There is no denying that the major cities of any country hold a lot of attraction. People often visit the major cities and capital cities of any country they go to and build impressions about the entire country from them. However, going away from these cities and staying in the smaller cities of Turkey really gave us a chance to take a closer look at their culture. Denizli - this ancient city is the ticket to its history. Friendly, helpful locals, local wine and warm weather all add up to the experience. Here are some of the nicest experiences this place gave us.
Bathing in the hot springs of Pamukkale
Pamukkale translates to 'cotton castle' in Turkish. The travertine white terraces, made of leftover limestone deposits, are a wonder of nature. Bathing in one of the thermal pools, with a breathtaking view before us, felt like paradise.
Hike to the top of Hierapolis
An ancient city near the Pamukkale hot springs, Hierapois is a UNESCO work heritage site and dates back to the early 2nd century BC. The entire valley is filled with colourful flowers and a small hike to the top rewarded us with mesmerizing views :))
Queen feels in the Cleopatra's antique pool
To swim in the antique pool of Hierapolis where Cleopatra herself is said to have swum definitely gave us queen feels!
Vegetarian food hunt
In Denizli, hardly anyone spoke English and most of the restaurants served non-vegetarian food. Google translator was always there for us though. Most of the times, we asked for tomato cheese and bread. One afternoon, we tried to get vegetarian food in 2-3 places and couldn't get any. In the 4th one we tried to explain the hotel staff that anything vegetarian was okay.
They asked us to sit and discussed something among themselves. After a long conversation in Turkish, the lady chef started making something for us. The lady bought us something which looked like parathas. She stuffed mashed potatoes, paneer, onion and spinach in the wheat flour and baked it in the charcoal oven, followed by sugar glazed donuts. It was the best meal in the entire trip! I must say, throughout our trip we came across such kindness and we found that people here go out of their way to help.
Making Friends at Laodicea city
Laodiciea is another extremely ancient city, reborn with archeological restoration. One of the seven churches of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation is situated here. Usually, it is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. We reached the place at 5:00 pm, but unfortunately the place was closed early that day. There was no one except a Turkish lady who came from inside after visiting the place and the security in charge. We requested him if he could allow us in; we told him that we came all the way from India and wanted to see the place. The lady and security in charge said in astonishment that most of the people from turkey didn't know this place and we came from India!!! He said he couldn't allow us inside, but said we can see the place from outside.
The sun was setting on the beautiful landscape; all of us settled in the grass for some fresh Grapefruit and conversations about other good places in Turkey, culture and history of the country. The lady was in her mid 40's, was from Turkey, settled in Barcelona, and she told us stories about Loadiciea. Though she was born and raised in Denizli, she had never visited this place before she said. She also said that may be this place was destined for us some other time (hopefully).
While leaving, the security in charge asked me to leave my phone number so that he could send me pictures of Loadiciea. He felt sorry that we missed going inside (I can easily get the images from Google, I thought, but shared my number anyway). It has been more than four months now since I came back to Mumbai. My phone buzzes even today with the photos he sends me every now and then. I am sure I can never get them on Google?
Turkey offers e-visa to Indians if you have an existing Schengen/UK/Ireland/USA visa. Apply and get a visa in 15 min - Turkey E-Visa
If you don't have any of the above, one can apply for a Turkish visa through VFS Turkey After submitting the application to VFS, it can take anywhere between 7-10 days to get the visa
The nearest Airport to Denizli is Cardak which is 1 hour (65kms) away. it is easily accessible from Izmir as well, its a 3.5 hours drive by car/Bus. Buses circulate between Izmir and Denizli at regular frequency.
Getting around Denizili is easy by taxi or Public buses. The Taxi guys quote a very huge amount at times. Be confident enough to negotiate.
Most of the locals do not speak English, so keep an offline google translator handy.
There are great stay options on Airbnb. There are also a lot of hotel near Pamukkale.
Do you have such overwhelming experiences from places? if yes do share the same in the comments below.