Saturday, July 23, 2005

Aleppo Aleppo

Well, let us see how far we get with this post. Fred is having a snooze but cannot be relied to to continue to do so for as long as it takes to write this piece. In the meantime, photos are being loaded very slowly into

We love Aleppo. Fred especially.
It is noisy, it is dirty, it is smelly, it is windy, it is hot.

It is also full of an amzing mix of people and cultures and almost everyone has been very friendly and welcoming. There are Sunni Muslims, othe Muslims, Armenians, Syrian Christians, Maronites, even Nestorians. An amazing mix of clothing to be seen, although they all seem to speak Arabic. And, fortunately for us enough people seem to speak English and with the hands and the feet for us to be able to get around and feed and refresh ourselves.

The best place to see this mix - and to photograph them is, of course, the souk, the largest souk in the Middle East, apparently - although the Grand Bazaar - being the equivalent of a souk - seemed to be pretty big as well. Still, the atmosphere generated in the Aleppo souk was much more vibrant.... I hope you get a bit of the taste with the photos.

So, our taxi driver from last night managed to get us to the Beit Wakil hotel in the jedonite quarter, but a Britisg family who had driven up from Saudi Arabia had g0t there just before us and decided they would take the double room for the four of them, despite having paid their travel agent for two rooms. So we had to hunt around and found a new hotel which had been established in another of the Christian homes in the quarter. This was the Thorwah hotel. Expensive but beautifully restored with wooden painted ceilings and a number of rooms around a large airy - but hot - courtyard - a bit like a riad in Marrakech - see link!!!

Airco on and a nice refreshing splash under the shower and we were ready to face the night..... a simple case of following the advice of the Rough Guide - which found us on a rooftop eating the most delicious meal of humous, dolmas, watercress salad, kofte stuffed with nuts and cheese and spiced chicken.

Sorry... we have just lost some of the text... so will briefly let you know that we have left the Hyacinth Bucket-type residence and are firmly ensconsed in Onslow and Daisy type backpaker land - no room for a donkey - notice that we LIKE donkeys? Anyway, fear not, we are not sleeping in the dorm on the roof but well in the privacy of an airconditioned room with own shower and toilet. Paying less for this than the tax on the bill of last nights place.


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