A Travellerspoint blog

Dead Cities and Around

sunny
View Middle East - March 07 on krissy's travel map.

We started by driving north of Aleppo to St Simeon's Basilica or the ruins of it anyway. The peace was a welcomed change to the hustle and bustle of Aleppo. It was so peaceful and quiet you could actually hear the birds singing, which I hadn't heard for quiet some time.

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Then on to the Dead cities of Al-Bara and Sujilla, both a little different from each other, they were not as impressive as we had imagines but still nice to see.

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By this time both Cat and I were hungry but as Cat had a sore throat we struggled to find her anything that she could eat before she fainted at the side of the road. Needless to say the hunt for some food escalated, we finally found some kind of soup and they boiled some potato chips for her and after that she seemed fine just a cold to contend with.

So off to Apamea, and the lord decided it shall rain upon this earth, we got a little damp but luckily not drenched. Apamea is another of the many great Roman ruins, the most visible ones are in the colonnade but there is also the citadel which looks great from the outside, but not so good on the inside as it is inhabited by the locals and there is rubbish everywhere.

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Posted by krissy 06:13 Archived in Syria Comments (0)

Aleppo

sunny
View Middle East - March 07 on krissy's travel map.

Well we caught a bus this time and it only took us total of eight hours to get from Beirut to Aleppo. Our border crossing was much easier with the bus. We got into Aleppo about 4.30pm and wandered around looking for a hotel that had any vacancies. We finally found one and took its last available twin room. Quiet charming, NOT, but we couldn't really be bothered looking for any more. Once we settled as much as we could we headed out to try and sort out our trip tot he Dead cities for the following day. We worked out that we would do it the following day and finish in Hama where we wanted to stay for that night. So we got that sorted out without too many dramas and it was now time for dinner the lovely gentleman, Walid from Baron Hotel, that helped us with our trip to Hama was kind enough to show us to a lovely restaurant not far from our hotel and lent us some money to tide us over until we found an ATM, needless to say after dinner we had another early night.

OK, So sight seeing in Aleppo didn't turn out to be as eventful as we had anticipated got lost a couple of times but ended up seeing all that Aleppo had to offer. We searched all day for an ATM and found heaps but none that would spit our money from our HSBC cards. Cat was coming down with the flu or a cold so I dropped her back to the hotel and wandered a little longer. Yeah I found an ATM that liked my card. There is nothing more frustrating than knowing you have money in your account but not being able to access it. Anyway now we had money to pay for our trip to the Dead cities.

Posted by krissy 04:04 Archived in Syria Comments (0)

Beirut

sunny
View Middle East - March 07 on krissy's travel map.

Well after a 2-hour bus ride we found ourselves in Beirut. What a beautiful sight. Beirut is right on the water and looks fantastic from a distance on the drive in. We found our hotel and headed our to see the sights. First thing we found was a beautiful big mosque that was of course guarded by soldiers, but we managed to be given permission to cross the barricade to take a photo. Then we found the main town square and their clock tower, parliament buildings and churches, saw a few ore mosques along with lots of soldiers with their machine guns. Oh and then there were the tanks and truckloads of soldiers, but I can san that I have never felt safer, well except for being home in Aus. We tried to take photos of the Grand Serail we were told not to take photos by the soldiers, as it was now a military building. We ended up walking down by the water and along the coast to see the lighthouse and Pigeon rocks. Pigeon rocks were a beautiful sight to see but it is a little disappointing to see that there were so many restaurants built along the cliffs that it almost makes it impossible to get a good photo of them unless you go in and have food. We then wandered on and found heaps of building that had been destroyed in the recent wars, bullet and bomb holes really make it feel quiet surreal. Its just amazing to actually see the evidence with my own eyes that this stuff really did happen, it doesn't feel that way when you are watching it on the TV from the opposite side of the world. Well by this time it was getting late so we stopped off to get some dinner in the town square and then back to the hotel to get ready for another day of travel the following day.
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Posted by krissy 03:39 Archived in Lebanon Comments (0)

Tripoli

sunny
View Middle East - March 07 on krissy's travel map.

After an hour in our rickety taxi we finally got dropped off at our pension (which is basically paying for a room in someone’s house). The family we stayed with were lovely and the rooms were good but cluttered with grandma’s doilies covered with dust but definitely 100% better than the hostel the night before. We wandered around hat afternoon and then just vegged out at the hotel/pension. Oh and had a shower, tell you I was dying for it by then.

Next day we wandered the streets of Tripoli, we got to the Grand Mosque and met a lovely Lebanese man that was so proud of his town that he wanted to show us around. He was so prepared he even had the gowns we needed for in the mosques. We wandered around and he explained the history of the mosques and places we went to. We saw at least 3 or 4 mosques, went though the local souks (markets) and he showed us the last remaining soap factory in Tripoli on the way tot he Citadel, Cat and I decided to head up and have a look at the Citadel by ourselves. We wandered for a while in the Citadel, it is much smaller than the others we have seen but still quiet nice to look at. After that we just strolled around until we found our way back to the hotel. We ended up talking to a couple of other guests staying at the pension and decided to go down tot he harbour to take some photos and have a bite to eat.

Sunset by the water was beautiful but dinner was disappointing but still filled a spot for a while. We called it a night as we had decided to head to Beirut the next morning for a night.
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Posted by krissy 08:58 Archived in Lebanon Comments (0)

Syria/Lebanon Border Crossing

sunny
View Middle East - March 07 on krissy's travel map.

Well what an experience. The taxi driver told us that it would only cost us 50 Syrian pounds each to get to Tripoli from the other side of the border crossing. Well we went through Syria fine then had to contend with at least 30 taxi drivers that couldn't speak a word of English trying to give us a ride to Tripoli for more than it was worth. They must have thought we were idiots but we weren’t going to buy it. Cat and I ended up walking the 1.5km to the Lebanese passport control and by the time we got sorted out we found one the taxi drivers that was prepared to take us for the amount we were offering. We got the border control officers to translate where we were going and off we went in his rickety old Mercedes. By the way in Lebanon all the taxis are very old Mercedes Benz's.

Posted by krissy 08:46 Archived in Lebanon Comments (0)

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