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Trip Report Just back from three weeks in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon

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I haven't posted in ages because I've been posting mainly to my blog, but I thought I'd do a mini trip report here and post a link to my blog, where you'll find lots more, for those who might be interested.
http://somuchmoretosee.blogspot.com/

We spent three weeks in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan and had a fabulous time despite being in Syria at the beginning of the demonstrations. Syria is a great destination and though there aren't too many Americans there are a to of French, Italian and other European visitors, most in groups.

There are some lovely restored houses that have been opened as hotels and we found them very reminiscent of the riads in Morocco. We stayed in a couple and particularly like Beit Salahieh in Aleppo. I have lots more about this hotel with photos on the blog.

We had no problem getting a visa to Syria though we live in the US and my husband is an American. Everyone was very friendly and solicitous, they really cared that we had a good impression of the Syrian people and in this respect it reminded me of our trip to Iran.

The Roman ruins throughout the region are fabulous, Palmyra, Bosra and Apamea in Syria, Baalbeck in Lebanon, Jerash and Petra in Jordan, they are all worth visiting. Aleppo and Damascus are wonderful destinations in their own right, we enjoyed the souks, the food and walking around the old city centers. The Ummayad mosque in damascus was fascinating with gorgeous Byzantine style mosques which were very much earlier than the blue and white tile work we had see in Iran and Bentral Asia. The food was wonderful, mediterranean flavors, lots of fab salads and mezze. I highly recommend the restaurant Naranj in Damascus.

Our experience we greatly enhanced by the driver we had Abdul Ibrahim. Abdul was a great companion, amusing, thoughtful, flexible and professional. I highly recommend him, he was only available for 4 days so we didn't have him with us the entire time. However, he helped us arrange another driver when things began heating up politically and he kept in touch to make sure everything was going well for us. He has a website at http://syriaroad.blogspot.com/

Syria had more impact on us than Jordan but we very much enjoyed our three nights at Petra and three nights at the Six Senses' Ma'in spa. I highly recommend the Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp where we stayed outside Petra. It's run by an English woman and her Bedouin husband. Without their advice we wouldn't have had half of the experience we enjoyed. I have a long post on our impressions and advice about the site on my blog so I won't add much more here.

I'm happy to answer questions on any of the place we visited. Hope this helps anyone planning a trip and do check out my blogspot somuchmoretosee.

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