We knew in advance that it was going to be packed and blazing hot. We knew that the actual travertines were now off-limits to protect them from millions of dirty footsteps. We knew that they places you can actually wade through were made from the springs being re-routed to concrete structures, which will look like their naturally-formed calcite counterparts in time, but are glaringly artificial for now.
We knew that while swimming around and banging our shins on the sunken ruins of the ancient Temple of Apollo at the top, we’d be surrounded by a restaurant that pumps out dance beats and charges the equivalent of $3.50 for a can of Coke.
But since we knew all these things, we set our expectations low and went in cheerfully, fully expecting to open our wallets and swelter as we climbed the hill with a horde of overworked Speedos to collectively worship at the Church of Mass Tourism. It was everything we expected to be… and we’re really glad we went. A Turkish man asked to take a picture with Tony, and then insisted on taking our photo while I wore his cowboy hat. It was a great day of people watching and splashing around one of the more unique places on the planet.