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Tartus it turns out wasn't really much more than a dot on the map. Even the tourist information office couldn't give me much of a reason to stay. So I left. Off to Homs to see some ruins, and whatever else the city has to offer.
"How long will you stay in Homs?" "One day." "Only one day? It's not enough. We have many beautiful things to see in Homs. You must see the church with the belt of the Virgin Mary". So I went to the church, and I saw the belt and was ...
... on donkeyback. We also passed a number of military installations, presumably because we are approaching Iraq at this point. For those who are interested in automobilia, we also noticed an increasing frequency of big 1980s era GMC and Chevy Pickup trucks in various states of decrepitude. I am not sure what that is about, except perhaps the military installations got them somehow from American advisors and other military personnel.
We have some first impressions of Palmyra with our ...
... that particular direction! We first had lunch at a local restaurant (Traditional Palmyra Restaurant & Pancake House) which is listed in the lonely planet. Mick had the mensaf (a chicken and rice dish) while I got stuck into some lamb kofta. After rolling out of the restaurant, we wandered around town and again, we struck by how friendly everyone was. Mick had taken photos of the ruins ...
I walk back to my shop with a bunch of coins I no longer have a use for to give to my host who collects and sells them. He treats me to another delicious coffee. He makes a polite but halfhearted effort to sell me one or two other bits. I decline. and we shake hands warmly and I leave.
So there's flat and there's FLAT. The tarmac stretches way out ahead of me and for at least 100 kilometres, yes, it's flat. The road ...
Being in the desert it was especially hot (25C upwards), and yet within the deserted sands and landscape there was a cooling breeze which made it a little less hostile (although Palmyra is not hostile). We began our tour in the temples and ruins by arriving on Camels with the locals, you almost feel compelled to start your own Silk Road Route as it was a nice experience to ...