December 1st: We bused from Fethiye to Pamukkale. Pamukkale is famous for it’s travertine pools. Travertine is a type of limestone, formed by the deposition of calcium carbonate from mineral-rich hot springs (at least in this case).
December 2nd: We got up early and saw hot-air balloons(!) while we walked up to the travertine pools park. The access is restricted to certain areas to control the damage caused by the large number of visitors year-round. The parts you can access are a series of cascading man-made pools fed by the hot springs. The retaining walls are installed and the mineral-rich water is allowed to run run over, covering it with travertine, so it looks like nature made you a bath.
Directly upslope from the pools are the ruins of Hierapolis, originally a thermal spa in the 2nd century BC, and soon after, became a Roman city. It was plagued by earthquakes until it was abandoned in the 7th century. Seljuks built settlements in the area between the 12th and 14th centuries that were again, ruined by earthquakes and abandoned.
We had a great day up there. We spent hours soaking our feet, looking at rocks, petting cats, and roaming ruins.
December 3rd: We took the bus westward to Selçuk, the town closest to the ancient city of Ephesus.
December 4th: We explored the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, built in the 10th century BC. In the ruins, we read that the population reached 250,000! The internet doesn’t agree on a number – anywhere from 38,000 to 225,000 people. A big city any way you slice it.
December 5th: We were up early and on our way south to Bodrum!