trip: Antakya to Aleppo
how: by bus, 5 hours (including border crossing wait time), ghe-tto bus co.
miles total: 4170
it’s hot. it’s chaotic. and i’m loving Syria.
After being dropped off on the highway and told that this was the city center, we then paid what we thought was a deal and later found out was a super overpriced taxi ride to the clock tower in Aleppo center. I love being ripped off. This is where we met our CS host who took us for an amazing fresh juice, then to the place we were sleeping at, to leave our bags. I soon discovered that Syria wasn’t necessarily on the same lines of sanitation as turkey or any other place I have known in my lifetime. Despite this, I told myself I needed to put that part of me aside for this trip and try not to dwell too much on squatting toilets filled with other people’s poop, no electricity in shower rooms, dirty streets, yellow water, pollution, and funky street smells. Yes, that’s right I was going to move on past that… or at least to some extent.
Our host, Jamal, took us to his friend’s cafe and we met other CSers. We stayed with these people for the rest of our time in Aleppo. Actually these new friends of ours are probably the reason why I loved Aleppo and why I now say Syria was my favorite place… it’s all about the people. I was looking through our Middle East guide yesterday and I was looking at the top ten things to do in Middle East. Each country has their monuments, ruins, attractions, and treasures… do you know what they said for Syria… the people. For certain, there is nothing like the people of Syria. They do not have a lot to give, but they give so much. It’s is so often the case.
The Aleppo citadel is the most prominent structure in Aleppo, that and the souq that is about 1.5 km long (there is a sort of rivalry between the people in Damascus and Aleppo about who has the best souq). After that night G and I didn’t sleep very well at our host’s house so we decided to get 2 beds with AC the next night. Only to find out that the hotel owner wouldn’t charge us because he liked the CSing idea and liked to give CSers a night free. I love Syria.
About 5 days total we spent in Aleppo and they were all fantastic. The city is great for people that want a little more of a “Syrian feel” than Damascus. It is easy to get around and of course do I need to say again… the people make it special and unforgettable.
It’s hard to leave our friends here, but I have no doubts we will see them again soon.
Next stop: Hama.
Ma‘a salama مع السلامة