Blogs from Aleppo, North, Syria, Middle East

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Middle East » Syria » North » Aleppo April 14th 2011

Dear All Greetings from Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city at 2 million people, situated in the north of the country. And what a beautiful city it is, with some great sights and as usual very friendly people. Still having a great time travelling in this fascinating region of the world, and have spent the last days travelling through the Syrian heartland from Tartus on the coast, through Homs and Hama in the centre, to here, Aleppo, my current stop before I head out east into the desert. Will try to upload some photos of the past few days, having been to some amazing places, though this internet café is a tad on the slow side – we’ll see how it goes… Last I wrote I believe I was about to leave Tartus, which was good timing ... read more
Noria and Mosque
Me
Beehive Houses

Middle East » Syria » North » Aleppo April 13th 2011

We arrived in Aleppo via Palmyra on Monday nıght. Nice to be in a big city for a change and Aleppo is a very nice one. Lots of faded old Parisian type buildings again and we went to the best falafel shop since Manchester! Falafel wraps are 30p and I eat lots of them before we leave. We had a cold and windy walk around the city, souks, and citadel Tues mornıng and then unfortuantely had to leave a day early on FCO advice due to protests ın other parts of the country. Despite seeing news coverage of the protests, we didn't see anythıng while in Syria and were always safe. Once again we were welcomed as tourists, and thankfully the heckles in the street are less frequent here!... read more
crac de chevalier
crac de chevalier
crac de chevalier

Middle East » Syria » North » Aleppo April 6th 2011

Aleppo Aleppo was our last stop in Syria and I was very surprised by the sheer size of the city when we first arrived in Aleppo a lot of people on our bus were surprised to get dropped off away from a hotel in what at first look looked like a unfriendly neighborhood in Aleppo but the streets only looked so deserted and the hundreds of shops lining the street were all closed because it was Friday and most places close in Syria on Friday for Friday prayers. After a brief walk down some side streets and allies we found our secluded hotel which was actually a courtyard of old houses converted into a hotel. The hotel itself was beautiful and after we settled in we were off on another orientation walk throughout the old city ... read more
Mental hospital
Soap mixing
Soap drying

Middle East » Syria » North » Aleppo March 7th 2011

Over the last few afternoons in Aleppo, I've whiled away a couple of hours in a lovely coffeeshop/restaurant called Ahlildar. It has an unbeatable location in an elegant renovated traditional Arabic courtyard house, with an upstairs terrace overlooking the entrance/courtyard/garden of the Great Mosque, and the main street of the Old City leading up to the citadel standing high on hill in the near distance. So I sit there on the terrace in the late afternoon sun, listening to sensuous Arabic pop music playing from the TV (music which my Italian friend but current Beirut resident Tommy dubs 'habibi shawarma music', because 98% of Arabic popular songs feature the word 'habibi' *my love* at least once, if not several times, and because shawarma is the equally ubiquitous fast food of the Middle East, virtually identical to ... read more
Me and 2 boys at Aleppine Grand Mosque
2 Boys at Grand Mosque in Aleppo
lone man at aleppo citadel

Middle East » Syria » North » Aleppo February 28th 2011

It's not often I get those "pinch myself" moments, where I'm engulfed by a sense of pure wonderment and awe at being in a particular place and having met particular people in that very place. But I've already experienced two of such moments in my two weeks spent so far here in Syria. I think my lack of "pure wonderment" moments is because, as a frequent traveller, sometimes I get caught up in the regular traveller/tourist routine of: book onward transport, peruse map to find my way, check into a hotel, see the main recommended sights, take photos, find a place to eat, hopefully try to meet a combo of locals and foreigners to talk to, write an email to Mum, crawl into hotel bed and do it all again. And in doing all these necessary ... read more
Lovely Gaptoothed Aleppo citadel kids
Beautiful Boisterous Aleppo Kids
Me with Aleppine Kids at Citadel

Middle East » Syria » North » Aleppo December 31st 2010

For the last day of 2010, we have chosen Aleppo, the oldest city continuously habited in the world...ok, it may be Damascus, go figure out! You can go from Damascus to Aleppo by road, between 4 to 6 hours...by plane...or simply by train. Leslie loves night trains...so why not. Little problem with the train, it seems the only way is to book it last minute. They have old sleeper trains, 2 beds per cabin, it is relatively clean and pretty confortable. We booked 2 connecting cabins...for 3 of us, 4 beds, the total cost is around 22usd one way....not per person, but for the four of us! I guess if you really want to save money, you could do Aleppo-Damascus and back every day, would be cheaper than a very basic hotel. The train leaves at ... read more
New Year Eve dinner...we were too tired to make it to midnight!
Amazing Citadel on 31st December...
Outside walls...impressive...

Middle East » Syria » North » Aleppo October 4th 2010

Enjoying the nice view of the Syrian landscape, kilometers are passing. Slowly in the desert landscape changes into inhabited area. We are approaching Aleppo. When we entered the city, we saw immediately that this is not one of the countries where I would like to drive. The traffic is a complete mess. It reminded me to the traffic of Cairo. The distance between Gaziantep and Aleppo is 120 km, but to arrive here was quite time consuming. We wanted to have a small rest before we started with orienting this city. We asked the driver to bring us to a middclass hotel close to the city center. He brought us to a 'hotel' in the middle of the center. According him it was cheap and cleaner compared to the rest of the hotels nearby. We paid ... read more
Zekeriya mosque
Souq
Citadel of Aleppo

Middle East » Syria » North » Aleppo June 12th 2010

Don’t get me wrong I’ve seen some awesome stuff on this trip but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of finding a clean t-shirt you haven’t worn yet at the bottom of your backpack. On a less ecstatic note I had my first very minor and long overdue case of food poisoning. I’ve narrowed the source down to one of 3 dodgy falafel sandwiches, two dodgy shawarma, the ice or the tap water I drank. As I said: long overdue. Aleppo is Syria’s second city and like Damascus it claims to be the oldest continually inhabited city in the world. After several horrific minibus rides I could not believe the bus from Hama to Aleppo. Air conditioning worked (and was turned on), there were only 3 seats in each aisle and they threw in free snacks. ... read more
Ruins inside Citadel
Assad the dear leader
Old Town at night

Middle East » Syria » North » Aleppo June 2nd 2010

Chyba nie wspominalam jeszcze wystarczajaco obficie o jedzeniu. A dzis spedzilismy pol dnia na bazarze, kupujac przyprawy i bakalie. I zjedlismy najprawdziwszego, naprawde THE REALEST, falafela pod sloncem. I co wazne - 4 genialne kanapki, bez pekinskiej kapusty, sosu co przy pierwszym gryzie cieknie po rekach i samego falafela o konstystencji innej niz kula armatnia, kosztowaly 8 PLN. Do tego ulepkowato slodka herbatka w mini szklaneczce za 1 PLN od glowy, pita na zapleczu bazaru, w sklepie z materialami, gdzie siedzi niezliczona ilosc mezczyzn i chlopcow, nie do konca wiadomo, co robia, ktos leniwie przewraca sie na stojacej za winklem lezance, rytmicznie zmieniajac kanaly w telewizorze. Nasz mistyczny falafel mial cienkie ciasto, wzdluz okraglego placka posypane duzo pietruszki z mieta, pomidorki pokrojone w kosteczke, na tym dwa rozgniecione krazki z cieciorki i odrobine jogurtow... read more
Spice Souk.
EverythingSpice.
Mydlo.

Middle East » Syria » North » Aleppo June 1st 2010

From Turkey into Syria, Urfa to Aleppo After leaving Cappadocia we headed south east to a small very conservative place called Kahta. It looks like some sad forgotten border town. This morning was the first time since our arrival that I saw women, two housemaids; otherwise it’s been all men and boys. Kahta is really the last place of any size to base yourself to get up Mt Nemrut to see the marvellous stone heads. It’s not big on the list of usual tourist destinations in Turkey as it is off the beaten track, so the facilities are limited. Our evening meal options were two restaurants run by the same team, on either side of the street, offering the same menu. Option one was clean, bright and busy, option two was dark and dingy and had ... read more
Mt Nemrut heads
Hotel in Urfa
Entering the Mosque




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