June 28th & 29th:
We didn’t really do much on the 28th of June. Woke up late, had a nice breakfast with the delicious Turkish bread, tomatoes and eggs and headed for Ladies Beach. In the afternoon Marleen treated me to a nice session in the Hamam where we both got a 20 minute oil massage! I have never felt more relaxed in my life! I wouldn’t mind going there again :) At night we had dinner near the beach and enjoyed some traditional Turkish tea again. We also booked an excursion to Hierapolis and Pammukale for tomorrow, which are located near a town called Denizli, about a 3 hour drive from Kusadasi. This means waking up early and travelling a lot, but it will be worth it.
On the 19th we spent most of the morning on the bus to Denizli. We arrived near Pammukale a little before noon and had a nice lunch first with other people who had joined the excursion. At 2 pm we finally got to see the ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis. The city is located on top of a mountain, which gives you an amazing view of the landscape. Many mountains in the distance and vast, dry land surround you there. Really beautiful! Our guide explained us the history of the place, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and showed us around many of the ruins, like the amphitheatre. After about an hour we could explore the site by ourselves and walk down the mountain alongside the many limestone terraces called Pamukkale. The ancient city was impressive, but Pamukkale was incredible!
Pamukkale literally means cotton castle and you can walk all the way down over the travertine terraces. Many people walk around in their bikini’s to relax in the hot springs and it’s a very nice fresh feeling for your feet, when you’ve been walking in the heat for a couple of hours! The ground is not slippery at all and people have to take off their shoes if they want to walk down the mountain. Pammukale is very hard to describe in words, pictures give a better impression of what it was like. Just stunning and not like anything I’d ever seen before.
After we arrived back at the hotel, our last day of the train trip from West to East Europe had almost ended and we started packing. Tomorrow we will catch the bus to Izmir, the shuttle to the airport and fly back home in the afternoon. These two weeks have been amazing. It feels like I’ve been away for more than a month because of the many things we have seen. The cities of Berlin, Budapest and Istanbul were very different and each one just as interesting as the other ones.