81km from the middle of nowhere to Maraka

Two friendly truck driversOne of the things we’ve always believed is that people are generally good. It’s something we have seen over and over during our trip regardless of nationality or religion but recently we’ve found this basic truth hard to remember after encountering more than our fair share of bad apples over the past week. So it was all the more welcome when we saw a familiar car stop in front of us this morning. Out hopped Misheal, a Saudi-Canadian on holiday in Syria who’d first pulled over to chat as we were cycling in the desert around Palmyra. We talked for a few minutes and then Misheal asked if we needed anything. “Just some water, if you have it,” we said. We were running a little low after camping the night before. There are few villages on this stretch of road. “No, I don’t have any,” said Misheal. “But if I see any I’ll bring it back for you.”

It was a very kind offer – the thought alone touched us – and true to his word Misheal returned before long, not only with two bottles of water for us but also juice and chocolate bars. What a boost to the spirits when we needed it most! He drove 50km out of his way to bring us water and treats and we appreciated it probably more than he’ll ever know.

With our energy restored and a new smile on our faces we carried on under blue skies. The kilometers flew by and we were surprised to see our turnoff towards Aleppo sooner than we’d expected. There aren’t many stores in this area at all but we managed to find one to buy a few supplies that should see us through to the next town. An extra afternoon burst of energy came from two truck drivers, who stopped and offered us a cup of sugar-loaded coffee. How could we refuse?

The terrain is deserted out here with houses few and far between, making easy pickings for camping places. It was no problem at all to locate a quiet and hidden spot for our tent and we settled down for a peaceful evening, hoping to reach Aleppo tomorrow where a hotel and hot shower awaits us


  1. andrew
    17th December 2007 at 10:16 am #

    Road notes: There are two police stations where you can get water between the turnoff for Rasafa and the exit for Aleppo. Other than that there’s not a lot although there are a couple shops selling mostly chocolate bars, cookies and sugary drinks. Only the one at the turnoff for Aleppo sells any kind of staples, including pasta at an extravagant price. Watch out if you buy things here. The UHT milk we paid dearly for was actually out-of-date and had gone bad. We didn’t see bread anywhere.

    What we spent: 215 SP groceries

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