Pamukkale, Turkey

Pamukkale, or “Cotton Castle,” is a natural phenomenon of wonder-like beauty. Hot-spring waters rich in calcium oxide have, over thousands of years, cascaded down the slopes of Caldag, resulting in a build-up of white travertine.

The result is chalky plateaus and petrified waterfalls colored a stunning white, brilliantly reflecting the colors of the sunset. Above Pamukkale lies the ruins of the Roman city Hierapolis, evidently built with the natural hot springs in mind, as remains of marble sluices wind all throughout the city. My day spent here was fabulous. A bus ride to the top of the slope dropped us off at the ruins, where hours were spent examining the vast sprawl of tumbled columns and eroded statuary. This was followed by a barefoot, and painful, hobble down the travertine plateaus, and a refreshing Turkish beer at a local restaurant.