Syria and Lebanon
Of all the countries I've travelled to, Syria always seems to provoke the most "YOU WENT WHERE?!?!"
reactions from people when I tell them. Despite the bogey image in the West, I'd rate Syria as one of
my favourite places to travel. The people were dead friendly in a way I'd not come across in many other
places - for example, at cafes in Syira you tend to share large tables with other people, and on more than
one occasion I had locals wanting to pay my bill just because I'd come from far away to their land.
The sights of Syria are spectacular as well - Palmyra is an entire Roman town still standing in the Syrian
desert, and the Krak de Chevaliers is "quite possibly the finest castle anywhere in the world" according to
Lawrence of Arabia - an enormous castle built by the Knights Hospitalier duing the Crusades of the 12th
century. The Syrian capital, Damascus, is arguably the oldest continually inhabited city on the planet, and
the walled "old town" part of the city was fantastic - my favourite quirk was seeing telephone lines strung atop
a couple of 2nd century Roman columns!
When in Syria, we managed to get over to Lebanon for a night, but only to the town of Baalbeek which is
famous for two things - the massive Roman temple complex, and for being the political centre of today's
Hezbollah guerilla movement.
21 Feb 2003
21 Feb 2003