Days 04 – 06: Turkey [Selçuk & Pamukkale]

Day 04 – Sunday 24 June

After a very busy and musical time in Bursa, our tour group finished off with one last walk around the city and a visit to Turkey’s oldest Mosque, Ulu Cami (The Great Mosque). It is quite a big and beautiful building, yet also intimate, which was erected by Sultan Bayezid who had originally planned to build 20 separate mosques after winning a battle in 1396, but instead built just one mosque consisting of 20 domes.

 

Ulu Cami

Inside The Great Mosque

The rest of the day was spent in transit. We caught a coach that took 6 or so hours to get to Selçuk, our third destination. Our journey was made more bearable with the friendly on board attendants handing out free ice-cream and drinks. A pleasant way to cool down from the 30-something degree day. It was late in the afternoon once we arrived in Selçuk so we took a small orientation walk around the town and got to see the remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World..
“Selçuk is one of the most visited touristic destinations within Turkey, known for its closeness to the ancient city of Ephesus, House of the Virgin Mary and Seljuk works of art.”[wiki.]

Day 05 – Monday 25 June

Every morning seems to be off to an early start with our Intrepid tour which has been excellent for fitting in so many activities each day. Today we started with a tour of some of Turkeys best preserved ruins, Ephesus, initially an ancient Greek city that later became a major Roman city. I definitely started feeling the heat today after spending several hours wandering around and pondering how the heck these ancient sites were ever constructed. It is especially hard to imagine how they looked considering it’s mostly foundations and fragments of the original structures that still remain.

 

Efes

Intrepid tour group in front of The Library of Celsus in Ephesus

After that, Burak guided us on a twenty minute walk to a small village nearby where some local ladies taught us how to make gözleme, a savoury traditional Turkish hand made and hand rolled pastry. Burak told us that we must eat anything we make, and shouldn’t make too much. I made mine with spinach, potatoes, meat and cheese, then cooked on a hotplate in a fire. It was pretty bloody tasty! I even helped some of the others when they couldn’t eat all of theirs.

Rolling up some gözleme

We caught a bus back to our hotel after that then changed in to some bathers and a few of us went to a pool in a villa that was owned by the same people as the hotel we were staying in. The villa overlooked the entire region and was absolutely stunning.

For dinner we went for some wine tasting in Şirince, a beautiful hill town only 8 km (5 miles) east of Selçuk, Another absolutely stunning view.

Day 06 – Tuesday 26 June

Tuesday was a bit of a struggle after spending most of yesterday in the sun and enjoying the local beer and fruit wines. It was another early start as we caught a very crowded train from Selçuk to Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish. The city contains hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. [wiki.]
The instant we arrived at our hotel I was definitely a little more than excited to take advantage of the pool and go for a relaxing dip to shake off the shady hangover after lunch. Later in the afternoon, once things had cooled down a bit, our group made our way to the phenomenal natural beauty and famous calcium travertines. From afar it looks like snow covered mountains in the middle of a country village. Before making our way to the peak, several of us went for a quick dip in the thermal pools at Pamukkale. No matter what I say or what photos I post, it won’t do this place any justice. All I can say is that this was definitely one of the best places I’ve been to and won’t be forgetting it any time soon. Sitting at the top of the mountain watching the sun set was such an amazing sight – absolutely beautiful! It’s moments like these that make me want to travel for the rest of my life.

 

Pamukkale

Panoramic view of Travertine Hot Springs at Pamukkale terraces

Sunset over travertines in Pamukkale

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