I decided to stay an extra day in Pamukkale so that I could take a day trip out to Afrodisias, another extensive set of Roman ruins with the added benefit of fewer tourists since it’s somewhat off the beaten path.
Though the pension called it a tour, it was really just a chartered dolmus, which was fine with me as I wanted to explore on my own. Our driver was an older Turkish man with limited English, but I understood from him that he was upset only three people were going to Afrodisias that day. It took about an hour and a half each way, so I can understand his disappointment.
Driving through the hills and valleys was great, though. We saw farmers tending their fields, the women pretty much all with a scarf wrapped around their hair and often their faces too. I’ve seen a number of farmers using old fashioned manual instruments, like scythes to cut hay, over the past week or so.
When we arrived at the car park for the site, we transferred to a little trolley-like car pulled by a tractor. Once through the entrance gate, I stopped to put on bug spray as it looked like a very grassy site. As I dug into my bag, all the stray cats came over hoping to be fed!
I decided to go in the direction it seemed like the tour groups were not going in, and happily spent a few hours wandering around. At one point I passed a group of school children who, seeing my English language guidebook in my hand, decided to try out their English with “hello”s and “where are you from”s. One little boy then yelled the Turkish equivalent of “Turkey rules!”
The stadium is absolutely gigantic, with one end set aside as a colosseum within it:
The entrance to the temple of Aphrodite that gives the town its name:
Before leaving, I checked out the museum:
Out of the three passengers meeting back at the dolmus, I was a little early, one of the men was on time, and the Turkish passenger was late – late enough to get our driver stewing about him and calling him a bad Muslim and a liar. Luckily our driver eventually calmed down, but in the intervening wait, I got to chatting with the other guy who is French Algerian. One of the great things about this solo trip is the meeting interesting people whom I might never have spoken to if I were traveling with someone else.
Once back at the hotel, one of the men who worked there who had given me the lift to Hieropolis the day before again invited me to see the travertines illuminated at night. As I think both times it would only have been the two of us there, I again declined and soon escaped up to my room as it made me somewhat uncomfortable. I resolved to wear my fake wedding ring on the next part of my trip to try to avoid future awkward moments.