Subject: 2 Weeks in Turkey # Part 3 Pamukkale & Marmaris (long)
Hi All,

To continue with my trip report, we are now on Day 6 # 18 September, Pamukkale First visit was to Hieropolis, the city of the dead. The guide told us that when people were ill (back when) they were sent to Pamukkale for the mineral baths. It was a fully developed medical centre in those days.

If they were considered incurable, they were sent to Hieropolis. It is a city of tombs, sarcophagi, and monuments to the dead. Once very large, only a small portion is left with tombs scattered all around the outskirts of the remnants of this city.

The original hot springs have been badly misused and the government has now closed them to visitors in an attempt to allow the mineral waters to renew themselves. One can no longer visit or bathe in the natural spa despite the ubiquitous advertisements by the tourist agencies to do just that.

The Temple of Apollo and a Roman theatre are near-by. There is also the public Pamukkale Thermal baths. It provides a public swimming area with both fresh and mineral water available. It is nicely planted, green and refreshing on a hot day. Not a formal pool, but a number of small pools with running water. Very nice. In the same area are a small museum and an official tourist information office.

There is not very far away a fancy spa hotel that has built a facsimile of the pools that dropped from one another and imports the therapeutic waters to fill them. We were told that the hotels are using too much of the waters and are now being limited in the amount that they may import from the source of the Hot Springs.

Later I made my way to Selcuk by local minibus (dolmus) and thence to Marmaris by regular bus. Arrived in the early evening just in time to see the end of the sunset over the harbour. Beautiful! Coming down off the plateau high in the mountains to the shoreline was fascinating and beautiful. Enjoyed the 3-hour ride very much.

There were some problems with the hotel originally reserved for me by the travel agency. I had to call them and request a change. They found me another quite quickly. The Hotel Balim is within a couple minutes walking distance of the center, on the waterfront and a pleasant place to stay. I had a good Turkish dinner in town: A small mezze, stuffed green peppers with Adana kebap and a salad. Breakfast at the hotel was fine.

Day 7 # 19 September Marmaris

An early morning walk along the seashore was blazing hot, so I crossed over and walked on the other side of the street in the shade. Glad I did. I discovered a real coffee shop! One of the difficulties in Turkey for coffee lovers is that they serve either the thick Turkish coffee or instant coffee only. They call in nescafe, but the taste is very different. Only in the real tourist areas can one get a good espresso or filter coffee. It is expensive, but in the morning well worth the cost for me.

While walking along I happened on to some kind of a naval ceremony. I don't know what it was all about but it was interesting to watch the sailors in their naval whites performing. It took place near a statue and ceremonial badges were exhibited.

At 11.00 I was required to check-out of my hotel room, so I took my luggage over to the gulet (small boat formerly used for fishing) that I would be travelling on for the next couple of days. Left it there and walked around town.

There is an old fortress on the top of a hill. The steps leading up to it wind around in narrow alleyways and into and out of all sorts of interesting corners. The houses are very old. They are all in the process of being restored or just completed. Very pretty, quaint and interesting types of housing. Many of them are now restaurants or tourist shops.

A word about steps. For some odd reason that no one has been able to explain to me, all steps in Turkey are very high. From the most ancient sites to the most modern, including the steps up into a dolmus or bus they are twice the height of any other place that I have ever visited. With my short legs I felt the difference very strongly # in fact it will probably be one of my lasting memories of Turkey.

Finally reached the top and visited the castle which has now been turned into an archeological museum. The first ramparts of the castle were probably built about 3,000 BC. It was restored once by Alexander the Great in an attempt to control the pirates flourishing in the area. Many later attempts were also made by others. The pirates actually continued to successfully ply the seas in Anatalya until the 19th century when the British finally put a stop to it.

The views from the ramparts of the harbour and the surrounding area are lovely. Well worth the walk up even with those high steps.

Had a good lunch in town and walked through the Bazaar. Some nice and not expensive blouses there just suited to the excessive heat of the area. I bought two.

The salesmen are funny and will say "Hello, Where are you from?" in at attempt to get you into the store. After a while I got tired of being talked at and answered in Hebrew rather than English. Interestingly a few actually recognized the language but couldn't converse in it other than to say "Shalom". They tried English, German, Italian, Spanish and every other language they could, but I pretended ignorance and was free to browse without being pressured.

By 5 p.m. I was tired and returned to the gulet where I will spend the night. Tomorrow we sail.

Debbie - Israel