88km Al Busayri to Palmyra

Sultan and Cliff the camelWe left the Baghdad Cafe under clear skies, ready for the last leg of our journey to Palmyra, but we couldn’t get started until Sultan showed us Cliff the camel’s speciality. Out came a soda can, which Cliff took in his lips and then tilted high in the air, draining every last drop before he crushed the can with his large feet. “Coca-cola, tea, water, coffee. He drinks everything,” said Sultan. We thanked Sultan for his hospitality and then hit the road, this time fighting against a small headwind although the cycling was still wonderful. Any extra energy we put into pedalling was more than made up for by the scenery. We could see the sandy earth extending far ahead of us, broken up only by the dead straight road and the occasional bedouin tent or ruined house. The trip to Palmyra took us almost the entire day and the sun was setting as we rolled past the ruins and into the centre of town. It’s quite an entrance to make, perhaps the best we’ve ever experienced. The road into Palmyra goes directly past the ancient columns and temples of the Roman city before reaching the town centre and everything glowed in the sun’s rays as we cycled past. Soon we were in our hotel, drinking the obligatory tea with the owners, who speak surprisingly good English. Our conversation continued longer than expected when the power went out across the whole town. A few hours later we were able to have supper and then collapse into bed, ready for a day of exploring tomorrow

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    Road notes: There is very little on this stretch of road but a small village could provide some supplies, about 15km after Al Busayri. There are occasional houses where you could seek water. In Palmyra we stayed at the New Afqa hotel which is well signed and written up in the guidebooks.

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