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  1. #1
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    Syria this December

    Hi guys,

    My gf and I are touring Syria this December (19-30, but only about 7 or 8 days cycling as we'd like to see Aleppo and Damascus). Any experiences? Route ideas?

    We travel self supported. I understand it's going to be quite cold, although we've camped in the desert before in Morocco and I don't expect it to be much colder; am I right?

    We are still thinking about the route, we fly in and out from Damascus, and a preliminary route would be
    to start from Damascus or Palmyra and work our way up to Aleppo, see the city and go back to Damascus by train. Our KM "budget" is about 600Km/8 days (there is not a lot of daylight) Would it make sense to start from Palmyra instead of Damascus, and use the time saved to visit other places or is the route Damascus - Palmyra interesting?

    Any information or past experience would be greatly appreciated!

    Also, we are flying with BMI. The process of booking the bikes into the flight has been extremely confusing. There is no option to do it using the website and the first two times we called them we were told that a bicycle does not count as sporting equipment (contradicting what their own website says)... Anyway, after making a fuss about it and waiting for a callback that did not happen, we called again and the guy at the other end of the line said no problem, it will be 25 quid per bike per flight, which is fine with us. Problem is that in the booking webpage it does not say anything confirming the bike booking (the guy told us it would) and we are afraid of getting to the airport only to find out another idiot trying to charge our bikes as excess luggage....I guess we will call them again, but I would like to hear from someone that has used BMI before.

    So, has anyone here flown bikes with BMI ?


    Thanks a lot for the help!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    I envy you! That's one country I'd really like to tour in. I've read a couple of journals over at CGOB, and it sounds like the Syrians are amongst the most hospitable people in the world. I hope you'll keep us posted on your travels there.

  3. #3
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    be on the look out for scorpions and any other creepy crawlies

  4. #4
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    Hi there, I just visited Syria as part of a longer journey this Spring. Although I did not travel by bicycle I did cover most of your route by public transportation and I do think I can give you some helpful tips. I also lived in Damascus for 4 years when I was a kid.

    My gf and I are touring Syria this December (19-30, but only about 7 or 8 days cycling as we'd like to see Aleppo and Damascus). Any experiences? Route ideas?

    Answer: Damascus and Aleppo are both beautiful cities. Your plans to see those cities and not just travel through them is a right choice. The old cities parts in both Aleppo and Damascus as well as the market is just fabulous. I did like Damascus a little bit better, but they are both high on my list.

    We travel self supported. I understand it's going to be quite cold, although we've camped in the desert before in Morocco and I don't expect it to be much colder; am I right?

    Answer: It can get quite cold in Syria, yes. I remember that every year we had a few days of snow in Damascus. Damascus is a bot more elevated than most of your touring, but still. The interior of the country has an arid and dry climate, very hot in summer and cold in winter. So yes it can get cold in the desert, especially at night. Bring good clothing and check the weather sites.

    Our KM "budget" is about 600Km/8 days (there is not a lot of daylight) Would it make sense to start from Palmyra instead of Damascus, and use the time saved to visit other places or is the route Damascus - Palmyra interesting?

    If I was you, I would definitely start in Palmyra. The road to Palmyra is mostly a straight path through a desert without any scenery; Boring. There are almost no rest stops on the way. You would save valuable city exploring time if you just take a bus, put your bike in and cruise to Palmyra in 3 hours. Its like 300 km for a couple of bucks.

    Any information or past experience would be greatly appreciated!

    Answer: Try to include Homs and Hama in your trip as well as the Cracq Des Chevaliers, a crusader castle between the two cities.

    Another form of transportation that I would like to recommend is the train. Night trains/sleeper carriages are really comfortable and easy to arrange. You could take night trains to cities with great distance between them and cruise the areas around the cities.

    If you have any more questions, feel free to contact me. I drop by here a couple of times a week.

    Kind regards!

  5. #5
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    Hi there, I just visited Syria as part of a longer journey this Spring. Although I did not travel by bicycle I did cover most of your route by public transportation and I do think I can give you some helpful tips. I also lived in Damascus for 4 years when I was a kid.

    My gf and I are touring Syria this December (19-30, but only about 7 or 8 days cycling as we'd like to see Aleppo and Damascus). Any experiences? Route ideas?

    Answer: Damascus and Aleppo are both beautiful cities. Your plans to see those cities and not just travel through them is a right choice. The old cities parts in both Aleppo and Damascus as well as the market is just fabulous. I did like Damascus a little bit better, but they are both high on my list.

    We travel self supported. I understand it's going to be quite cold, although we've camped in the desert before in Morocco and I don't expect it to be much colder; am I right?

    Answer: It can get quite cold in Syria, yes. I remember that every year we had a few days of snow in Damascus. Damascus is a bot more elevated than most of your touring, but still. The interior of the country has an arid and dry climate, very hot in summer and cold in winter. So yes it can get cold in the desert, especially at night. Bring good clothing and check the weather sites.

    Our KM "budget" is about 600Km/8 days (there is not a lot of daylight) Would it make sense to start from Palmyra instead of Damascus, and use the time saved to visit other places or is the route Damascus - Palmyra interesting?

    If I was you, I would definitely start in Palmyra. The road to Palmyra is mostly a straight path through a desert without any scenery; Boring. There are almost no rest stops on the way. You would save valuable city exploring time if you just take a bus, put your bike in and cruise to Palmyra in 3 hours. Its like 300 km for a couple of bucks.

    Any information or past experience would be greatly appreciated!

    Answer: Try to include Homs and Hama in your trip as well as the Cracq Des Chevaliers, a crusader castle between the two cities.

    Another form of transportation that I would like to recommend is the train. Night trains/sleeper carriages are really comfortable and easy to arrange. You could take night trains to cities with great distance between them and cruise the areas around the cities.

    If you have any more questions, feel free to contact me. I drop by here a couple of times a week.

    Kind regards!

  6. #6
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    Whoozer,

    Thanks a lot! That's very useful information. From what you said, I think we are almost definitely going to start from Palmyra. I'm going to start planning the route this weekend and see how we can do it to visit Homs and Hama.

    If you don't mind I will be back soon with some more questions!

    Pedro

  7. #7
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    Our notes might be helpful:

    http://travellingtwo.com/resources/syria

    It can be quite cold. We were there around the same time 2 years ago. The water froze in our bottles overnight in the north and I remember one very cold rainstorm on the mountain, just a day before we reached Damascus.

    Most days were fine and sunny though. Take good 3-season bags/tent and you'll be fine.

    The route from Damascus to Palmyra can be surprisingly busy with traffic (especially before the turnoff to Iraq) and it's a desert so you have to carry quite a bit of water/food but pretty enough for desert scenery. You won't have much interaction with people though on this route (not many villages/towns).

    For such a short time, maybe you could ride from Damascus to Palmyra, then bus to Hama, then riding through the Dead Cities and past Crac de Chevaliers to Aleppo.
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by avatarworf View Post
    Our notes might be helpful:

    http://travellingtwo.com/resources/syria

    It can be quite cold. We were there around the same time 2 years ago. The water froze in our bottles overnight in the north and I remember one very cold rainstorm on the mountain, just a day before we reached Damascus.

    Most days were fine and sunny though. Take good 3-season bags/tent and you'll be fine.

    The route from Damascus to Palmyra can be surprisingly busy with traffic (especially before the turnoff to Iraq) and it's a desert so you have to carry quite a bit of water/food but pretty enough for desert scenery. You won't have much interaction with people though on this route (not many villages/towns).

    For such a short time, maybe you could ride from Damascus to Palmyra, then bus to Hama, then riding through the Dead Cities and past Crac de Chevaliers to Aleppo.
    avatarworf,

    Your T2 webpage was the start of this whole adventure Thanks a lot for the info, it's a great site

    Cheers

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