Lycia Tour – Day 4
Another mainly coach day today. We started off with a trip to Aphrodisias, which is an extensive site. Although not quite on a par with Ephesus I think I preferred it. Obviously little will compare to the Library of Celsus which appeals to the bibliophile in me but, for the free spirited rambler that also makes up part of who I am, Aphrodisias was a winner. A mix of almost complete ruins and a series of small walls and tumbled pillars, Aphrodisias boasts a monumental gateway, Temple of Aphrodite, Theatre, Baths, Agora and a Stadium to rival the Circus Maximus (I encountered the latter many times while visiting Rome a couple of years ago and it really is little more than a big dusty hollow). We had plenty of time to wander about taking photographs and marvelling at the views both near and far. We even had time to have a quick scoot around the museum, which contains statues and carvings from the site. Sadly, as in the case of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus a lot of the original stonework has disappeared, which means restoration is difficult. Unlike the Temple of Artemis, however, quite a bit still remains and the site is slowly being excavated, the pieces numbered and, where possible, restored.
Lunch wasn’t the usual hot and cold buffet; we started with a spicy tomato and parmesan dish, followed by salad and cooked bread – kind of like a pizza with minced lamb or egg on top – and then a choice of trout fish, chicken or beef kebabs with rice and yummy yoghurt and honey for afters. It was easily the best lunch of the week, tres super delish. I found myself chatting politics and education with a rather well to do gentleman from our tour group. He was shocked by some of my stories of behaviour in state schools and seemed to think I was a bit of a saint for trying to work with these kids!
The hotel in Pamukkale had thermal pools and offered a thermal spa treatment. Sadly they messed up our hamam booking and, after letting in a bunch of people who hadn’t booked, had no space for us until much later. Both mum and I were quite put out having gone to the effort to book as we knew it would be busy once we’d got there so refused their offer of a later slot and huffed off to the thermal pools. Shame, as the hotel was lovely and, up until that point, was on my list of places to go back to for longer. A quiet soak and a scrub in the thermal pools turned into a bit of a social gathering, I can see why the Roman baths were quite the place to be. No assassinations or political coups were plotted, it was more of a holiday destination recommendation swap shop while we watched the sunset over the distant mountains.
Dinner was slightly marred by the appearance of the hotel’s official photographer who made you pose on the way down the stairs and then harassed the tables during pudding. Needless to say none of the pictures he took of mum and I were purchased, although we did have a snigger at our sour faces once the photos were printed and displayed at breakfast. The discovery of baklava for pudding went some of the way towards making up for the hit and miss experience at the hotel.