Trip Start May 10, 2009
24Trip End Jul 17, 2009
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Where I stayed
The other reason I decided to spend two days in Tartus was because of the town's proximity to Krak des Chevaliers, although getting there was rather difficult
Now, where getting to Krak (maybe 50km from Tartus) was only slightly difficult, getting back to Tartus was insanely difficult. A taxi that took me down to the highway wanted to charge $20 to take me back to my hotel, which would've set me way above my budget, so I decided to hitch alone for the first time. After waving my hand on the side of the highway for about 5 minutes, an incredibly generous young guy, Fayed, invited me into his car. He was hauling bakery goods to a store about 20km toward Tartus, and when we got there I met the store's owner and was offered a generous free portion of insanely delicious regional baklava topped with cashews, figs and pistachios. I figured I would try to hitch again for the second leg of the trip, but Fayed insisted on driving me, and he took scenic village roads instead of the main highway. After we got to my hotel he refused to accept money for petrol or the bakery goods.
After a quick nap I took a boat ride to Arwad island. It was incredibly charming, and I bounced balls with some of the kids and wandered through the cobble-stoned streets of the old city which ,at points, are only wide enough for a single person to pass through. Most of the adults work on the mainland, so when I visited it seemed like the entire island was populated by grandparents and kids -0 scores and scores of little ones.