Friday, 9 January 2009
Today we've arrived in Damascus. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. In the morning we've explored Hama. It is located between Aleppo in the north and Damascus in the middle of Syria. After a walk through the historic center we had a break at a small bakery. It was great fun to enjoy the fine pastries and drinks they had to offer. The price was unbelievable cheap - Breakfast for 1.5Eur. Before we've organized the bus trip to Damascus we had a break at a very traditional cafe I've found it on a late night walk. At night it was crowded with men only! The coffee was great: Turkish coffee with a bit cardamon makes a fine Berber style coffee. In this region it is also common to smoke a shisha (water pipe).
It was a bit difficult to find a budget hotel in Damascus. Either the hotels are full or overpriced. At the end we've managed to stay in a small hotel with basic services but a nice entrance hall. As we've arrived at the late afternoon there was enough time for the first city walks. At the perfect picture time (sunset) we found the great Umayyad mosque. This is the picture above.
Friday is the holy day and so the wide spread souq area was almost empty - No open shops - no people. But some streets still have been very busy with locals and tourists from all over the world. Tomorrow, Saturday, we will see the difference when we discover the three different quarters of the Damascus: Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim. We are now still in time with our travel plan and will stay here for three nights.