Monday, March 24, 2008

The Generous One

The family came for a ten day Easter vacation and we had a really good time. We hit all the major sites in Syria and went shopping crazy. We rented out a minibus right from the street and went up to the Seydnaya and Maalula monasteries and the tekla gorge, spent 2 days in Damascus seeing sights and shopping, Dad kept saying he was done shopping every day, but the next would bring new antiques or beduin trinkets that he had to have, Tyler liked the baths so we went to the baths three days in a row. We ate great food in the old city restaurants every night, everyone's favorite was Haretna right next to our hotel.

We took off early one morning for Palmyra which was the highlight of the trip for most of the family. We were wandering among the ruins the first day and my Dad looked down and picked up an ancient coin. After that we all went crazy and wandered over the ruins all that day and the next morning from 6 AM and we all found coins and ancient glass bottle pieces copper trinkets, carved bone pieces, etc just lying all over the ground among the 50 acres of ruins. We all love that kind of thing and with the ruins all around and Ayyubid castle overlooking us it was magical. We had dinner in a beduin tent and then went back to Damascus to get our rented car and take off north.

We hiked up to the Mar Mousa monastery and spent the night there and next morning hiking around the area. The monastery is always a cool, serene place, and you meet a lot of Europeans there just hanging out for a few months. Then we went on to the Crac du Chevalier castle, which everybody loved and I almost lost the car when I left it in drive after I parked it and started to walk away. That evening we made it to Apamea, the largest ruin in Syria, 90% still underground, and walked along the main thoroughfare with green grass covering the whole countryside. Dad got suckered into buying some questionable old coins from the illegal vendors that would hang around on the edges of the ruins and call out at us.

We spent one evening in Aleppo in Jdede, the christian quarter that has all the good restaurants and hotels, and then the next day spent a full day exploring the old city, markets, and the citadel. Although they are the most extensive covered old markets in the whole middle east, most of the stuff is for local shoppers, and I still think Damascus has better stuff. We visited the St. Simeon monastery which was fun, and stopped at the Hama waterwheels.

Ty and Dad left the next morning, and Ash, Bryan and Clay stayed for two more days. We went down to Bosra and the amphitheater and I found the perfect carpet for sale among the ruins. I'd had my eye out for a few months and this one was the perfect color and price. Then we did last minute shopping around the old city and handicraft bazaar and bought mostly old trinkets, pearl and silver inlay boxes, and one dollar bootleg movies.

It was a blast to finally have visitors to show off the fascinating place I live in, and luckily my family is adventurous, and we saw a lot of things and places that most tourists don't. There was also a lot of laughter and bonding and I don't think any of us will ever forget the experience. A special thanks to the -Generous One- who made it all possible.

1 comment:

Jonas said...

Trent,

Sorry it has been such a long time since I have been in touch with you. I get so used to reading your blog that I get lazy with writing you. Your stories crack me up. Thanks for letting those who read your blog live vicariously through your adventures..... I expecially loved this story about the exotice dogs and the cart with animals with rigormortis. Hope you are hanging in there without Vanessa and Alexa. Give me an e-mail when you get a chance.

Jonas