Category Middle East

Brothers-in-Arms, Aleppo Citadel, Syria

Syria Before The Conflict Part 7, The People

Now I have come to the end of my posts on my 2009 tour of Syria it is time to consider the people who I came across. I have purposely concentrated on the Syria that I saw on the trip – fantastic history, fabulous architecture and wonderful people. As I now often reflect on what […]

Syria Before The Conflict Part Six, Damascus

The capital was to be our last port of call on our magical Syrian tour. The bus from Palmyra was packed, so we took the only available seats right at the back on the left hand side. Before long a soldier was leaning on Hamish’s shoulder fast asleep! We stopped half way for a foodstop. […]

Syria Before The Conflict Part Five, Saladin’s Castle & Memory Tricks

Are you ever convinced of something only to find that the memory has played tricks on you? Well this happened to me whilst chronicling my 2009 Syria trip. I have just discovered some notes I scribbled along the way and have found two long held beliefs to be incorrect. First of all we visited in […]

Syria Before The Conflict Part 4, Roman Ruins

After a couple of nights in Hama we were half-way through our Syrian adventure. We had decided to take another train part of the way for the hell of it – for less than an hour between Hama & Homs. We stopped briefly in Homs, first negotiating a taxi for the ride south, a price […]

Syria Before The Conflict Part 3, Hama & Krak des Chevaliers

We bade a very fond farewell to Aleppo. We were on the 4am train to Hama some three hours south. Our hotel had kindly made us a packed breakfast, not overly appealing as it happened, but nice of them to take the trouble. As you might expect, we slept most of the way and set […]

Syria Before The Conflict Part Two, Castles & Monasteries

Aleppo had proved to be a superb host city, but this did not stop us from going on a couple of full on day trips by private taxi. First up was St Simeon’s Monastery, some 30km north. St Simeon is the guy who legend has it was driven up the pole! Simeon the Stylite lived […]

Old Man, Old Donkey, Aleppo, Syria

Syria Before The Conflict – Part One, Aleppo

After our long journey by land from Istanbul (see previous posts) our taxi dropped us off at the iconic Hotel Baron. The famous colonial style classic had been frequented by the likes of Agatha Christie, Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill in the past and with its marble staircase & floors and wood panels the hotel […]

Big Commerce, Aleppo Souk, Syria

Wordless Wednesday – High Commerce in the Aleppo Souk in Syria

Tuesday Train Journey – Aleppo to Latakia, in Syria

This year every Tuesday I will be recounting an overseas train journey. It could be a short hop or a long-distance overnighter. Every journey is special to me – the greatest way to travel by far. In 2009 I was extremely fortunate to visit Syria where first stop was Aleppo, which remains my favourite city […]

Hejaz Railway Station, Damascus

The Railroad in Damascus

I count myself incredibly lucky to have travelled to Syria in 2009. My trip there counts as one of my all time best – little did I know of the horrors that were soon to unfold, as I received an incredibly warm welcome everywhere I visited from the smiling locals. The whole country appeared so […]