Touring cyclists everywhere

December 22nd, 2008 by scott and becky
Vendor in souk scooping out some honey for us

Vendor in souk scooping out some honey for us

We awoke to a rainy morning. For the first time in days, I finally had energy and wanted to see a little bit of Aleppo. With the rain, the best thing to see was the old Souk (bazaar) since it is covered in many places. We spent a few hours wandering around the various aisles. We bought some honey, spices, and nuts from various vendors, but held back from the many offers to buy scarves and other souvenirs.

In the evening, Roger and Mireille arrived after a wet and cold day of cycling. They have been cycling for three months and have come from Switzerland. With Roger and Mirelle, there are now 4-pairs of touring cyclists at the hotel (us, Wendy and Peter, Katja and Miroslav, and Roger and Mirelle). We make for quite an eclectic group.

As I write this, I am sitting in a lounge listening to Katya play her guitar and sing. She has a beautiful voice. Miroslav (Mirko) and Wendy are playing backgammon and Scott is doing yoga!

Katya is from Slovenia and Mirko is from the Czech Republic. They are cycling with much more gear than us! Mirko tows a trailer that contains their portable jewelry making business, Katja’s guitar and various other things. When their money gets low, they make jewelry and sell it.

Wendy and Mirko playing backgammon, Katya singing

Wendy and Mirko playing backgammon, Katya singing

It is all very odd to be sitting in a hotel in Aleppo Syria with a bunch of touring cyclists. We never expected that this was how we would spend our Christmas. We are all here resting up allowing various illnesses to pass, and awaiting a break in the weather.

In the next few days we will need to make a decision as to our next steps on this trip.

Option 1:
Leave the bikes in Aleppo and take buses or trains such that we can visit several sites in Jordan and Syria including: Petra, Palmyra, the Dead Sea, Damascus, and Amman.

Option 2:
Ride the bikes to Banias on the Syrian Mediterranean coast and leave the bikes there for a week or two while going site-seeing (see option 1).

Option 3:
Ride the bikes to Damascus and then Banias and then north up the Mediterranean coast to Turkey. This would mean not getting to Jordan or seeing Palmyra or Petra, but we would see Syria in a very different way.

Part of the decision will be made by Becky’s health. If it takes too long for Becky’s cold to pass, then option 1 will be the only feasible choice.

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