Found it by a Fluke

Trip Start Aug 31, 2009
Trip End Feb 14, 2010

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Where I stayed
Castle Grounds

Flag of Syria  , Aleppo,
Saturday, January 2, 2010

Syria charges tourists with diesel cars $ 100 USD per week and if you overstay the week they charge you the extra $100 USD + $ 100 USD fine. So with this in mind we decided to get towards the border quickly and get out of the country. Off to Aleppo where we enjoyed a complete circumnavigation of the town trying to find the way out towards a place called Qual Al Simien. This place was recommended to us a good place to stop and view an old church and a stone column where some old crazy man used to sit on top of and let the people who gathered have a piece of his mind!!

Interestingly Qual Al Simien & Church of St Simon & Citadel Simien & Dier Samaan all mean the same thing, this took us some time to figure out. Seems easy in hind sight but at the time it was very confusing. None the less we found it quite by mistake, it was getting late I had written the place off as a red herring and we pulled up to a place called Castle! we parked under a sign that read Citadel of St Simon. Now the sign was way higher than one would expect thus we were parked under it for some time wondering where the hell we were. Great found it now where to camp!

A nice chap came over to us and in pigeon Arabic/English explained that he was the night guard and we could camp just behind this guard house and use the toilets if we wanted. Things were looking up.

We set up, cooked dinner made a cup of tea and headed into the Guards house in front of his heater to chat, eat Baklava (purchased in Homs) and watch a bad Arabic movie on TV. We also got to hear about the guards family.  10 brothers and 7 sisters.  Wow we hear you say, this is not the worst we have heard about.  One of our guides proudly announced he had 36 brothers and sisters from 6 mothers.  Good thing they do not celebrate Christmas as the lunch would be a nightmare.
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Juliet Watts on

I think you will need to develop a 'rock' garden as a good memory of what you have seen!

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