about Antakya, Turkey – Syrian border crossing…
trip: Göreme to Antakya
how: by bus, 9 hours, Suha Bus Co. and ghe-tto bus co.
miles total: 4,055
I don’t remember much after changing buses in Kayseri (1hr. after we boarded the bus in Goreme), it was probably better that way. However, I did wake-up with butterflies in my stomach. Today was the day we were crossing into Syria and I was a bit nervous about obtaining my visa at the border, as many people including my embassy highly recommended getting the visa before the border because Syrian officials can turn you away without a reason.
Americans without a visa can expect to wait an average of 8 hours for their visa. I am traveling on my European passport so I hoped it would be a bit easier.
G and I arrived in Antakya and were bombarded with people asking us to take us across the border. An hour later we boarded a ghe-ttto bus with 5 Turkish people and us to the border.
The border crossing went something like this: wait 10 minutes at Turkish border. get out of bus. Turkish official, look, observe, stamp passport. get back on bus. drive 2 km to the Syrian border. 5 Turkish people on the bus look at us in disgust as they know we don’t have a visa and they will have to wait. get off bus. go in to Syrian border building. after much confusion, pay 52 dollars for a visa. get hustled back into a weird office in the back of the building. give our passports to someone and he puts them on his desk. he continues to drink tea. we continue to sit there. he continues to drink his tea. we don’t see our bus anymore. he drinks tea. he disappears with his tea and our passports. we laugh/cry. he returns. drinks tea. gives our passports back. calls G to his desk. says Ronaldinho!!!. welcome to Syria. we go find our bus. get stopped by Syrian official. he asks where we are from. G says Brazil. official continues to name the whole brazilian football squad. he smiles. we smile. he says welcome. we are successful.
Let’s go to Aleppo.
Ahlan wa sahlan. أهلين