Hills Like White Cotton—Pamukkale

It starts with one picture


There’s only several sites like this on earth. Yellow Stone National park in United States, Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area in China. I was lucky because I‘ve been to Yellow Stone during its beautiful summer. I‘ve also be Huanglong three times so far since it is my favorite place in my hometown. Now I’m in Turkey, I felt like I should go to the Pamukkale as well.

There’s other ways to go there, but I was thinking of an approach that I was always wanted—drive there. Driving in China, I learnt that driving can be something you fight for surviving; driving in America, I learnt you are responsible not only for you but also for others . So, with my experiences, I feel I may be able to drive in another country even I don’t speak the language.

I was not wrong but not completely right either. Overall this road trip was peaceful and nice, but I did learn some lessons.

Lesson 1: When the GPS said “sharp left”, he means sharp, which can be U turn from the left side. And speed does matters for the “sharp left”.

Lesson 2: When the GPS said “limited map information”, he may want to say “I don’t really know the road”, which means the “road” he thought was going under the bridge is actually a river that is going under the bridge.

Lesson 3: When the GPS said “Do you want to avoid toll road?” please say no, becaue the so-called “shortcut” might be some minimal maintainance roads, and ”minimal maintainance“ in some cases means “maintained by truck run over no-road ground”.

Lesson 4: On the “minimal maintainance” road if there’s some water on the ground, it might be a hole that filled with water.

It is believed that people may change their personalities when driving, this is very well proved by Turks. Turks are so nice and friendly all the time, but when it becames driving, they changed!

Lesson 5: Either the case is you can drive the highway speed on regular road or the highway has traffic signal, that flashing yellow signal is the first and last warming means “CAUTION!!!”.

Lesson 6: The use of blinkers sometimes is not needing based but “I may or may not use it, depending on my mood” base, so the best way to learn other cars’ move is the old but sometimes-works way—“guessing”.

Lesson 7: Buses and trucks are big and always moving slowly, but it doesn’t mean that they can travel at the speed of flying, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Lesson 8: The number of lanes can also be used to measure the width of the road, which means some roads are two lanes wide and some roads are 8 lanes wide, in this case, all roads just has one lane but can be wide and wider.

Although there’re lessons to learn, driving in Turkey is very enjoyable. Highway is one part, also driving through those villeges is another interesting experiences.


Lesson learnt I arrived in one piece.


I was wondering if Hemingway ever came to Pamukkale,since Pamukkale is “Hills like white elephants”.


The story of Pamukkale is a little bit sad. The site was a natural hot spring for centuries and was used for centuries as well. Romans used it as well as people in the 20th century. However, it became too popular at one point. Hotels were built on top of the hill; pools was included into the hotels; waste water was dumped into the water. The spring was polluted and became dark and red and most pools were dry these days.


The government realized the problems, these hotels were torn down and the land those buildings took was coverted into gardens or path, creating a new layer of landscape in Pamukkale.



Today, it is required to take off the shoes when visiting to protect the site. People can go into the pool without shoes.

Like this



With a liitle bit of disappointment of Pamukkale, the Hierapolis, on the other hand, was a surprise.

Hierapolis was a Ancient Roman city in the manner of Greek city like always, there’s similarities between Hierapolis and Ephesus.

The first surprise was the  landscape creating by the ruins of the city and the standing of the theater.The strong feeling of ancient history was presented visually. The ruins standed out of the landscape but faded into the landscape as well. Image

Hierapolis was considered as a holy city back to the ancient time since is has Pamukkale, natural hot spring was used in the bath of Romans.

The glory of the past of the city was all accumulated into the theater since this is one of the best reserved theather of Romans.



Standing on the top of the theater, I’m standing on the same stone as one ancient Roman; Standing in the water of the Hot spring, thousand years ago an Roman may did the same thing as I did. It always feels good that you can “touch” the history.






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