Around the world by bike
(548km - 9days)
11/3 - 19/3 2008
11 - 13 March - Syrian border - Damascus – 115 km
The road suddenly appeared so flat after cycling in Jordan, and what a good day it was with green fields and snow-capped mountains in the distance! We rolled into Damascus at around 16h00. We spent 2 full days in Damascus. As I was there not too long ago I was keen to show Ernest all the historic sights, but he seemed uninterested in old churches and mosques and we only walking around the old city and enjoying the markets.
14 March - Damascus – Roadside restaurant 74 km
We left Damascus with a tailwind, but the wind soon changed and became a howling crosswind, to such an extent that it blew me off my bike, not once but 3 times I landed in the ditch next to the road. After the 3rd time, I shouted abuse at Ernest who seemed not to notice the wind, we, fortunately, found shelter in a nearby roadside restaurant, where the owner offered us a room above the restaurant where we could spend the night on the floor.
In the morning, there was no sign of the wind as we headed off to Homs, which was only 95 km away. We stopped for breakfast along the way, and a kind Samaritan offered to pay for our food. We had a real feast of hummus, olives, cheese and a variety of pastries. With full stomachs, we set off again, and Ernest must have fallen asleep on the bike as he went straight into the back of a stationary minivan! Nothing was broken except for the van's tail light. We reached Homes early and booked into the Al Naser Hotel, which is easily the crummiest hotel ever, with filthy toilets and a paraffin heated shower, for which one had to pay extra. The next day we left our stuff in our crummy hotel room and took a local minibus to Crac Des Chevaliers, and an imposing crusader castle and another UNESCO world heritage site.
17 March - Homs - Hama – 47 km
From Homs to Hama was only 45 km and there was plenty time to explore the Norias (wooden water wheels) and the old citadel, which by then was just a picnic area with a good view over the surrounding cıty.
18- 19 March - Hama - Aleppo – 144 km
We did not expect to go all the way from Hama to Aleppo in one day, but it was easy cycling, and we pushed on, reaching Aleppo reasonably late and only cycled into the city after dark. I must admit that it was a good day on the bike and we enjoyed the ride. The next morning, we slept late, had a good breakfast, and then explored the souqs (markets) of Aleppo.