Saladins Castle

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May 1st 2010
Published: May 5th 2010
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Lots of nice flowers around
To get to Saladins from Aleppo I tried following the road signs for a while, which went OK more or less. Then I found myself on a 'new' highway, which looked great to start with. But I started getting suspicious when I saw more and more traffic coming the other way on the same side of the highway, and these small hills of dirt started appearing across the road. I think that what happened is that they started to build a new highway, but never quite got round to finishing it (or they are just working extremely slow) as there are potholes all over the place before the road has even been officially opened. The sudden end of the road (a 20 metre drop straight down without warning signs) confimed my suspicions. Backtracked a bit, and did some offroading to get on to the old highway. The old highway was also what you expect when there's a new one being build: the new road is coming, so why do any maintenance on this old piece of crap?
In a small village I asked the way, and a guy on a motorbike insisted on showing me how to get there. He had one of these little 150CCs they drive around here, top speed around 80. But they are light, and these guys know the road so the speed does not drop much below 80 either, on twisty mountain roads. Great fun, and I enjoyed the lightshow the guy had mounted on the back of his bike. Couldn't have lost sight of him if I tried!
Saladins (or Salah al-Din if you want to say it properly) castle was only named so in the 50's(used to be called Qalaat Sahyoun). He did capture it in 1188 but apparently the place was already fortified way back around 1000 BC. I guess the name sells well. Not that it needs it, it is in a great fairy tale location on top of a mountain near Latakia etc etc etc. Wikipedia it I'd say, that's what I'm doing for my details.
Suffice it to say it is a nice twisty road to get there, and was a lot of fun to drive. I don't know the names or functions of what I took pictures of, I'll try to describe it as best I can.

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