SWF in Syria (3): Juicy Details of My 2nd Date

Turkish bath in Damascus

Ummayad Mosque, Damascus

As you read in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, within just a few days of arriving in Syria, I was pretty smitten with Damascus and then, torn between two…husbands.

I was also torn between staying with there and checking out his slightly conservative brother Aleppo and the rest of the country.

Moving On

I made the tough decision and moved on from the great city—as wonderful as he was—and began my date with Aleppo and all the other great places I could squeeze in.

I was told that he (Aleppo) was “wonderful,”  but also “a bit conservative.” I didn’t care. If it didn’t work out, I could just….move on.

As luck with have it,  I met a traveler from France who’d already dated Aleppo and knew what he was about.

We became friends on the bus and ended up spending the next two days with her and a Armenian friend of hers.

And Aleppo did not disappoint. In fact, it was quite amazing. But there, too, I felt the urge to stray and so, I moved on again.

Aleppo Citadel

So…what was my 2nd date with the rest of the country like?

As awesome as the 1st date, frankly. And so, I’ve combined them into one experience—one date, so to speak—that you can actually be on, vicariously, through my video slide show (found below).

Meanwhile, here  are some adjectives that describe my date with/trip to Syria.

Exciting

It’s not the bad boy reputation, per se, that makes him exciting (although one may feel a slight tingle when crossing the border). It’s more the fact that you’re in…the Middle East. Syria, like his neighbors in the region, has its history, politics and controversies.

And so, actually traveling there (vs merely reading about it), you do initially feel a certain sense of excitement (vs merely reading and wondering about it). You have the chance to see what it is/what it’s about for yourself.

Sweet/Helpful

People in Syria are nice and helpful; on many occasions, I was offered help when I was lost and even accompanied to where i was going. When I met Syrian women on buses, they made sure I got the right taxi. If I asked anyone for directions, they were glad to accommodate.

The boy in this photo took a taxi with me (and went several miles out of his way) to make sure I’d arrived OK at my destination. He also gave me a free Arabic lesson.

Spiritual, etc.

On my date with Syria, I found many way to get in touch with my spiritual side. For those who are religious or simply looking for solitude and reflection, opportunities abound.

An example of a place where you can do all three is Mar Musa Monastery, where you enjoy Arab hospitality in a medieval atmosphere and can do what you’d like in order to find peace. There’s a meditation/service that’s optional and hills nearly where you can hike. Plenty of backpackers go there, as well as Syrians (Christian and Muslim), visit this very welcoming place, which happens to be free (volunteer work is required.)

Generous

The country is so affordable you almost feel like someone else if paying for the date. And as far as those dates go, you can’t beat the dining experience. The food is simply fantastic–whether you’re in hole-in-the-wall spot where the falafel is under $1 or a more upscale spot where you’re getting lamb kebob in cherry sauce (as seen below). It’s all good and you can’t go wrong!

Lamb kebob with cherry sauce, common in Aleppo

Dreamy/Romantic

There’s something romantic about Syria. Whether you’re in a restaurant with a rooftop balcony overlooking gorgeous buildings and mosques or watching the sun set over the horizon, there’s a certain vibe of romance. How about a nice Turkish bath? Sure they’re segregated, but still….they’re quite wonderful

Turkish bath in Damascus

Mysterious

It’s not that he plays hard to get, but rather that there’s so much to him, a lot of it from that past, that you’ll find yourself drawn in by his mysterious side. His history is fascinating (sure, he’s got some baggage, but what country doesn’t?).

Krak des Chevaliers, one of the most important/best preserved crusader castles in the world

Ready to meet Syria?

Come join me, on the Chicky Bus, for a vicarious journey. Fasten your seatbelt because it’s wild ride—and an enjoyable one. Warning, though: the music is so good (bought it in Jordan for $2) that you might start belly dancing and better yet, you could be tempted to buy a ticket to Damascus!

Think you might want to check out alleged ‘bad boy’ Syria?

Then don’t miss the conclusion to this series: SWF in Syria: Tips for a Great Relationship with this Bad Boy. I show you how to make that first trip a great one—and how to deal with some of Syria’s issues (eg, his jealousy of his cousins Lebby and Izzy. )

Do you have any questions about travel to Syria? If you do, feel free to post them in the Comments section. I’ll be sure to answer them in the conclusion.

26 Responses to SWF in Syria (3): Juicy Details of My 2nd Date
  1. Sabina
    December 1, 2010 | 6:04 pm

    My gosh, I don’t know who loves the Mid East more – you or me. I never think of it in romantic terms, so maybe you win ;) However, probably not because I really really REALLY love it.

    • CB Driver
      December 1, 2010 | 7:04 pm

      LOL…I think you are the winner here since you actually live in the Middle East! In any case, I love the fact that you love it, too!

  2. Steve
    December 1, 2010 | 6:48 pm

    It looks like there is so much to do in Syria. Makes me wish I could make it there when I go on my Israel/Jordan trip in a few months. I could really go for a Turkish bath.
    Steve recently posted..8 Countries You Can Travel to That Aren’t Really CountriesMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 1, 2010 | 7:07 pm

      There is SO much to do there….and believe it or not, I feel like I missed some really cool places when I was there (eg, Palmyra). But as it was, I was moving a bit quickly and didn’t want to feel burnt out from over-traveling. The good news is that I would definitely return to Syria (perhaps combining it with a trip to Lebanon, which I only saw for a few days).

      If you do go, just be sure to buy the visa in advance (if you’re American.) And yes, definitely go for a Turkish bath. It’s much cheaper than it is in Turkey and cheaper, I’m sure, than in Jordan. And it’s really relaxing.

      Hope your trip turns out to be a great one!

  3. Sprite
    December 2, 2010 | 12:24 am

    can one have more than two loves?
    so putting this on my bucket list :)

    • CB Driver
      December 2, 2010 | 3:32 am

      Yes, I suppose one can…. Glad you’re adding him/it!

  4. Kristin
    December 2, 2010 | 2:12 am

    Syria is on my list and your article and pics are great inspiration. Thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to date either cities on next trip to this area of the world.

    • CB Driver
      December 2, 2010 | 3:33 am

      Hi, Kristin. So glad to hear that I inspired you…that is wonderful! I’m also happy to hear that Syria is on your list. Excellent!

      PS: Don’t miss Pt 3 of this series–Tips for Getting Serious re: This Bad Boy. I’m going to reveal some his “issues” and show you exactly how to travel there smoothly and enjoyably!

  5. Neal
    December 2, 2010 | 4:19 am

    Nice addition of the slide show and yes I have been belly dancing during the last 3.5 minutes I’m out of breath and hot and bothered. I sound like that bad boy Syria!! Looking forward to Part III.

    • CB Driver
      December 2, 2010 | 4:36 am

      Hi….so glad you like the slide show! Re: you belly dancing and sounding like that ‘bad boy’….very funny! I guess that the music I chose can really have an effect on people–especially those “few brave men” who dare to listen. :)

      Thanks for visiting and Part 4, the conclusion, is coming soon. I think you’ll get a kick out of what I have to say re: Syria’s mom and how she feels about Lebby and Izzy. :)

  6. Lubna
    December 2, 2010 | 4:49 am

    Hi everybody..
    i like what you have written about my lovely country “syria ” …

    happy to visit your blog ..

    Good luck
    :)

    lubna

    • CB Driver
      December 2, 2010 | 5:35 am

      Hi, Lubna…afwan! :) I’m glad you like it–it really is a cool country! And I hope to see you here again. I wish I knew more Arabic (Ana atakellum schway schway) so I could see what your blog says. Well, maybe someday… Shookran!

  7. mhabach
    December 2, 2010 | 11:21 am

    nice !

    it’s 2nd time i see a blog written about my lovely country syria ,specially aleppo where i live

    you are so welcome every one to visit

    in case you need any help , just give me a call

    from any phone in syria just call 0944891706 and i will be there :)

    thanks again :)
    mhabach recently posted..النماذج الشائعة الاكثر فعالية للترويسات الاعلانيةMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 2, 2010 | 5:07 pm

      You live in Aleppo? V. cool. Thanks for offering your help and being so welcoming…much appreciated!

      It’s nice that others are writing about Syria, too, isn’t it? I think that it’s on its way to becoming a popular place to travel–and that’s great as it does have so much to offer.

      Thank you!

  8. Felisha Wild
    December 2, 2010 | 2:13 pm

    Sure tease me with food but no recipes? LOL
    This is a great writeup and looks like a wonderful adventure. I can’t wait for the conclusion.

    Chef Felisha Wild
    Felisha Wild recently posted..Half And Half Root Soup RecipeMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 2, 2010 | 5:09 pm

      I have been teasing readers a bit in this series, huh? :) If I find any good recipes (I have some Middle Eastern friends), I’ll send them your way. But do I get to sample what you cook? :)

      Glad you enjoyed this and I look forward to sharing the final part with you!

  9. Regina
    December 3, 2010 | 12:56 am

    Thanks! I had not considered traveling to Syria before, being attracted to wilderness trails in the US. However, your photos entice me to broaden my horizons!
    Regina recently posted..Satori Marathon Update 3My Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 3, 2010 | 3:04 am

      Cool to hear, Regina…glad you’re open to it!

  10. Zablon Mukuba
    December 3, 2010 | 10:45 am

    the music is addictive, i love seeing people belly dance

    • CB Driver
      December 3, 2010 | 1:58 pm

      Yes, it is! I do, too. It’s fun!

  11. Emma
    December 3, 2010 | 12:36 pm

    Soooo many beautiful and intriguing photos!
    Emma recently posted..21 Secrets- Today is the Day Plus- a gift for you!My Profile

  12. Iain Mallory
    December 22, 2010 | 1:59 pm

    You may become my inspiration for future travel :) not sure what is the problem with my webiste addy on your site though :S

    • CB Driver
      December 22, 2010 | 3:18 pm

      What a wonderful thing to say, Iain. Means a lot!

      Re: your site address…have you been putting in the “http://” first? Whatever has been happening, the good news is that your comments have been getting through with no problem on this end.

  13. Lisa Bergren
    January 16, 2011 | 11:30 pm

    Loved the post and perspective–totally fresh and fun. Tell me, can you go from Syria to Jordan and Israel? I’d heard that if you wanted to go to Israel, avoid the passport stamps, if possible, since Israel might give you flak/deny you entry…
    Lisa Bergren recently posted..The Luxury of TimeMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      January 17, 2011 | 8:29 am

      Hi, Lisa…glad you enjoyed my perspective/approach! You can go from Syria to Jordan and then into Israel. That’s exactly what I did and sure, they asked me a few questions. What they really seemed to fixate on was the fact that I’d stayed with a family in Jordan. They had many questions about that. Even so, the route you asked about is totally fine (just be prepared for a thorough check as you enter Israel).

      The problem with these countries/itineraries is when you go in reverse. If you’ve been to Israel (and have the passport stamp), then you cannot go to Syria or Lebanon. You’ll be turned down at the border.

      Perhaps you’re planning a trip to this region? If so, have a great time and feel free to ask more questions. Enjoy!

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