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Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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To Pamukkale Pamukkale, Turkey, Thursday, 14 January 2010 4:47am

I got up before dawn again to catch a bus to Denizli at 7. I'd made a note of two taxi ranks very near my hotel, and assumed that there'd be a taxi at at least one of them at 6am. Nope. Had to go back to my hotel and ask them to call one for me. At the bus station, I was told the wrong gate number for my bus, but I got suspicious when there was still no bus there 15 minutes before it was scheduled to leave, and discovered that the but labeled "Izmir" several gates over was the bus I needed.

It was a long bus ride. I think it ended up being 7.5 hours. I finished reading a novel and started another. I messed around a bit on the Internet (in bus wifi!). I napped.

In Denizli, I discovered that bus companies don't want to sell me direct tickets to my next destination (Selçuk), but to route me through another city, and that the handy train route there is closed for track work. Ah, well.

I caught a dolmuş to Pamukkale, and started looking for a hotel. This town seems desperate. Guys lean out of cars and minibuses to offer you places to stay. Hoteliers start dropping the price as soon as they show you the room. The hotels are visibly empty.

I was looking for a hotel mentioned in the guidebook, and when a guy in a car offered to take me to that particular hotel, I thought "where's the harm?". As soon as I was inside and the car was moving, he said "That hotel is closed, but there's another one." Classic scam, right? Well... he actually drove me (the three blocks) to the hotel, and they were closed for repairs. But the setup bothered me. I'm not going to stay at a hotel that someone takes me to under false pretenses. Anyway, I found another place where the people were friendlier, and there's in-room wifi.

It's funny how that's become the deciding factor in so many of my hotel decisions on this trip. Private room > Attached bathroom > In Room Wifi > Breakfast > Price > Decor.

It was getting late, so I hustled up to the local site, the ruins of Hierapolis and the hot springs and travertines of Pamukkale ("Cotton Castle"). The springs here have dissolved minerals in them that precipitate out as the water flows down the hill, leaving terraces of white stone. I arrived too late to visit the museum or the hot spring pool, but I did get to dip my feet into the warm water and walk along the terraces.

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