We stopped in Damascus on two occasions. The first time around, we only stayed 2 nights, enough time to submit my visa applications for Iran and India and to take a long walk around the old city. We actually missed the old part the first time around, because all we found was a run-down area. On the second visit, I ended up way past the old part and walked back through the old town.


On both occasions, we stayed at the Al Rabie hotel. It's hidden away just outside of the old city. The place makes you feel comfortably at home, with large rooms and good facilities. The courtyard is where everyone hangs out and travelers end up sharing tables, exchanging travel information and smoking water pipes. The second time we had an ever bigger room than the first time.



The Al Rabie hotel is only a short walk away from the old town. Emerging from the cozy street Al Rabie is situated on, you end up in this.



Luckily, the pain of LA-style traffic is short and very soon you reach the outer limits of the old city via one of the many pedestrian overpasses. Below is the Syrian equivalent of Home Depot.



The prettier part of Damascus is in and around the Al-Hamadiyeh Souq. Although this one is grand in a number of ways, the souqs in Aleppo were much more enjoyable.



Perfume shops and tea vendors are two things of which surely there must be more supply than demand.



Past all this, you curl behind the Umayyad Mosque and the Citadel to reach further into the old city.



Numerous shops and alleys connect to make a maze of the area in which it can be easy to get lost.



A night shot looking from the Umayyad Mosque into the Al-Hamadiyeh Souq.



The old town is littered with small cafes where the locals hang out.



During the day, we walked around a bit and found some interesting little houses which reminded us of the Ottoman-styled houses we'd seen in Turkey.



Swivelling the LCD of the camera and pretending to be busy resulted in this shot.



On the way to Jordan, we made a detour to visit the amphitheatre in Bosra. It's one of the few above-ground amphitheatres the Romans built. It's quite the sight but not much else around it remains.