Wandering Aleppo’s Old City

Perhaps I just like wandering around medieval towns. But Aleppo, and Damscus for that matter, take medieval to a new level. Europe’s history has always fascinated me, but the Middle East stretches the confines of what’s imaginable yet with the evidence surronding you, the reality seems even more implausable.

So much I’m fascinated with the colors, flavors, sounds and smells of this city, I’ve decided against visiting Palmyra and the Dead Cities to the east. Not that I’m averse to making the trek east, but the vibrancy of Aleppo is seductive. As you know, Syria was never on my list of countries when I planned this trip nearly three years ago. But now sucked into the fabric of the region, I’m starved to learn more and further open my mind.

Meanwhile, the prospect for acquiring an Iranian visa looks dismal. Americans, in some cases, can get a visa, but this requires booking through an approved organized travel group and tour. This is not my cup of tea. I’ll check again in Turkey, but my hopes have been diluted and as I approach the third year anniversary of my departure, my mind is focused on drawing this segment of my journey to a close. Yes. It’s with both regret and excitement I feel when wondering where I’ll be next. Sad that I can’t continue through Iran into Pakistan, yet exciting I will have an opportunity to see my family, loved ones and friends I’ve so long been away from. I would hope that a trip across the USA in the fall would be a grand finally to phase I of the WorldRider journey.

Meanwhile, I need to immerse myself deeper into Aleppo and drink and eat from the body and blood of this ancient holy city. First stop is the citadel. Then I’ll visit the Grand Mosque and get lost in the labyrinth of souks and market stalls that, for me, truly exhibit the color and energy of the city. Getting lost in these partially covered market mazes interest me more today than walking through some of the great museums. But this too, I will do before hopping back on Doc and heading to Turkey.

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Unlike Ethiopia or Sudan, money exchanges freely here in Syria.
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Hustle and bustle of neighborhood outside the old city.
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He thought I could use a haircut and a shave. He’s probably right, but I was too energized by this city to sit in one place.
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Tamarind drinks sold out of a vessel that weighed nearly 70lbs. I sampled his teas and concoctions and enjoyed most. The tamarind wasn’t too my liking.
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The Grand Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo, Syria.
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Sometimes you have to interrupt your prayers and take a call on your mobile – even at the Grand Mosque.
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