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After coming out of the wild a few days ago, we are clean again and have been enjoying what Damascus has to offer us. Our trip from Palmyra took two days and we enjoyed the best camping to date. We visited Maalula, a small village where the houses are set into the cliff, before we headed to Damascus the next day.

We met another couple from west Wales travelling overland to South Africa. They saw us in Istanbul a few weeks ago but we only met them by chance in Palmyra.

4,000 years of continuous occupation makes it, alongside Aleppo, one of the oldest cities in the world. We are staying in central Damascus, only 10-15 minutes walk from the old city. More cosmopolitan than Aleppo, Damascus is one of the main reasons for choosing this route to Africa. I’m expecting some amazing landscapes in Jordan but Syria has two great cities worth visiting.

We visited the neighbourhood of Al-Midan Jazmati on the first night, an area known on for its food. We got talking to one man who said people from Jordan come here purely to eat the food. The lamb Shawarma is known for being the best in Syria.

It is the festival of Eid later this week and there are many people from other Arabic / Gulf  countries in Damascus for the celebrations.

Wandering the old city has been a highlight. We have criss-crossed Muslim, Christian and Jewish areas and have found some really good places to take it easy. One restaurant was shown to us by a young man we met in a coffee shop in the old city. We took in the surroundings as we helped him with his English.

We have also seen some incredible sights, two being the Umayyad Mosque located right in the middle of the souq and the Azem Palace. The souq lacked the buzz and chaos of Aleppo.

We have one more night and most of Wednesday before we leave.  I could easily spend a few weeks here exploring and getting to know the city better.

November 2009