Wine, wine and ruins. Read our travel report.
This is a good month for wine. And, the best way to taste, select favourites and purchase wines is to visit a winery. This is exactly what 23 of “us” did. With appreciation to Pamukkale winery, we 23 boarded more than one minibus and were treated to an exceptional luncheon with Pamukkale wines, of course. Afterwards, we continued on to the winery and given a tour, the guide explaining at each step of the way, how wine is produced. I knew that once the tour was over, we’d be led to their tasting and then to the showroom to make our desired purchases. What was delightfully surprising to us all was the handsome discount Pamukkale granted on all kinds of wine – even champagne. On boarding our minibuses the winery rep presented us with designer canvas bags complete with gifts inside them and lo and behold another two bottles of their fine wine!
Our excursion was two days. We headed first for Pamukkale winery, Hieropolis spa with dinner and breakfast, and the next morning a stroll among the striking ruins of Hieropolis city. To top off our second day many of us enjoyed splashing about in Pamukkale mineral cascades and Cleopatra’s pool.
Our onward journey took us to Hieropolis. As we drove along, the clinking of bottles in overhead compartments and in luggage in the “boot,” made music to our ears. After checking into the spa hotel, we spent the afternoon enjoying hydrotherapy – swimming and paddling about in warm mineral springs pools, being pampered in the Turkish bath and, after an exhaustive morning at the winery, a massage before a wonderful buffet variety of foods at dinner in the hotel. (If you ever meet Clive, don’t remind him that he made 6 return trips to the buffet.) Although this was October, even with open windows, my room was warm. I turned on the air conditioner. At breakfast the next morning, Grace and Mike said they, too, found their room too warm and had used their air conditioner. We then learned that hot mineral springs run under the hotel buildings. It was this heat we felt.
Hieropolis is Greek for “Holy city.” The Romans extensively developed the city about 190 B.C. The Romans knew a good thing when they discovered the area held a myriad of hot mineral springs that cured so many of their ailments. Romans resided, retired, and as John and Mary commented during our visit there, “if they weren’t cured, they died there.” The site of Hieropolis is indeed a necropolis with huge sarcophagi and tombs strewn about the landscape. As we strolled the still evident Roman roadway, Joan kept popping up in doorways to have her photo taken. When she insisted on posing atop a sarcophagus, we all backed off!Hieropolis city ends at the Pamukkale we know from travel posters. In ancient times, Pamukkale was a part of the city but today this area holds a museum, Cleopatra’s dazzling pool, and the “cotton” cascades.
As the miles sped by on our return home, we brought with us these thoughts of our visit to Pamukkale and Hieropolis: Turkey makes some of the best wines . . .
The hospitality of the people at Pamukkale winery is warm and generous. They have every right to be proud of the products they offer. Sometimes the Romans accomplish something beautiful and eternal-like Hieropolis and Pamukkale. These old Romans really did know how to live well.
So many areas of Turkey, including Hieropolis and Pamukkale, are riddled with history and culture that’s actually interesting. Although we were 23 persons and perhaps a large group, we didn’t squabble, become annoyed with each other, were quite comfortable with the hotel and excursion arrangements. Bring with you: An apple (for you or the goats), a bathing costume and beach towel, a personal water bottle, sensible walking shoes, a charged digital or ready-to-use camera, an open attitude to easy adventure, a book to read, a sense of humour, and money. Travel light. If you’ve forgotten to pack something you can probably buy or borrow the item (except for a toothbrush!).