Thursday, 8 January 2009

Out Of Europe - Now In Syria

This is my first blog entry on the road to cape town. We had a busy week travelling through Europe and Turkey. It's quite interesting to write on a computer with Arabic windows XP. We are now at Cairo hotel in the little town Hama.

Until now we had a very smooth travel. We started last week at centrail railway station in Graz. The ride to Istanbul was two days and the route was through Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and finally Turkey. We found quite quickly an affordable hotel nearby the railway station. The train ride was very relaxing. With slow speed and antique trains we left good old Europe behind.

Turkey was great and easy to travel. After two days sightseeing we took a "direct" bus to the city of Aleppo in northern Syria. We had to learn that direct means only to change the bus two times and the overall length of the ride got longer and longer. In total 22 hours. We where lucky to already have a visa to syria. The time of the boarder was two hours endless waiting.

In Aleppo we've stayed at a hotel in middle of the old city. It was much more eays to communicate with the locals because English is more common then French. Staying for two days was a good decision. It's great to get fascinated by colourful souqs and the arabic surroundings. We even had our first experiance in a hamam (bath house). Of course Edith had to go to an other hamam then Walter and me because of the strict gender separation. Getting scrubbed and washed was a very new and strange experiance - but it was worth it! We felt very clean and relaxed afterwards.

After Aleppo we've got a private driver to reach the remote sights of upper Syria. Wonderful old ruins and a great landscape. It's better to express these impressions with pictures. I'll upload them as soon as I get a faster Internet connection in the next city.

Tomorrow, after a city stroll, we take a bus to Damascus. As Friday is the holy day in Islam we don't yet know if it will be easy to get a bus but as usual we are very positive about that. We all fell very comfortable on the trip and can't hardly await the adventures of the next day.

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