Back Towards the Coast

Palmyra Travel Blog

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Palmyra (Palms in Latin, Tadmor to the locals), for those of you that don't know, is one of the great historical sites in the world. The ruins cover an area of around 50 hectares and are knocking on around 3,000 years old in parts, though the Greeks really built it up, as did the Romans. Its right in the middle of nowhere, 150 miles from a water source (other than the oasis around which it is located). There is also a Syrian Air Force base about 3 kms away which we passed on the coach on the way there.

I could spend ages there, and had a good couple of days plus climbing around the ruins, taking photos and occasionally chasing the odd lizard. The sunsets and sunrises were among the best I have seen (becoming a regular occurance this on the trip), particularly from the large Arabian Castle perched on a nearby hill that took around an hour to climb, but well worth the effort! Fortunately the weather was superb, as it has been pretty much throughout this journey so far. Once again, this is a must visit location.

Palmyra town is nice enough, although there is little to do other than eat, the odd beer and people watch, not a bad way to be. No ATM though was a bit of a drag, had to eat into the US dollars but they will soon be replenished in Damascus. This is reputedly high season for the tourist trade, however, with Bush and the Iranian President spouting their rubbish, not to mention the ongoing issues in Israel, the area has been hit hard, and as usual it is the small guys who are missing out. Plenty of tourist coaches turn up every day, and legions file off for their look around, before boarding their air-conditioned luxury and heading straight back to the Hilton or whereever it may be.This is a real pitty because the small restaurants are generally excellent and the people fantastically friendly. My advice would be don't be put off, and travel independantly because its so cheap and easy.

On my fianl evening in Palmyra I hooked up with Malcolm from Londonderry (not Derry!), an English teacher working in Kuwait. He's a real character and great company to while away a few hours over a couple of pints (well - cans). Our plans matched so the following day we made tracks to Krak.

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photo by: tj1777