Apologies for the silence. First, there was no time in Istanbul. Then, I was glued to a fantastic book. And now, I am trying to plod through Boys over Flowers one episode at a time.
(“Plod” because it makes Ekta Kapoor series look like an art movie and at 1 hour, each episode is one hour long with lots and lots of unnecessary flashbacks and songs).
This part of the itinerary was most confusing for me. To go or not to go to Pamukkale? If yes, to visit Ephesus or not. To stay at Izmir or Selcuk or Ephesus or Denizli? To take the flight to Denizli or Izmir? Or an overnight bus from Cappadocia? To stop for a day at Istanbul or continue directly to Pamukkale?
Finally, I decided to skip Ephesus and on a friend’s recommendation only add Pamukkale to the itinerary. We took a flight from Neveshir (near Cappadoccia) to Izmir with a change of planes at Istanbul. From Izmir airport, we took a bus to the bus stand and then a 4 hours journey to Denizli on the bus. Denizli is 20 mins from Pamukkale. It was a 12 hours journey and we spent a whole day in transit. I wasn’t confident about the overnight buses from Cappadoccia though they would have cost far, far lesser.
Pamukkale is known for it’s thermal springs. It is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is a small mountain with limestone and flowing water giving it a surreal quality. There are pools of water shaped like an infinity pool. When you reach the site, you have to take off your footwear and walk barefeet. When you reach the top, there are ruins of the ancient Roman city Hierapolis.
We spent a few hours at Pamukkale and then headed back to Denizli. While Pamukkale is amazing and a destination like no other, it wasn’t worth one day’s journey and the amount we spent on travelling to and fro. Maybe including Ephesus would have made more sense.
The next day we took a flight back to Istanbul in the morning. And again, the hotel tried to charge a bomb for the cab to the airport. Finally, we googled online and found a shuttle which charges 15% of what the cabbie was demanding. The hotel staff feigned ignorance about the shuttle service when we enquired.
Coming up – the last leg of the trip in Istanbul.