Blogs from Hama, West, Syria, Middle East


Middle East » Syria » West » Hama August 4th 2010

Then to Hamma - a good base for Aleppo and the Dead Cities, so we stayed for a few days. It's a small, working town - friendly and pretty, but ( a big but) there was a massacre back in the 80s. Difficult to believe it could have ever have happened while you're actually there, it all seems so relaxed and laid back. Most tourists come for the Nourias - huge wooden wheels that dot the river. It was so hot - over 47 degrees in the evening - that once we got to the restaurant on the river bank, we just stayed put for the rest of the afternoon and left in the dark...a quiet, magical, yellow lamplit walk back through the town afterwards, with fairground lights strung along the side of the water... ... read more
Sort of tree
Shy girl

Middle East » Syria » West » Hama June 10th 2010

Hama is most well known for the massacre that took place there in the 80s. It’s the single most violent act an Arab government has taken against its own people. At the time there was a growing movement to turn Syria into an Islamic state. The movement’s supporters captured government buildings in the town. In response the government shelled the town, killing up to 40,000 people and completely destroying the old town. Faced with this it’s hardly surprising there’s no appetite for political change in Syria. The town’s main attraction now is the many water wheels. The water wheels were built to scoop up water then drop it into aqueducts where it could be transferred to nearby fields. They’re actually pretty impressive and the town’s a great place to chill out, with lots of parks by ... read more
4 Nuirias
Syrian Kids who kept following me
View from hostel

Middle East » Syria » West » Hama June 2nd 2010

Ten wpis wklepalam przedwczoraj ale nie poszedl. Udalo nam sie znalezc knajpke internet. Wysylam jeszcze raz. Wczoraj wjechalismy do Syrii. Wyadalo mi sie ze wiele juz widzialam ale teraz pierwszy raz w zyciu przywam szok kulturowy. Pierwszy raz jestem w kraju trzeciego swiata (jak sie okazalo na miejscu). Takiego syfu jeszcze nigdy nie widzialam, a to dopiero przeciez poczatek ....Niebywale wrażenie robi tez to jak nisko w hierarchii stoja kobiety.Upal jest niemilosierny,ledwo sie slaniamy a one w tych czarnych namiotach przemykaja sie bezszelestnie po rozpalonych sloncem ulicach. troche to wszytsko na razie wydaje mi sie straszne! Wczoraj dowiedzieliśmy sie ze w Aleppo to jest niesamowita wolnosc i swoboda- "its to much free" mowil nasz miejscowy informator. Dzis zwiedziliśmy to miasto i nie widziemismy ani jednej odkrytej kobiety, zobaczylismy za to hardcore jakiego po liberalnej ... read more

Middle East » Syria » West » Hama May 30th 2010

Po herbatce u Beduina wyjechalismy w kierunku miasta Hama, taksowka, ktora Beduin nam zalatwil. Okazalo sie jednak, ze wszystkie drogi prowadza do Grubego, czyli kierowcy, z ktorym jechalismy poprzedniego dnia do hotelu. zauwazylismy zasade, zastosowana przynajmniej w naszym przypadku, ze jak kierowca raz dopadnie turyste, to potem pobiera procent od wszystkich uslug na jego rzecz swiadczonych. W ciagu dnia jezdzilismy z bratem Grubego, a sam Gruby odebral nas z hotelu, magicznie zmiescil nasze cztery wielkie torby do samochodu Kia Rio i podwiozl do jakiegos kuzyna, pobierajac od nas za to 500 lokalnych funtow ‘commission’, ze niby na paliwo, a de facto swoistego haraczu. Potem jego kuzyn raczyl nas beduinska muzyka, bez wykonawcy czy tytulu. Beduin music. Mijalismy na przemian znaki wskazujace, jak daleko do Iraku, bazy wojskowe, lotniska i ciezarowki wiozace czolgi. Do tego jeszcze zol ... read more
Kawa przy drodze.
Krak z bajki.
Rosyjskie majtki w Kraku.

Middle East » Syria » West » Hama May 24th 2010

We have passed the reigns to Phoebe for the Hama blog. I spent most of my time being sickly with a bit of a tummy bug, and Nick was busy organising the rest of our trip. As luck would have it, Phoebe found a friend! Here's what she has to say..... The bus ride to Hama was a very good bus ride. We went on two buses, the first one was to Homs, from Homs we went to Hama. Mummy wasn't feeling well. Our hotel was a nice family hotel because it made you feel at home. I liked the quilts on the beds because they had nice patterns. On the second day, Mummy watched TV while Dad went to get lunch. He came back with a half a chicken, some chips and dips. Dad and ... read more
Cheese Pastry
 Phoebe & Ava

Middle East » Syria » West » Hama May 5th 2010

We arrived into Hama after a squishy, several hour long (including a rather lengthy border crossing into Syria) service ride. Hama is a large city (pop. 1.6 million) that has managed to maintain a quaint small city feel within it's inner core. The main attraction here is the 17 huge (up to 20m in diameter) wooden waterwheels called "norias". The cool thing about these norias is that they are wholly made of wood, (including the the axle and the support for the axle) so when they turn, the friction of wood on wood makes this eerie mournful groaning sound that sounds (to me) like a cross between hundreds of motorcycles idling and hundreds of ghosts howling. Norias have apparently been around Hama since the 4th century, though the existing ones are only 800 years old (haha, ... read more

Middle East » Syria » West » Hama November 27th 2009

Cyprus Leaking water pumps, motorbike crashes. hospitals and dental surgery behind me (I hope!), I finally set off from Nicosia on Sunday 22nd November for a short first leg over to Northern Cyprus, planning to stay with friends and try and chill out a bit before catching the ferry to Turkey on Monday morning. I wasn't only leaving all that negative, trip delaying crap behind either... 5 years of living in Cyprus has built up some fantastic friendships and it was all pretty emotional packing the last little bits on the bike and saying goodbyes. All I can say is I'll be back guys, I'll be back. That first night was just what I needed though. Cenk and Yasmin laid out an absolute feast of garlic soup, baked camembert and perfect steaks. Plus plenty of red ... read more

Middle East » Syria » West » Hama April 2nd 2009

On Thursday morning, we got up early to head to Crac de Chavelliers, which is a really interesting site a couple of hours from Hama. We ate breakfast at the hotel, but should have known better, because Ibrahim stopped at this roadside stand with a circular pit oven, where two women were making extremely good breakfast sandwiches. We were stuffed, but have learned the hard way that syrians will not take no for an answer when it comes to offering food. And more food, and more food... reminds me a lot of my Italian relatives. :) We got to see how the women made the sandwiches in this circular stone oven, putting the dough right on the sides of the interior with a big splat. Then we headed up to Crac, which sits high on a ... read more
the norias of hama
ryan and ibrahim and the noria
detailing in hama mosque

Middle East » Syria » West » Hama February 9th 2009

Dg 242. Siden vi skulle paa heldagstur idag, maatte vi opp forholdsvis tidlig. Vi skulle kjore kl. 08.30, saa vi spiste frokost paa hotellet. Istedenfor guidet tur hadde vi leid sjaafor med bil - i regi fra hotellet. Det var fast pris paa bilen pr. dag, alt etter hvor langt man skulle kjore. Det var 2 tyske jenter som skulle dele bil med oss, saa vi betalte 1 600 SP. Til forskjell fra turen vi hadde faatt pris paa i Aleppo (6 000 SP) var dette en ganske god pris - selv om vi naa reiste uten guide. Mange av stedene vi skulle se var vanskelig aa komme til ved bruk av offentlig transport, saa vi synes losningen var bra. Vaart forste stopp var citadel Qala'at Sheisar. Det var ikke mye vi fikk sett for de ... read more
Citadel Qala'at Sheisar
Citadel Qala'at Sheisar 2
Bilen "vaar"

Middle East » Syria » West » Hama February 8th 2009

Dag 240 og 241. Vi bestilte frokost paa rommet, en veldig behagelig maate aa starte dagen paa. Vi tok drosje til bussterminalen og betalte betraktelig mindre enn det vi gjorde til hotellet (det er alltid saa vanskelig aa vite hva det koster naar man kommer paa nye steder, og drosjesjaaforene utnytter veldig ofte dette). Da vi kom til terminalen var det en kar som spurte hvor vi skulle, og henviste oss til rett busselskap da vi sa Hama. Vi skjonte ingenting av det som sto paa billetten, det eneste vi visste var at bussen skulle gaa kl. 12 og at det skulle staa nr. 38 paa den. Vi satte oss ned paa en benk og ventet i 45 minutter for Eirik begynte aa gaa litt rundt for aa se om han kunne se om bussen var ... read more
Glade arbeidere
Vannhjul 2

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