Turkey - Pamukkale - Cotton Castles in the Sky - Thomas Lemke

Pamukkale - Cotton Castles in the Sky

So if you ask me why, I will tell you why I came here. There are cotton castles in the sky.

High in the hills above Pamukkale there flow thermally heated waters that are full of minerals. As the water flows down over the hills they deposit layers of shiny white, coral-like deposits. It is a sight to behold and thousands of pilgrims migrate up the gentle slope and take delight in walking on perfectly white rock where warm water cascades over. The deposits are called the travertines. They are marbley to look at but when climbed barefoot (as required by the local Jandarms) they tread well and nary a slip is felt as you climb up beholding nature's handiwork.

It was lots of fun to photograph Joanne as we trod up through the ankle-deep water.  The white travertine stone makes for a natural reflector, brightening the shadows.

Water, rich with sediment, flows over rock to form the cotton castle. Pamukkale in Turkish, means cotton castle, which is the name of the town below. The town is well, let's just say, not a great destination. The rock formations, a World Heritage Site, are unique and lovely.

The water, scintillating in the morning sun, flows over the coral-like rock. It's not slippery to walk on.

Ok, maybe the muddy sediment has some therapeutic qualities. Hopefully?

This other-worldly landscape is a great place for portrait photography.  I figured some of these folks were updating their facebook profiles with fashionable poses.

Once up you can visit ancient Hieropolis. Yep the Greeks, then Romans , then Byzantians got here before the throngs of tour buses. Back in the BCEs a cool city was built above the warm springs. It bewilders me that the Turks just let everybody wander around their ruins. No fences (probably means no lawyers) and you can touch stones carved over two thousand years ago. So ancient ruins and a picturesque natural oddity in a perfectly hospitable climate. That's why I'm here in the hills of forest green where the mountains touch the sky.


So, "Crossing Uneven Ground". Pretty obviously, it's a style of travel that has found me tripping over cobblestones in Belgium and climbing the crags of Cappadocia. It is also the recognition that crossing cultures and connecting with people is also tricky turf to tread. But in my mind nothing is so rewarding as discovering new landscapes or learning about how other people live. Well there it is then, the "Uneven Ground"...metaphor for adventurous living; the "Crossing"...well let's do that together.
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