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Turkish Treasures: Exploring Lake Salda and Pamukkale

The sheer brilliance of its light, transparency, and color captivated me as I basked in its serene beauty. Surrounded by lush black pine forests, it provided the perfect setting for a leisurely lunch amidst the unspoiled splendor of nature.

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Hello and welcome back, 2wheeler ladies and gents! Mario here, your faithful motorcycle traveler, writer, and so much more in between. I’m back with yet another chapter in our adventure of the season.

Today marked a pivotal moment in my Turkish adventure as I had saved two highlights for this very day. My itinerary included a visit to Lake Salda, often dubbed as the “Maldives of Turkey,” and Pamukkale, known as the “cotton castle” in Turkish. The road ahead was predominantly mountainous as I ventured back towards the interior, yet despite the challenging terrain and scorching 35⁰ heat, my enthusiasm for motorcycling remained unwavering, albeit with a touch of melting sensation.

Enchanting Lake Salda

First on the agenda was Lake Salda, a breathtaking natural wonder that truly lives up to its reputation as the Turkish Maldives. Salda Gölü, one of the deepest lakes in Turkey, is a stunning crater lake spanning over 4,300 hectares. The sheer brilliance of its light, transparency, and color captivated me as I basked in its serene beauty. Surrounded by lush black pine forests, it provided the perfect setting for a leisurely lunch amidst the unspoiled splendor of nature. It was evident that this spot also held significance for local motorcyclists, particularly on weekends, serving as a weekend pilgrimage to cleanse their tire rubber. Kudos to my Turkish friends for the excellent recommendation!

Pamukkale: The Cotton Candy Castle

Next, I embarked on the winding path towards Pamukkale, embracing the luxury of time on this relatively short day tinged with the bittersweet flavor of homeward-bound travels. While the anticipation of disembarking in Barcelona and home loomed on the horizon, it was tempered by the lingering fondness and desire to revisit this marvelous country. However, the first step towards that return journey is almost ahead—a ferry ride to Athens, Greece.

But, let’s leave the nostalgic sentiments behind, and turn our attention to Pamukkale. This is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The “Cotton Candy Castle”, earns its nickname from the thermal springs below that create calcite-rich waters. As the calcite solidifies, it forms stunning travertine terraces cascading down the hills. These waters collect in a series of natural pools, attracting numerous tourists. Pamukkale is a marvel of natural beauty and was also the chosen location by the ancient Greeks to establish the city of Hierapolis. The ruins can still be found right on top of the travertine formation.

Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on my side weather-wise, with rain and a hazy mist obscuring the splendor of the cotton castle. Nonetheless, its allure was undeniable, and I could only imagine its magnificence under sunnier skies.

Note to self: avoid weekends to dodge the tourist crowds, despite the hefty €30 entrance fee. Some places are simply worth exploring, even if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

The Resilience of the Adventurous Rider

Despite the sweltering 35⁰ temperatures and the challenges of motorcycle travel, the resilient spirit of the adventurous rider prevails, “almost” without hesitation. With sweat-drenched clothes clinging to my skin, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought that nothing beats the joy of riding. In such conditions, the best relief is the flowing air. So, spurred by discomfort, I made the spontaneous decision to press on for a few more kilometers.

I had already ridden a few kilometers when… well, to be honest, it may have only been one kilometer. Fate intervened when a gentleman outside a hotel offered me a room for just 800 Lira, breakfast included, and a swimming pool to boot. Needless to say, I didn’t have to ponder the decision for more than a split second before accepting.

With the promise of new adventures awaiting tomorrow, I thank you all for joining me on this journey. I look forward to the road ahead with mixed feelings, as returns always present a double-edged conundrum. Until then, see you tomorrow.

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