ but was an experience for Julianne, Robin and myself. Robin couldn’t touch the bottom but there were plenty of Roman ruins inside the pool, so by standing on a 2000 year old pillar Robin could stand & move around the pool. It was quite a surreal experience and I am so pleased I got the chance to do it.

Robin and I standing on 2000 year old pillars to stay afloat in the ancient pool.

After being in the water for about 30 minutes it was time to head back down and find out how Grandma has gone with Luke. The walk down the Travertines was as much fun as the climb up – some people only walk one way and take transport for the other, but doing both ways is an excellent choice and worth a bit of a walk.

Robin and I about to start the walk back down.

and heading back down.

Back at the room by 5pm I found out that Luke and Grandma had a good afternoon. They had walked all around the village of Pamukkale, Grandma had a blast walking around a small Turkish village with a grandchild talking with the odd local.

Luke by the way seems to have a fascination with showers for some reason.

For tea that night we just had a cheap pita or pizza meal at another hotel.

Adam Weller