We got the bus to Palmyra, a dusty 3 hour journey from Damascus through the Syrian desert. No trains run in this direction and I definitely wouldn’t drive. It wouldn’t be hard to find, it’s just a straight road but the way they drive over here the bus was the safest option.
We were dropped off on the outskirts of modern Palmyra and immediately accosted by the local taxi drivers, we decided on one, another Mahmoud, (there are 99 names for Allah that the arabs use to draw their inspiration fot the names of their children and some are more popular than others ergo: lots of Mohammeds, Abduls and Ahmed’se etc etc). We asked him to bring us to an internet cafe and he tried to take us to a hotel, when we said no he brought us to a guy with supposedly a hotel with internet, we gave in and went along with him, Lisa checked out the hotel room, sparse, clean. We told him we might come back and went in search of better lodgings. We tried another hotel it was ok, not as good as the first. Turned an corner and next minute there’s the guy from the Casa Mia, his name was tadaaaaa! Mohommed. We decided to stay with them. See resources
Palmyra is an oasis town which was at one stage very important trading post on the silk route in to europe, it now survives on the huge number of visitors who come to see the roman ruins and tombs. However at this tme of the year it is just before it starts to get busy. I was going to beat the crowds.
I set the alarm for 5 am and woke to it, thought about rolling over for five minutes but somehow managed to make it out of bed, got dressed quietly in the toilet and softly closed the door to the room behind me.
Once out on to the laneway beside the hotel I made my way to the ruins through a dirty and deserted Palmyra with only the cats and dogs for company. It was that twilight time before the dawn and as I reached the ruin site I realised I had the entire site to myself. For the next hour and a half it remained so and I wandered the ruins as they were bathed in a beautiful blue light that faded as the sun rose.
I got back to the hotel at about 7 am where I met the ubiquitious Mahommed at the door. I said goodnight to him and went back to my bed. After a 2 hour nap we all got up to a traditional desert breakfast which consisited of flat bread , apricot jam , hummus , dried spices , and yogurt with honey . Fed and watered we headed out to the sun to see the ruins in a different light . All I can say is that is well worth getting up early for and somewhere special to visit .