Monday, March 28, 2011

Damascus, Syria - Day 1

After exploring the ruins of Bosra, we continued on to Damascus. We didn't have any revelatory experiences during our trip, though it was interesting along the way to observe the architectural flourishes and embellishments of the Syrian homes. In contrast, Jordanian homes are almost entirely devoid of decoration.

Our driver told us that he lacked the proper permit to drive us directly to our hotel in the Old City, so he pulled over on the side of the M5 highway, hailed a cab, and instructed the cab driver on how to get to our hotel. While in the cab, we had a brief moment of panic when the driver stopped following the signs towards the Old City and instead appeared to begin driving us towards Iraq. Our fears of abduction were thankfully unfounded and we felt a bit sheepish when he left us off just steps away from our hotel.

We stayed at Hotel Agenor, right on Straight Street. While checking in, we were greeted warmly with freshly squeezed, exquisite tasting blood orange juice. The courtyard of the hotel was tranquil and lovely:

Hotel Agenor

After setting our bags down, we began to explore the streets of the Old City:

Damascus Old City

This minaret near our hotel was particularly spectacular in the waning daylight:

Minaret and Moon

President Bashar al-Assad looks like such a pleasant, welcoming chap:


One of my favorite aspects of travel is getting to meet new people and learning more about how they live. This artisan was quite friendly and proud to welcome two American tourists to his city:


After a spectacular dinner of mezze at Naranj, we wandered back to our hotel. The courtyard was perhaps even more beautiful in the flickering candlelight:

Hotel Agenor

Next up: exploring more of Damascus.

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