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Published: April 2nd 2011
Another school holiday is here, and the time has come for me to pack my bags and take to the road once more. This time to a bit of a political hotspot at the moment, and I leave this journey completely in God's hands.
Syria and Lebanon.
What a choice at the moment! But the truth is I booked my return flight to Damascus when Syria seemed to be the most stable of the Arabic countries during this current time of political upheaval in the region. Indeed, my original plan was to fly into Beirut, but I changed it to Damascus as at the time Lebanon was looking a bit dodgy, with talk of a potential civil war as the President appointed a Hezbollah-backed Prime Minister in January 2011, amidst much controversy. But it seems the tables have turned in the region, and Syria is now looking the unstable one.
I have spent much time thinking over recent days whether this trip be a wise one, and have come to the conclusion that there is no big calling inside me not to go, to call it off, and so I will proceed with my plans
Middle East LP, just in case I find myself in need of visiting a neighbouring state...
- with a few get-out clauses to neighbouring countries should things turn a bit sour.
It may even be a great experience to see a country during this time of intense political debate, protest and potential change. A trip with a more journalistic correspondent's view rather than an independent backpacker's? And let's face it, there never does seem a good time to visit a Middle Eastern country given the nature of the region, and thus tomorrow afternoon, 15.00 GMT, I'll be boarding a plane bound for Damascus for 18 days of travel.
Plans are to spend a couple of days in Syria's capital, before high-tailing it over the border towards Beirut and surrounding sights including perhaps Byblos, Baalbeck and Tripoli for a week. After this, back to Syria, towards Homs and Hama, and the Krek des Chevaliers crusader castle, before heading up north to Aleppo, east into the desert region around Deir ez-Zur, before finally heading back to the capital via ancient Roman site Palmyra for my return trip home on the 21st April.
As always, this is just a rough itinerary, and may change along the way - though this time not only by my own
wishes, but perhaps the political state of the regions as I travel along the way.
Wishing everybody all the best, and hope to write again soon.
PS There may be an issue with the Internet/Facebook etc while I'm in the region, due to the potential blockages of certain websites, so will try to update as best I can this time.
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