Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Turkish Delight

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy

Back in November, just before I left on my vacation to Turkey, I posted a picture of the hot springs at Pamukkale and promised to give an update when I returned. Well, the picture I found on the web didn't begin to give an impression of how vast and beautiful this site is! Here's one of the many picture's I took.

Over thousands of years, the mineral content in the hot springs (large amounts of calcium) have left the entire mountainside covered in a sparkling white crust many feet thick. From a distance it looks like snow, or salt, or cotton. Pamukkale means "cotton castle" in Turkish.

The hot springs have been used for thousands of years. The foundations of the ruined city now on the site were built by the Greeks in the time of Alexander the Great. The last city was Roman and constructed around 135 AD. The extensive baths those Romans built are still there and still in use today! Here's a piccie of Aunty standing by one of them, and you can see two or three tourists swimming in the water behind me.

I don't know about the "curative" power of those waters, but our hotel had water piped in from those same hot springs. After I washed my hair, it was incredibly soft and curly, so who knows if I'd stayed around and drank a little more of the water what might have happened!

Like so many of the other ruined cities we visited on this trip (Troy, Ephesus, Cannakale), the Roman city at Pamukkale was destroyed by earthquakes. Our guide told us that throughout the long history of this region, three chief things destroyed cities and civilizations: fire, foes, and earthquakes.

The incredible history and wonderful sights I saw and experienced on this trip left a lasting impression on me! Quite a few people (including our editor) have asked if I'm going to set my next book in Turkey. While I don't have any current plans, I would never rule it out.

My next release is scheduled for September and the story is set in Venice. It's been almost ten years since I visited that unique and beautiful city, but it too left a lasting impression. As soon as I pulled out my (admittedly poor quality) snapshots and travel journals, I was transported back to La Serenissima (Venice's long-time nickname). So you never know what setting may show up in one of my novels someday.

Would you read a book set in Turkey? What are your favorite settings for the books you read? Are there any settings you'd like to see?


  1. Wow, Cindy, what a great trip, and fabulous pictures. And Venice, too... I want to be you! (so if you write a story set in Turkey, you get to write off the trip, yes? )

  2. Great pictures, Cindy! Really pretty scenery!

  3. Turkey sounds like a great setting as long as you include Mustafa!

  4. I'm onboard to read any book you write, my friend. Set it on the moon, and I'm there! The pictures and stories about Turkey are great.

  5. Turkey is one of those exotic locales I think a lot of people forget about, but then when you think about it, it's so different and yet, sort of secretive. I think the only book I've ever read set in Turkey was a Nancy Drew Mystery! I would totally read more :)

    I really love India--there are many books/movies set there (modern and historical) and I find it more and more fascinating every time! Looking forward to where you take us in Venice, AC!

  6. Very jealous. I've always wanted to go there.

    Yes in a heartbeat I'd read a book set in Turkey. I'm STARVING for exotic locale books, and now I've marked my calendar for your Venice release!

  7. Turkey, according to my latest Conde Nast Traveler, is the new Mediterranean, so of course I'd read it. I loved Venice, too, I think that's a great city for a novel to be set. Heck, if it's a good book, any setting is okay!

  8. What marvelous inspiration! I am so happy you were able to have an amazing adventure, and even happier that you are sharing it with us here and later in your new book! Emily and I will be first in line.

  9. Turkey sounds so interesting and the pictures are great.

    Would I buy a romance set in Turkey? If it was by you, of course I would! Even if it weren't by you--probably. I've always been an armchair tourist. Years ago I absolutely devoured novels by MM Kaye set in India and what is today Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    I think many people are finding places in the mid-east far more relevant these days.

  10. The pictures are beautiful, and I'd definitely read a book set in Turkey. There is so much history there, and the culture is so exotic compared to my own, that I always enjoy learning about it!

    Venice will be exciting!

  11. Morning everyone!
    My goodness you East Coasters were up early! And of course, Cheryl and Sharon are just wrapping up their days.

    Thanx a bunch for dropping by and commenting!

    I can't say enough about what a GREAT time I had on my recent vacation to Turkey, and this was actually my second visit! I would go back in a heart beat! IF ye olde pocketbook would just cooperate. :-)

  12. Cheryl,
    LOL! Of course I'd include Mustafa! Actually I couldn't help but notice how many of the Turkish men were very good looking! Strictly RESEARCH, of course! heh heh

    And when I visited ten years ago most women, certainly those over 20, all wore traditional Muslim clothing. Not so much this trip, esp. in the big cities like Istanbul and Konya. It was a change I was happy to see, though women MY age (koff! koff!) were often still in burkas.

  13. LOL on the moon as a setting, Marie!
    I think I'll leave those other planets (and their satellites) for Cheryl. She does it so well!

    And Danielle, I haven't been to India yet. It is definitely near the top of my very long list of places to go that I haven't yet seen.

  14. Amy,
    Both times before I went to Turkey, I found most people's reaction was, "Turkey?!?! Why go THERE?"

    Actually with all the history and wonderful sights and pretty good weather (we were incredibly lucky on this trip), WHY NOT?!?!

    I've always LURVED exotic settings. Mary Stewart's novels set in Greece spoiled me when I was a teen (read my Mom's copies)!

    If you haven't read my debut, The Wild Sight, it is set in Northern Ireland, which is pretty unusual for a setting. And you'll be hearing a LOT about the Venice book before Sept.

  15. Carmen,
    Turkey's Mediterranean coast is just now being built up for tourists and it is gorgeous! We had a fab hotel in Kusadasi (near Ephesus) with a pool overlooking the sea, and our balcony overlooked both! Several major cruise lines now dock in Kusadasi.

  16. MM,
    I LURVED "The Far Pavilions" by MM Kaye! And one of my fave recent movies was "The Painted Veil" set in China (even if it did NOT have an HEA).

    I've been a bit reluctant about using Turkey as a setting because I didn't think enough people would be interested. I'm VERY encouraged by everyone's positive comments here today!

  17. K Giardina,
    Thanx for popping by!

    The history is what drew me to Turkey and what fascinates me most of all! Where else can you walk in the same places as Alexander the Great, Antony & Cleopatra, St. John and St. Paul?!?! It truly is awe-inspiring!

    Hope you enjoy the Venetian book, I certainly did writing it!

  18. UGH! Judi, do NOT mention taxes! I haven't even started mine yet!

    Off to work on my copyedits of the Venice book.

    I'll check back later.


  19. Ooh, cool! I want to go to Turkey in the worst way, so I love that you can give a firsthand account of what it's like! In answer to your question, I'll read any setting, as long as the story catches my interest...and I love to "see" new places through books, so I would definitely pick up one that was set in Turkey, or any other far-off locale.

    Thanks for the pictures!

  20. You're welcome, Kendra!

    I HIGHLY recommend a trip to Turkey! It's just so beautiful, the history is amazing and the people are very friendly. Truly a GREAT vacation spot.


  21. Cindy~

    I love the pictures, they're amazing.

    I've always had a thing for hot springs, most of them I've bathed in were in the Payette and Salmon Rivers in Idaho. You move around the rocks to allow just the right amount of frigid river water in so you don't boil yourself.

    Turkey sounds a whole lot more high class, but I'm not sure which is more beautiful. I'll have to go check it out and I'll be sure to let you know.

    Robin :)