Nic Freeman

Sharing the wonders of travel & everyday adventures

First Impressions of Syria

I was surprised to see the great expanse of lights below as the plane descended towards Aleppo. In my mind, the old city was expected to be smaller, less illuminated, less city-like.
After a long line in immigrations and a very thorough inspection of my passport, visa, travel documents and personal details (always nerve racking), I was stamped into Syria. In the line, I met Ruth, another solo traveller who has signed up with the adventure tour through Syria, Jordan and Egypt.
I must admit that after three weeks of solo travel (which I love, for the record), I am looking forward to taking a bit of a step back from the travel admin. I think the admin – booking flights, hostels, tickets – is the most tiring part of solo travel. That said, it is a pretty amazing thing to realise you are in an exciting place seeing amazing things solely due to your own skills and determination. But, for the next two and a half weeks, I will be journeying with a small group of other ‘adventure’ travellers, staying in humble accommodation, taking public transport and spending the days between travel as I please, all with the help, support and knowledge of a tour guide. I am hoping it is the happy middle ground between a package holiday and trekking through the Middle East by my self.
Anyway, back to Syria… I have only met three Syrian people so far: the lady in the airport toilets who handed me tissues, opened doors, turned on taps and gave me towels; the man at immigration who couldn’t believe I was old enough to not be a student; and the hotel manager, who personally picked me up from the airport at 2am so that I wouldn’t have to find my own way. I have to say, so far I have only seen confirmation of what I’ve heard of Syrian people: they are warm, friendly and generous.
So I am writing this from my comfortable single room in Hotel Baron, a grand old building with plenty of old charm and a hint in it’s worn walls. The map tells me it is close to the old city of Aleppo (a section of Aleppo city where many of the mosques and museums are). So to bed with me so I can adventure my way in Syria tomorrow.

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This entry was posted on September 23, 2010 by in Travel and tagged , , , , .

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