19/09/2010 - 21/09/2010
We left Lebanon via the north and thought we'd squeeze in a little more of Syria.
There's a castle just north of the lebanese border called Crac de Chevalier which is supposed to be one of the most intact and most like you'd imagine a castle to look like castles you're ever likely to see. And it was. It's not a pretty fairy tale castle, it's more like a tank of a castle: perched on top of a hill, inpenetrable, guarding the only break in the mountain range that links the east of the middle east to the coast. Only problem is if you surround it for three months you starve out the people inside which is exactly what the arabs did to the crusaders. obvious really.
We indulged in a really good guide, went in every one of the many many guards rooms rooms, ran about the place taking silly pictures of us in all positions. Castle thoroughly done. tick.
Arrived that night in Palmyra which is one of those places you have to visit in Syria. It's an old ruined roman city plonked in the middle of the desert. And like all the historical sites (sights?) here there are no attendants watching your every move, in this case there wasn't even a fence or entrance fee. We ate in a restaurant overlooking the ruins and thought we'd check out the edge but ended up wandering through the whole ruins by the light of the moon and lights of the central colonnade.
When we got back we booked a taxi to take us to the top of a nearby hill to watch the sunrise over the ruins but the taxi never turned up (grr) so we just walked there and walked around again by sunrise instead. The light and the softness of the colours of the soft beige sandstone ruins and pastels of the sky was so calming, and the temperature and breeze at that time of the morning was just perfect. One upside to exploring the ruins again was that we managed to walk over to the nearby oasis. There is a old old village integrated with the oasis and it looked idyllic.
We left that afternoon and on our way to a new country - Jordan. Better get the new book out