It all started here...

It all started here...

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pamukkale Natural Park-Antalya

Day 7, November 18, 2013--Pamukkale Natural Park, Carpet Factory, and Antalya

Spending the night at the Herakles takes some creative thinking. Our door did not seem safe because there was no secondary lock that you can secure inside the room. Anyone can easily open it using a key or whatever available. We had to move the luggage bench over to block the door in case of any unnecessary intrusion in the middle of the night. Not the best option but we felt much better without worrying too much about what would happen.

Again, we will have a long drive today from Pamukkale to Antalya.

A quiet morning at the Herakles Thermal Hotel, the outdoor pool.
Breakfast at this hotel was pretty good, with plenty of choices. I found out that even though the restaurants provided bread, they don't usually provide butter except in the morning. I wonder why?

Pamukkale Natural Park

After breakfast, we were taken back towards Pamukkale and visited the Pamukkale Natural Park at the bottom of the "Cotton Castle". We only stopped for a short time, taking pictures, but it was just a beautiful sight. There was a camel at the entrance of the park but not sure if we have to pay to get a picture of it, so I just passed on having a picture of the only camel we saw on this trip.

Some of the members in our group needed to use the ATM and there were several of them here.

Waiting on the bus, our favorite section, all the way in the back.

Look at all the ATM machines out there!

Carpet Factory

Well, not sure if it was a factory, maybe better call it a carpet cooperatives. Mainly a place to get tourists to buy the very expensive carpets. This is suppose to be one of the country's biggest hand-made carpet cooperatives and also our first shopping stop. This one was definitely bigger than the one we visited in 2010 where we had lunch at near Ephesus but the sales pitch were all the same. After the introduction, the demonstration of rug making by local weavers and silk threading (pretty much like what we saw in China), we were taken to one of the huge rooms where cameras are prohibited. Apple tea, juice, or a local alcoholic drink was served. Then they rolled out one after another of their beautiful carpets to attract potential customers. Of course, several people in our group dug into their pockets and purchased their favorite ones. We, on the other hand, just excused ourselves and admired some more of their products before exiting the building.



This is a silk carpet and we were told that you can see through if it's real silk carpet.

Waiting at the outdoor cafe...

...with many other tourists.

"Yeah... that's how we feel too!"

Back on the bus, bus #3 American European Travel.

Time for lunch. This time the "fluantes" were not as good as the last place we had them. But they had some kind of stewed chicken which was not bad.

Food stations

Big selection of salad items at every meal.

Again, skewers were rationed after being grilled out front.

He was continuously stuffing grilled meat inside that huge sandwich. Wondering who will be getting THAT!?

Restaurant where we had lunch.

After lunch we continued our drive crossing the Taurus Mountains to the Mediterranean Coast. When we arrived in Antalya after a few hours, this was what we amazing sunset.

Now we are at the coast of the Mediterranean and the city of Antalya where we will be spending our last two nights while in Turkey.

Friday, November 29, 2013


Day 6, November 17, 2013--Pine Bay Resort, Kusadasi-Pamukkale-Herakles Thermal Hotel, Karahayit

Pine Bay Resort is a huge hotel with many buildings all scattered on the hillside next to the Aegean Sea north of Kusadasi. It seems like a very popular all-inclusive type of place in the summer when they hold many different kinds of activities in their facilities. It is a beautiful resort but again we were only there for the one night. 

We stayed at one of the bungalows about a 5-minute walk from the main building. There are two rooms in the bungalow, with two single beds each, so there were four beds for the three of us. Good thing we were not in the bungalows further up. 

Walked to the the dining room for breakfast in the morning.

Main Building

The dining room was not opened yet but staff were getting food ready for the guests.

Very quiet as we waited in the beautiful lobby, using the wi-fi there.

The indoor pool on the ground level.

The outdoor pool

Looking out to the Aegean Sea.

Rooms near the main building

the beach

Aqua Park nearby

A couple of cats were begging for food at breakfast.

Back to our bungalow to set our luggage out for pick-up.

walkway to other bungalows higher up

Fortunately we were right next to one of the main roads.

view from our window
I have to say that Pine Bay is an excellent hotel and probably an ideal resort for holidays. One problem was they only have wi-fi in the main building area. 

As we were leaving the area, we passed by the aqua park and the convention center nearby.

some street scenes on our way to Pamukkale

There were road constructions and parts of the highway were closed so our bus driver had to look for alternative routes to get back on track.

Turkey is really a clean and orderly country.

We had to drive from the seaside area into the inland area.

After a few hours of driving, we stopped here for lunch.

Not bad, really. Especially those fluantes looking thing, crispy and delicious.

Got our rationed skewers.

an outdoor lunch


I did not know what to expect of this UNESCO World Heritage site but was pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time here so we had to choose between the Hierapolis or the "Cotton Castle". We were thinking of doing both within the limited time, but ended up spending most of our time at the pools. It was just amazing looking at these calcium formations with the constant flowing of the spring.

As our guide pointed out, one of the seven churches mentioned in the Bible, Laodicea, is actually located very near here. And that was why Paul had pointed out that the Christians in Laodicea were
"neither hot nor cold".

A little lesson and instruction before entering the area. Ahmid explained where everything is before letting us go on our own.

part of the Hierapolis
Philip was said to have burried at the far end of this picture.

Looks like snow-capped mountain.

kind of like Yellowstone but without the smell

People are allowed to get into parts of the pools but everyone must take off their shoes.

It was actually not an easy task to walk around because of the hard and slippery surface. Just the time we were there I saw at least five people fell to the ground and getting all soaked. A mother carrying a child actually fell twice into the water. Ouch!
Christian walked all the way to where the people were at in the far right of this picture.

Tourists from all over the world were there.

Good place to soak your feet!

Very slippery!

Christian having a good day shooting with his camera.

Some people trek up or down the hill on specific route.

This is actually a better place to soak your feet, no crowds and easy access. Oh well, too late. Just go further up and around the corner.


We had so much fun at the pool area and we didn't mind missing the Hierapolis.

As we were waiting for the rest of the group out at the front entrance, we just had to have a taste of the Turkish ice cream. Not cheap, 5 lira for a tiny little scoop.

Herakles Thermal Hotel, Karahayit

After Pamukkale, we were taken to the Herakles Thermal Hotel for the night. The Herakles is in a little town called Karahayit, actually very close to the ruins of the city of Lodicea. Unfortunately we were not scheduled to visit the ruins but to have time for people to enjoy a thermal bath at the hotel.
We, on the other hand, decided not to get into the thermal pool but to go out and explore the village.

Our room at the end of the hallway, again, on the second floor.

spacious with a little balcony

Supposedly we should be able to get the thermal water from the brass faucet on the wall, but after running it for a long time that night, the water was still very cold, so we gave up on the idea of having a thermal bath in our room.

The rooster in front of the hotel. I think there is some stories behind the roosters but I forgot what the guide told us.

Entrance to the hotel

The road in front of the hotel.

Right at the main street there is a mosque.

We made a right turn and that was what we saw at the town center--a statue of someone,

and a volcano-looking rock.

Then we followed the well-lit street to the village business area. That dog followed us for quite a while as we were walking along. Many stores with different wares, not necessary cheaper but rather interesting. I was quoted 17 lira for a set of Turkish coffee cup here which I paid 5 lira for in Istanbul.

another mosque in the neighborhood

Then we saw a small restaurant baking pizzas in their brick oven facing the street. We just had to try something, so we ordered a Turkish pizza. They asked if we were going to eat there or take it with us. When we told them we wanted to eat there, they brought a plate of salad to go with the pizza at no extra charge. A total of 7 lira for this little snack. Not bad!

Hot pizza freshly out from the oven. Delicious!

After walking back to the hotel, it was time for dinner.

A good ending to another fun day.