Notes from damascus.

March 29, 2009 aniwaniwa

This is going to be a long & often edited post but I need to get writing, when I post photos it will be finished!

First of all Notes From Bon.  What an adventure we’ve had, everyday has been busy with traveling & sightseeing or activities.  MC surprised me & settled into life on the road perfectly, taking her naps in the Ergo, breastfeeding when & where she could & bathing in various buckets & tubs! CJ did great too although he got his cough & cold back & found the whole thing tiring.  Right at the end he also learned to nap in the Ergo rather than fight it & end up exhausted.  He only learned the F word yesterday so not too bad :0 He had some rough patches.  A was funny, definitely enjoying the more luxurious legs of the journey.  The fact he slept 4 nights in a hostel & on a train was impressive.

Me, I liked the big cities Damascus & Cairo.  Bosra stands out in my mind & some of the incredible meals we had in Syria.  I did excellent planning & it was a whirlwind 2 weeks.  As usual I felt confused by it all, I felt privileged but not necessarily happy to be so.  In Egypt (Luxor) kids begging, men hounding foreigners to make a few bucks or ripping people off, women in the background.  At first the hassle makes you angry but later when I ponder what it must feel like for someone who gets by day to day by begging I feel troubled.

Back later.

I left the last post in Damascus so back to the start of our journey.   The next day we bused to Palmyra.  My highlight was buying a filthy old dress hanging outside a small shop on the main street, it’s made out of the Arabic black and white checkered head cloths.  A was disgusted I was spending money on it & it took 3 washes to get the water to change from black but I was right, love itp3180218

I guess the roman ruins were quite cool too!  We stayed here

ishtarhotel.net/index_en.htm

Decent clean hotel where we had more really yummy food.  We also had a great meal at a small B&B called ‘Casa Mia’ with our travel buddies from Damascus.

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Palmyra to Krak des Chavelier.  The countryside and castle were stunning, the nicest part of Syria.  We had a huge feast for our lunch, tons of the best mezze and then chicken for the boys.  We didn’t need to eat a proper meal until the next evening it was so good.

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From Krak we traveled to Aleppo via Hama, Dead Cities & Apamia.  Hama sux it was disappointing as I’d looked forward to it.  We were freezing, & it was smelly & dirty so we ended up tasting all the Arabic sweets in the bakery.  It was a long day & e were happy to arrive at Hotel Mandaloun in Aleppo.mandalounhotel.com/photo_gallery…

Hama

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Apamia

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Aleppo.

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Well it seems my notes on Syria have been misplaced along with, one Syria Lonely Planet, one beautiful new turquoise necklace, and one tap juice bottle.  So off the top of my head: Cold in March, dirty, crazy driving, bleak, concrete block flats without paint, great food and welcoming people, very traditional little Western influence, no colour – greys & browns, Damascus old town- neat windy narrow streets Krak des Chavelier- countryside & castle were stunning, Palmyra was amazing, Aleppo reminded me of a big town centre (Porirua!) we were warming to it when we left, pictures of Bashar al-Asad everywhere.

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