Pamukkale, the Cotton Castle

A Youth Backpacker in Europe

Part III Chapter III

Pamukkale, the Cotton Castle

Garçon in the bus. Well, he's not the handsome one I mentioned in this post In the morning of my third day in Turkey, I finally boarded on my pilot road journey with the renowned Turkish bus system. To what many people find themselves being sceptical about, it was a downright routine practice in the Turkish bus system – complimentary drink and food service on board. And if you are lucky, you will find a handsome looking and well dressed young man to be your garçon of the day.

Prior to my journey, Fiona told me about this complimentary service thingy which I seriously took into account during the planning phase of my trip. Not that bus fare in Turkey was ridiculously valued until requiring you to dig deep for reasons prior to subscription, but to receive service which one would normally only receive 38,000 feet above ground right on the ground, that surely was an irresistible perk worth considering.

Gleams from water tables during sunset However, food served was not the award winning excessively decorated flight meal but just some packet fruit cake from ordinary market. Well, you pay for what you get. But it was confusing enough for first-timer, for example the Indian woman in the same bus with me to mistaken it as the similar cunning ploy of budget airlines to plough extra revenue.

It was a three-hour journey wheeling on the meandering ‘highway’ of Turkey towards the east. Everything was perfect – the mesmerising scenery and the equally eye candy garçon, the talkative next and front seats neighbours which occasionally gave me the much desired peace of mind, and the enjoyable ‘ psychologically free’ fruit cake and juices – until the visit of the unsolicited torrential downpour.

Cascade Structure of Pamukkale To be fair, it wasn’t all that sunny at all since the morning in the first place. Checking out the gloomy weather through the cleaning-desperate bus window was not even the last activity I intended to perform during the journey. But when the rain finally came, I found myself in a cleft stick, indecisive on whether to settle with a rainwater-cleaned window that allows clearer penetration of scenery or a sunny weather through the stained window.

Three hours of neither bumpy nor comfortable bus ride later, the following structure imposed itself into the curtains of my eyes – a humongous natural white blanketed hill slope echoed by the rhythm of drastic flowing streams. It is what they call the ‘Cotton Castle’ – Pamukkale.








Trench dug to divert flow Another UNESCO World Heritage, but this naturally formed ‘shimmering’ white cascade, sculptured by limestone-laden hot springs that have over the course created unique shapes of stalactites, potholes and magical fairy tables, was one of its kind. The sheer scale of this captivated formation alone was sufficient to make every visitor gasps. But it was the privilege to walk bare foot on the ‘hard cotton’ ground that left an unforgettable memory.

Worry about slippery surface? Nah, the spring water was deliberately diverted via the multiple The bluish water tablespurposely dug trenches. Not considering it as a strategic move, I would rather choose to risk myself falling off this approximately 20 floors high structure by paddling exhilarating through the reputed beneficial water while gazing at the ancient fragments of the columns below the surface, than to trek safely on the dry wrinkled stone while coercing myself into believing what now seemed like a carelessly worn potholes as the once glamorous ‘castle’ made of cotton.

What considered as lucky was when it approached sunset, there was a glimpse of sunshine materialising The Ancient City of Hierapolis on top of Pamukkale golden gleams from some scarce amount of water tables to quench the thirst for a long waited impressive facet of Pamukkale of which I considered as the consolation prize of my only day in Pamukkale, before drizzles of spring showers made their presence.

Disappointed by the weather which certainly had brought back the winter chill, I found myself enjoyed a hot-pan grilled fish in a relaxed warm old-fashioned heated lounge of my hostel at night, recharging myself with a good night sleep before the pilgrimage to the most religious city of Turkey – Konya the next day.

P.S.: Thank you Erkan from Turkey for his wonderful recommendation to visit Pamukkale.