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Friday, April 2, 2010

"Access Denied"

As I was afraid they would, Syria has blocked my blog and website. It has been an amazing week but it show the problem of this type of travel.There were several places where It would have been great to spend more time and for serous photography much more time. A couple years ago I did that in Turkey on a month long self drive trip with my brother but even then there was never enough time. Jordan and especially Syria would be even more difficult for a self drive trip.

Thursday- Headed north stopping at the dead sea for a float. It is surreal to be standing upright in water without touching the bottom and be floating with half of your chest out of of the water. From there we went to the top of Mount Nebo to camp.At night the lights of West Bank, Israel, and Jordan were bright. One bright set of lights was pointed out to be Jericho.

Friday-Drove to the town of Madaba to visit a Greek Orthodox Church that has the oldest known map in the world. Around 500 AD a large mosaic map of the then known world was made on the floor of the church. The next stop was the safeway in Amman, this is the largest safeway I have been in. Two stories high and a great bakery and produce section, a great stop after the local markets we been getting our food at. Then it was on to Damascus.

Saturday-Damascus in the rain. Visited the mosque that has the tomb, although not the entire body, of John the Baptist. The mosque was very busy with a lot of pilgrims from Iran. The mosque started out as a church and still has the original baptismal. From there you can walk down the Straight Street to the other wall of the original wall and see the church were Saul was baptized and became Paul very near the wall he was said to be lowered over by rope.

Sunday- Up early to visit Lebanon. First stop in Lebanon was in Baalbeck where in 1000 BC a large temple was built to the Sun God Baal. Later under the Romans it became the temple of Jupiter. There are other temples on the site to Bacchus, Mercury, Venus, and others. They must have been spectacular as some had over 50 columns of Aswan granite topped with a roof of Lebanon Cedar and mosaic floors. The next stop was Beirut where you can see many buildings with shell holes from from the civil war.

Monday- Drove to Palmyra in eastern Syria another great site on what was a large trading route. It also has a large temple of Baal at the end of of a large street four columns wide that went on for over a mile. There is also a castle on the hill in the distance.

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