Monday, October 27, 2014

Exploring SW Turkey in Selimiye and Pamukkale

Getting to our workaway in Selimiye, Turkey was a 24 hour ordeal.

We left Sozopol early Sunday morning and took a local bus to Burgas where after a bit of a wait we caught a 7 hr bus to Istanbul. We briefly saw the infamous Istanbul Buyuk (big) Bus Terminal (which is 3 stories of chaos in the form of bus companies, shopping, restaurants, a metro station and what seemed like at least a thousand buses), and were on our way within the hour to Marmaris which would be a 13 hr overnight ride. We finally landed in Marmaris at 9 am, and then caught the 10:30 am Dolmus to Selimiye- a tiny resort(ish) fishing town 40 km away on the Bozborun Peninsula.

Needless to say, we were exhausted, and once we reached our workaway- a Butik Otel (boutique hotel) high up on the mountain overlooking Selimiye, we got a quick tour and then passed out. We stayed there for two weeks helping out with breakfast and dinner for the guests, some room cleaning and helping with various household tasks such as olive planting and harvesting.

Johanna practicing her "spear chunking".

Unfortunately we didn't get much of a chance to explore the area since we didn't get a lot of free time and we were pretty much on our own for getting around. However, we did manage to make it into Selimiye a few times and checked out their tiny beach.

We also hiked up to the top of the mountain that the hotel was located at and got some pretty great 360 shots of the area. It's really easy to imagine ancient Greeks sailing up through these peninsulas a thousand years ago.

On our one day off we hiked to Bozborun, a slightly bigger village 10 km away from Selimiye.

On our way into town we walked through an area where they apparently build boats- pretty cool!

After a couple of weeks of working in Selimiye we decided we really needed to see some Greek ruins  while in the area so we headed off to Pamukkale, a 4 hour bus ride north of Marmaris.

You aren't allowed to wear shoes on the travertines, in order to preserve them.

Pamukkale, which means "Cotton Castle" in Turkish, is a small town a little bit north of the industrial city of Denizli (where we stayed since it was a lot cheaper than Pamukkale) that is host to a white "castle" of hot springs, calcium deposits called "travertines" and an ancient Greco-Roman city called Hieropolis.

We really enjoyed seeing such a natural wonder and could easily see why people have been coming here for thousands of years.

Check back soon for our post on our three weeks in Istanbul!

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