ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Day Trippin'
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-07-2012, 11:48 AM   #16
The_Scottsman
There's Beer here??
 
The_Scottsman's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: People's Republic of Cali (North)
Oddometer: 99
Beautiful!
The_Scottsman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2012, 10:42 PM   #17
bokad OP
Difficult Child
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Location: Wherever it is warm.
Oddometer: 395
Krak Des Chevaliers, Talkalakh
--------------------------------
About 100km (60 miles for yanks!) South-West of Hama is what Lawrence of Arabia called the "...most wholly admirable castle in the world..."
It is a massive monument of stone. A crusader castle of the Knights Hospitaller. Not built as a home to house fancy nobles, but instead with
the single purpose of projecting military strength.

Getting there was a bit tricky. The road winds up the mountain and it was slick with slush and hail. I almost lost control. Alot. Wish I
had a helmet. Snow in Syria, who knew?!
As usual, the weather went to crap as soon as I got on the road and cleared up as soon as I got off.

There were a few other visitors here. Not many. You're free to explore, climb, fall to your death, whatever. There are endless levels and
chambers and passageways and rooms and staircases deep down in to the earth. Dripping stone stairs that went so far down in to the ground that
my flashlight couldn't find the end. But you could hear the drip drip drip of water on to stone from somewhere far away in the darkness.
You're imagination can run wild here. You can literally RUN WILD here. I was in heaven. No rules or ropes, explore as you please.

The fortress was so formidable that it never fell in battle. Only as the Arabs had pushed out most of the Crusaders from their lands and the
garrison was depleted and low on supplies did they finally starve them in to capitulation.

Barely related side note:
Lawrence of Arabia owned 7 of the amazing Brough Superior http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brough_Superior motorcycles. And he died riding one.

There's alot of pics below, so many fine memories.



Here's how it looked.


Satellite view


Hailey slush


Main entrance tunnel, lots of hairpin curves and holes above/sides to murder you.


A good showing of the many levels, rooms, and passages. An endless maze in stone.
Follow a set of stairs and a corridor and you never know where you will pop out to daylight again at. You may end up higher or lower, inside
the keep, or emerging from under the ground.


I started inside the keep and followed some passages and somehow ended up down emerging from the ground outside the walls looking up at it.


The inner castle. Still formidable even after you've made it past the outer defenses.


That's cool.


Excellent tower


I'm not such a fan of heights. Sometimes the passageways open on to a long violent drop.


Look how very very small that guy on the tower is.


Main castle entrance


Good place for murdering any unwelcome guests


Mossy damp passageway


Hole in the roof/ceiling let light in to lower levels and also a great way to throw shit on people you don't like.


Slippery stairs going up.


The hillsides


A good showing of the many levels, rooms, and passages. An endless maze in stone.
Follow a set of stairs and a corridor and you never know where you will pop out to daylight again at. You may end up higher or lower, inside
the keep, or emerging from under the ground.


A good showing of the many levels, rooms, and passages. An endless maze in stone.
Follow a set of stairs and a corridor and you never know where you will pop out to daylight again at. You may end up higher or lower, inside
the keep, or emerging from under the ground.


One of MANY large vaulted rooms.


Courtyard between inner and outer walls


Coming up from somewhere underground again.


More rooms and passages below the ground.


This place just never ends.


Some squiggly inscription on the wall.
My Arabic is rough but approximately it says "Crusaders were here but now they're gone. We whipped their ass and they're crying to mom. God is great."

bokad screwed with this post 11-07-2012 at 11:07 PM
bokad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2012, 12:15 AM   #18
bokad OP
Difficult Child
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Location: Wherever it is warm.
Oddometer: 395
Palmyra
--------------------------------
Middle of the damn desert, 200km East of Hama.
Palmyra, ancient, 'bride of the desert'.

Driving here was nice, real nice. Smooth, flat, open road through a super landscape. I think there's a total of 3 curves from Hama to
Palmyra. Just cruise, relax, and enjoy the view. But I didn't do that... No, I stopped for a break and just had to try the fermented camels
milk candy I was offered. Haunted me for days. Worst part of the trip.

Palmyra is old, like 4000 years old. And there's lots to see from each period. Funerary towers from who knows when, a grand Roman main
street and temples, an Islamic castle, and of course modern despot pan Arab socialism Baath party Syria.

You don't "enter" any of the historic areas in Palmyra. It’s the just the road you ride along. Then you drive off the side and you are in
the ruins. No fence, no tickets. You can drive your bike (or camel) down the grand Roman colonnade if you so desire.

Modern Palmyra is the closest thing that Syria has to a tourist trap. High proportion of visitors to residents. The usual western style
restaurants, cheap hotels, touts, guides, signs in English, and souvenir vendors. It is in no way overwhelming though. Still calm, lazy, and
authentic compared to any other tourism destination.
Things become more rustic at the edge of town. Donkeys are still legitimate transport. I'm not sure if the camels are only for the benefit
of tourists or just a part of normal life.



Modern Palmyra from the castle hill


Tourist cafe. The only rasta flag in all of Syria. And at last...WiFi!


Guys, dates, tourism


Hafez al-Assad, former president of Syria and father of the current one.
His portrait is still found in many many places.


Road out of town.


Sometimes it's like a time warp here. And as always the people are interesting.


Mud wall and door.


Love this picture. There was some drama around it. Police, shouldn't make picture, some blah blah blah


Carpet on the seat reminds me of blanket on a camel.


This bike was all sorts of barely working awesome. The finicky 5 down gear shift and detaching clutch lever were my faves.
Still, it never failed me and always kept putting along.
I'm still amazed that I was able to just get on the bike and go. No tools, no spares, no documents, no license. No problems!
bokad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2012, 12:17 AM   #19
bokad OP
Difficult Child
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Location: Wherever it is warm.
Oddometer: 395
Funerary towers, Palmyra
--------------------------------

The valley of the tombs predates Roman times. It is a 1km long necropolis with many underground graves and tall tomb towers. The tomb towers
have a central staircase with hollowed out spaces along the wall to store several generations of a family's deceased. They're still in there.
Spooky! Cool!



On the stump of a broken tower. Look how big just the base of this thing is. Huge stones.


Day or night it's yours to explore. Jut ride on through.


Hard to tell the size but these things are huge!


Some of the towers from afar.


My bike, off the "road" by the towers.
bokad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2012, 12:23 AM   #20
bokad OP
Difficult Child
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Location: Wherever it is warm.
Oddometer: 395
Roman city, Palmyra
----------------------

Situated on an important trade route, Palmyra was an important and wealthy city in the Roman empire. The site of battle, rebellion, and
intrigue. Majority of the construction was done around 100 to 300AD.
The level of detail in the stone carvings is just amazing. 2000 years ago a craftsman carved it and it's still here today, sharply defined.
You can touch it, run your hand over it and feel the depth and texture.

It's amazing that they could build with such size and scale so long ago. It impresses even today. Imagine how it would have felt to the
average man 2000 years ago to see such giants of stone.

The size of the site is damn impressive. I've never seen such large scale Roman ruins. Buildings outnumber tourists. You can easily feel
this place is yours alone to explore.


Riding to the site.


Wow! That's a big site! No shortage of ruins!


Wow! That's a big site! No shortage of ruins!


A temple of sorts I believe.


Where else in the world can you ride a camel through Roman ruins?


Local tourists


No all buildings have survived so well. Have a seat, ponder the vagaries of time.


Someone 2000 years ago chiseled these words and I can still read them. That's permanent! I'm making my next website in stone!


Carving of Roman soldiers.


So much intricate detail.


Look at the size of the building compared to the people. Wow!


It's big!


Limitless ruins. They go on and on and on.


Limitless ruins. They go on and on and on.
bokad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2012, 12:24 AM   #21
bokad OP
Difficult Child
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Location: Wherever it is warm.
Oddometer: 395
Islamic castle, Palmyra
----------------------
Fakhr-al-Din al-Ma'ani Castle was built in the 1200's (ish) by the Mamluks.
Perched on a hill it provides a great view over the Roman ruins, the valley of the tombs, and new Palmyra.

Steepest hill I had to drive up during my time in Syria and the bike was struggling, bottoming out on the rear suspension and rubbing the
tire. Had to hand walk it to the top.


Brown castle on a brown hill. Not alot of contrast here.


As seen from the Roman ruins.


One the battlements


Exploring inside


It's a popular place to gather for sunset.


It's a popular place to gather for sunset.
bokad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2012, 12:30 AM   #22
bokad OP
Difficult Child
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Location: Wherever it is warm.
Oddometer: 395
Back to Hama
----------------
There's alot to see in Palmyra so stayed a few nights. That and the demon camels milk candy had laid me low.
This was the end of the riding part of the trip and decided to take the long road back to Hama.
There's a turn off to the South and you can ride the highway to Baghdad, Iraq if that's your thing. I went North.


Road back to Hama (the long way)


Baghdad Cafe 66. Named after the movie but on the road to the real Baghdad.


Apparently lots of people stop in here.
bokad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2012, 12:36 AM   #23
bokad OP
Difficult Child
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Location: Wherever it is warm.
Oddometer: 395
Summary
----------
Fantastic, worth the effort to get there. Fabulous and real. A unique and different world. Baba ganoush and fattoush. Friendly, sincere locals.
No hassles from the man. Would love to return for a more extensive trip when the current troubles are over.

bokad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2012, 01:49 AM   #24
redmurty
Gnarly Adventurer
 
redmurty's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Stourbridge West Mids
Oddometer: 121
Thank you for posting, I would love to travel that part of the world cheers Spud
__________________
Have a great one
redmurty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2012, 10:07 AM   #25
Paul-S
n00b
 
Joined: Dec 2007
Oddometer: 6
Fantastic pics and report. Thanks for sharing
Paul-S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2012, 11:45 AM   #26
Falcon86
I just work here.
 
Falcon86's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Virginia Beach, VA/Slaty Fork, WV
Oddometer: 1,630
Awesome beyond words.

Thank you!!!
Falcon86 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2012, 12:06 PM   #27
X11-MAN
Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Fife , Scotland
Oddometer: 52
Lovely photos ..

Shame ...all the wars in this world !!
X11-MAN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2012, 12:17 PM   #28
Falcon86
I just work here.
 
Falcon86's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Virginia Beach, VA/Slaty Fork, WV
Oddometer: 1,630
Quote:
Originally Posted by X11-MAN View Post
Lovely photos ..

Shame ...all the wars in this world !!
Truth.
Falcon86 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2012, 08:36 PM   #29
kennyh
Gnarly Adventurer
 
kennyh's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2004
Location: Friendsville, TN
Oddometer: 296
Terrific photos, would love to go there sometime. Hope the area finds peace soon.
__________________
Smugmug referral code : 01cndVMii0Dl2
kennyh is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2012, 09:40 PM   #30
Vicks
I love sand !!!
 
Vicks's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Oddometer: 2,959
thanks for the re-cap. reminded of our own 3 week ride in Syria & Jordan back in '09.
__________________
'07 KTM Adv990S - Gone to a good home
'10 KTM 530Exc-Rally, some items for sale
No myriad hues of laser lights, no bottles that are oozing with nectars from heaven
No beautiful body soft and warm to the touch but, i have a very small desire
Give me a dark... long... winding road, three gears to go and my Hellas on fire !!
Vicks is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 08:21 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014