Managed to get myself out of bed and drink ...

Trip Start Nov 04, 2000
Trip End Nov 04, 2001

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Flag of Syria  ,
Wednesday, November 22, 2000

Managed to get myself out of bed and drink some rehydration solution to get me moving again. Had had enough of bed (who would believe that!) and got a minibus with the locals to the bus station. I was bewildered tourist incarnate and they let me travel for free. Got a micro bus from Latakia for the 2 hr trip to Homs and jump off halfway there to visit the Krac De Chevaliers. Managed to hitch from the bottom of the hill at the main road up the 4k hill to the Crusader castle. TE Lawerence described it as "top hole" or something, according to the guidebooks. It was fantastically well preserved. Great views all around, and some interesting vaulted ceilings and archways. The only thing was that it had been restored in places by levelling roofs then pouring concrete all over them. Just looked like someones patio in places. They don't seem to bother making it look authentic. And they turn the Prince's Tower into a cafeteria. It's mad.
Anyway, spent a few hours there, then got a wee minibus down from the Krac to Homs.

Didn't stop in Homs, and headed straight for Palmyra. The bus trip from Homs out about 150KM thru the desert was spectacular. Bedouin tents and goats roaming everywhere. First glimpse of sanddunes. This is what I came for. Also saw the rather disturbing sight of a few too many troop carriers heading from the army camp north of Palmyra west towards the Syria/Israel border. Hmmm. There were also a number of sojies on the bus who were going to the camp to get briefed on something they didn't want to discuss. Anyway....

Bus pulled into Palmyra just as sun was setting and the long collonaded street of the ancient town was glowing orange in the evening. The city is frmo the 2nd century AD and has been restored quite a bit and it was fantastic. It was free to see most of the site as it lies just outside the town and oasis and you can just wander about unhindered, save for the tshirt and bracelet sales-children. The city rivalled Rome at one point and the ruler Zenobia apparently attacked Rome in 267AD. She got trounced, and the city was torched by Emperor Justinian a few years later, but it doesn't look have bad. Worth a visit if you're in that neck of the woods. Sent some postcards from here so a select few will be getting a nice surprise thru their doors in the coming days! You lucky people.

Met an Australian couple (fancy that) and spent a few days with them before we all bolted for Damascus.

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