04 Aug 2010 @ 10:18 PM 

We are lagging pretty far behind on everything, we’re just gonna have to have a huge update when we get back to the US.

After waking up in Pamukkale, we all showered early and headed to buy a bus ticket for the next leg of our Turkish journey. We went to the tourism office and walked up to the desk to begin the wheeling and dealing ritual necessary to get anything done in TUrkey. Behind the desk was a kid who was about 14 years old. Apparently he runs the tourism office. The funny thing is I am not kidding. After buying our bus tickets, the 14 year old informed us his cousin could cut us a good deal on tickets into the “cotton castle”, so we met with another guy to buy discount tickets. He invited us back later to eat his mom’s cooking, which we promised to keep in mind.

We arrived at the travertines and found them to be as impressive as expected. It looks like waterfalls coming down snowy mountains, but it is actually made of white limestone composed of mineral deposits from hundreds of years of hot mineral springs flowing down the mountain. You are not allowed to wear your shoes, which was unpleasant at times, but overall it was an amazing walk up the hill. At the top of the hill we were surprised to find extensive ruins of an ancient civilization, which our ticket also included admission to. We wandered around the ruins until the sun got too hot to bear and we headed back down the travertines. Sadly, we missed half of the ruins, including ‘Cleopatra’s pool’, but we didn’t know that until later. Luckily we all thought it was a totally worthwhile experience without the things we missed, so it was no big deal.

We then headed back to eat the cooking of the bus ticket boy’s aunt. It was as delicious as promised. We then headed back to the hotel to gather our laundry and get on the bus to Marmaris. The hotel brought us our laundry still dripping wet in plastic bags. This made us very sad and would result in all of us smelling quite terrible for the next week. Luckily we all love each other very much.

We took a bus from Pamukkale to Denizli to wait for our big bus to Marmaris. In the parking lot, we saw a terrifying looking cross dresser and wondered where in the world a Turkish cross dresser would be taking a bus to. We would find out the answer to this later…

Meanwhile, we sat on the steps of the police station in the shade and a police officer came out and gave us some wacky Turkish fruits that looked and tasted like a combination between a plum and a fig. I thought it was delicious and sweet, Chris said his was not sweet at all. We realized later that night that his probably wasn’t ripe yet, and therefore slightly toxic. Poor Chris, he pooped everywhere.

The bus to Pamukkale was mostly uneventful and in Marmaris, we got on another bus (are you noticing a pattern?) that was supposed to take us to our hotel. The bus kept driving and driving and people kept getting off, but the driver kept telling us we weren’t there yet. Finally when we had driven almost all the way down the main strip of town, the driver escorted us off and into a hotel… that had a different name than ours. Turns out he was trying to get commission at some hotel he had an agreement with by taking advantage of dumb tourists. When he realized we weren’t dumb, he ran back to his bus and drove away, leaving us stranded. After asking around and hiking quite a way, we found our REAL hotel. The owner was nice and showed us his famous fat cat, which was truly the fattest cat ever. It was a sphere cat. Then we engineered a clothes line in our room and hung out our moldy clothes to dry while we walked up and down the main street, which was beach and sea on one side and crazy clubs on the other.

The next morning we walked to pick up our ferry tickets and then had doners again, only these doners came with a surprise. The surprise was an extra hidden fee to eat them while sitting at a table. Then we went to get on our high speed ferry to Greece. It was a crazy boat that lifted out of the water and ‘flew’ to Greece. This meant it moved according to every little wave it hit, which resulted in many people on the ferry throwing up, or at least wanting to. I was one of those that really wanted to. When we came into port, I ran from the boat, through immigration, through customs, and to a bathroom. The first thing I did in Greece was throw up like crazy in a public bathroom. At least I wasn’t alone, everyone else in the bathroom was also throwing up.

We decided to walk through old town Rhodes and try to find our hotel. The hotel was situated in the middle of town, so it looked like we probably wouldn’t have to walk too far. We walked for about ten minutes, only to find ourselves at the total opposite side of the town. Turns out it was even smaller than we thought, which actually made us very happy. It meant that all of our time in Rhodes could very easily and pleasantly be spent on foot.

I can’t say enough wonderful things about Rhodes. It is beautiful, the beaches are beautiful, the town is quaint, the people are nice, and we had a great time there. It was a little expensive, but that was to be expected. To save money, we went shopping in little markets and ate feasts of bread and cheese and meats. We spent our time there walking around, playing cards, and generally relaxing. The last day we went for a swim in the sea. It was so clear that I saw a huge school of fish swimming nearby and got too scared to venture out too far into the water. Chris, however, braved the risk of fish and swam all the way to the stairway to nowhere and dove off. AJ sat on the beach and admired the view. We walked to pick up our ferry tickets for that night and then spent the remainder of the evening at our hotel bar waiting for nightfall while Chris applied to medical schools.

We walked out to our ferry around 11pm and boarded. As we headed up the grand escalator onto the boat, we all started to freak out at how fancy the boat was. A concierge guided us to our own personal room, with four beds and a bathroom with a shower. We wandered around the boat awhile and Sunil and Chris climbed to some places that were probably off limits. When the boat finally started, we sat on the deck in the back and admired the view and had some drinks. We then went to our room and played some games of cards that we all hardly remember and went to bed. When we woke up, we all showered in the best shower we had encountered up to that point and then had a little snack before the boat landed. I wish we could have stayed on that boat forever, or at least for a few days.

We took public transit into Athens and walked to the temple of the Olympian Zeus. We snagged the student discount multiple entry ticket, which meant we had four days to see all of the sights of Athens for only 6 Euro. We then tried to find the old Olympic stadium and walked and walked until we thought we might be lost, so we turned around and went back. The next day when we actually found it, we realized we were actually about 10 feet from the entrance when we turned back. We then hung out and played Monopoly Deal at the hostel bar for the rest of the evening.

After a good night’s sleep, we woke up and headed out to find all of the famous ruins of Athens. We climbed up to the Acropolis and wandered around for a bit and then headed down to the old Olympic stadium where the boys decided to race around the track. They were in flip flops, which fell off, and they kept running on the black asphalt in 95 degree sunny weather. Needless to say some people had burnt feet for the rest of the day.

After that we took it easy while the boys recovered and ordered a wake up call for 3am the next day so we could catch our flight to the airport. We walked to the bus stop in the dark on the quiet streets and got onto the empty bus a few minutes before it was supposed to leave. A few minutes after it was supposed to leave, we hadn’t started moving yet and people were pouring on the bus. When the bus was packed with people like sardines, we finally left for the airport. On this ride, we had some conversations we probably would have gotten dirty looks for if the people around us spoke English. Then Sunil started releasing terrible amounts of poop steam from his butt on the crowded bus. We were very glad to get to the airport and get off. We had a nice German breakfast on the plane and switched planes in Munich. It was a nice easy flight into Frankfurt. From here, our German adventures began. Because most of these adventures circulate around food and speaking terrible German, I will let Sunil write about them because those are his two favorite things. Well, I guess poop is his favorite thing, but those two are probably pretty high on the list too…

Posted By: Robin
Last Edit: 04 Aug 2010 @ 10:18 PM

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