Travel to Syria | Travelling to Syria As A Female Tourist | Overland Trip to Africa!

Travel to Syria | Travelling to Syria As A Female Tourist  | Overland Trip to Africa!

Show Video

Welcome to Episode Seven of my 30,000  mile road trip from Paris to Cape Town.   And on today's episode, we are hitting the  Middle East. Yep, we are going to Syria!   So we finally left Turkey after several  attempts & 24 days. So we're on six weeks   now that we've been traveling. So in today's  episode, we're going to be going over Syria   and what happened in Damascus,  and how we got to Jordan.  

So but before we go there, let's go on to my  podcast journey with you. So some good news.   up to 20 countries, different listeners from 20  countries which is amazeballs! Like said one of my   goals is to get listeners from 76 countries, which  is the amount of countries that I've been to.   So we're well on our way since excluding my  trailers, this is only the third week I think that   I've done my podcast. So yes, super happy. And then the top five countries remain the same.  

So #1 Canada woohoo Canucks! #2 is USA how you  doing down there? There are some crazy times going   down there with hurricanes and I won't even get  into Trump! Country #3 is my second home UK well   done Brits! But you are letting the Americans  beat you. So come on! At #4 is Ireland top of   the morning to ya my fellow Irish lovelies. And  coming up #5 is France so merci beaucoup.   And the review of the day is my first review  actually it's short but sweet. It says:   5 stars & great stuff really looking forward  to the series to start. So thank you,   Nina. You're awesome. And if you'd like to have  a shout out then ya please just leave me a review   on Apple podcasts or like iTunes or go to  my website for instructions how to do it.  

And you can also do it on Stitcher for  Android. Everything's on the website, . Okay, oh, one more piece of news. I   gave my very first interview on another podcast,  which is really exciting. And that will be coming  

out end of September/early October. So I will let  you know when that is out. That was really fun.   I was quite nervous, because it was my first  interview. But it went really, really well,   and it's called the Accented World. And  Lena is the hostess and she's lovely.   So I will keep you posted on when that's out  earlier, the you know, closer to the time.   Alrighty, so let's get going. Okay, so  we finally left Turkey after 24 days.   We planned on being there, maybe 10. And we came  through the Turkish Syrian border near Antakya  

Turkey. And after six passport checks, one baggage  check. We've finally crossed the border into Syria   and we got the bus down to Damascus & we passed  nearby Aleppo. On the bus we met this really nice   Jordanian guy who was living in Damascus. So  Casey talked to him quite a lot. Casey was   my friend who I left with on this trip with,  we traveled together for a few months.  

And so once we got to Damascus, he helped us find  a hotel, which was very nice of him. Like I said   Middle East where, and I've been back to Middle  Eastern countries several times since this trip   and the nicest people like super generous, very  hospitable, just lovely, lovely people. They   really take you under their wing and treat  you as like a guest your royalty basically.   But I remember coming across the border  into Syria because it was about I think   we left Turkey around 11 in the morning,  we didn't get to Damascus till 6pm.   The landscape just completely changes soon as  you come into Syria and it was much more like   low mountain ranges, quite sandy and rocky with  just like pockets of fertile soil. But the sunset  

was beautiful, the hue it just turned fiery  orange. It was really beautiful and I quite   like I thought the landscape was very rugged but  you know it's beautiful in its own way.   So we finally get to Damascus and get our hotel  we just had enough energy to just grab something   really quick to eat because I hadn't slept for  three days right because before we did this,   so that was seven hour trip we just come off a  12 hour bus journey from Ankara to get our Syrian   visa. So I was exhausted and we just  crashed, although it was a rock hard bed.   But I slept for 10 hours, I was out cold  and then got up in the morning. So this is   I think day 43 and finally had a long hot  shower, which was my first in seven days.   So that was lovely. Then I was waiting for Casey  to have a shower so I thought I'll just pop  

out & walk around the corner. You know,  just take a little look see, because   you know by time we got to Damascus it was almost  dark. Well, I got lost for half an hour.   See nowadays much easier, you're put on  Google Maps & your fine! Back in 1993. I mean,   the internet wasn't even around, let alone  cell phones or Google Maps. But yeah,   lost for half an hour or so, but I quite  like getting lost, I still do to this day.   I don't know. For some reason. It's  more fun. I mean, I will always  

find I always find my way home. I do have  an internal tracking system, I think.   Anyways, finally Casey was ready. And we headed  over to the Jordanian embassy to get our visa.   Get there and we realized we had both forgot  our passports. That was super handy. And the   embassy was closed, closed at 11am. So like, Okay,  that was just stupid. Then we went to, so we just   decided to walk around Damascus. And Damascus  is I think it is, the oldest part, the old town  

of Damascus that was like formed in like 3000 BC  or something like that. And it's apparently one   of the oldest continuously inhabited city in the  world. And it was also known as the Pearl of Asia,   because it's beautiful, and it's lushness. I really, really liked Syria, Damascus, like,  

it was totally different vibe to the  other big cities we've been to so far,   but I liked it just as much as I liked Paris, or  Rome to be honest, and much better than I liked   any of the other big cities we went to in Turkey.  Not that we'd got to too many big cities, but   yeah, I really liked it. It had a great vibe and  it was the first time I'd seen women in burkas,   or you know, covered with headscarves and the  men all wore jackets and head scarves as well.   It was just full of color and smells, there's  lots of honking and stuff like that, but that's,   you know, big cities anywhere really. But yeah, I  really really liked the vibe of Damascus. People   are super nice, always smiling and you know,  we hardly seen any other Westerners there.   But mind you, we hadn't really seen any other  travelers since Marmaris Turkey so it had   been a couple weeks just me and Casey's, but  we're still get along really well considering   spending 24 seven together with someone.  It's hard. But yeah, Casey and I got along,  

we're still get like really, really well. So we went to this market, which is called the   El Hamidiyah souk, which is a huge marketplace.  And it was really cool like talk about attacking   your senses. You know, like all your senses are  full because you're just smelling things, you're   seeing things. There's lots of colors, there are  lots of bartering and I really liked it. Really   cool. So we walked around there for awhile and  then we kind of stumbled along the meat market.  

Not quite as nice like definitely the  smells are not as good or the sights,   because you see sheeps heads and cows heads and  intestines and hearts and I don't even eat red   meat. I'd stopped eating red meat when I was 19  so it was not my cup of tea that's for sure.   And then which is weird, we went  to grab some lunch I don't know   all that meat and and we had Oh, yeah, delicious. Like I again like back then and in   1993 I've never had Middle Eastern food really.  I mean, I don't even think hummus was around   back then in Canada. I got this like, beauty, I  do eat white meat like I do eat fish I call it my   fins and feathers diet. So I do eat chicken and  fish. You know, anything with fins and anything   with feathers or out of the sea I love. So yeah, we had these chicken donors and salads  

and Oh, so delicious. Then we  found these awesome Syrian sweets.   So it's kinda like honey straw like looks like  honey straws on the outside. inside and then so   they're kind of crunchy and then inside is like  oh delicious custard with pistachios. Bella! It's  

so good. And the best bet was like  30 cents for a whole box of them.   And I think our, our chicken donors or kebabs  whatever we're like $1 so it was like, okay,   we're liking this is nice and cheap. We're still a bit tired, so we went back,   had a nap, and then hit the town again. And  of course, we found one of the very few bars!   We did have a Syrian beer, which was really  good, it reminded me of Becks and of course,   I was the only woman in there, but not a problem.  Yeah, that we just kind of we had such a such  

a great day. I really, really, really liked  Damascus, and we just crashed that night.   And then so day 44 we headed out to the  Jordanian embassy again with passports this   time. Very helpful and before 11am, and we got  there and they were like, Okay, well, it's $38   for a Jordanian visa. And we're like, wow, that's  quite expensive. And we didn't have enough money  

of course. We knew we're only going to be in  Syria for a day or two. So we didn't want to   change so much money into Syrian pounds. So yes,  we didn't have enough money to cover it. So we   asked "Well, can we get the visa at the border?"  Although we're very, very nervous about this,   because we've been here before with getting trying  to get our Syria visa. And they're like, Oh, yeah,   yeah, yep.I quote. "Yes, you'll definitely be  able to get it at the border and it'll probably be  

cheaper." So we're like, Okay, cool. We will chance it. So we went back & picked up   our bags, grabbed a couple more chicken doners.  I love them for the road and headed to the bus   station only to find out that the bus wasn't  leaving till 4am & it was noon now. Luckily, a guy   kind of overheard us and he said "Well, there's  service taxis. So get one of those. So you just  

you wait till the cars full and then you'll head  out kind of thing." Okay, cool, we'll do that. So   we found one and there's five of us in this taxi.  But the other three people had so much stuff. So   there's all their baggage like on the roof of  the taxi as well as the boot and we just had our   backpack each. It was only 10 bucks and we could  go to Amman Jordan that day, so cool.   Unfortunately, I got the worst seat, so I'm in the  front middle, it was not great! And so we get to   the border. And it took me & Casey just half an  hour to get through. Oh yeah, and also for the   visa it was $42 - highway robbery! It was $4 more  than what we would have paid at the embassy   which I know sounds like nothing but you know  when you're budgeting & on a very long road trip,   every dollar counts anyways, but we got our visa  that was the main thing - we got the visa!   But the other three people, they had so  much stuff were three hours at customs.  

So by the time we finally got back on the road, it  was dark. And the driver who was this fat sleazy,   gross, dude, one of the few people I had met that  I didn't like, and throughout the whole trip,   he just kept trying to rub himself against my leg  and my like, his arms on my lap, and it was just   needless to say, very gross, very weary day. But the good news is we got to Jordan,   and we decided to splash out got like a $15 night  hotel.And, yeah, we're in Jordan. Happy Days!  

However, you will have to wait till the  next episode to hear about Jordan!   I would just like to talk a little bit more  about Syria and how heartbreaking it is   what's been happening there  for the last nine years.   The war and everything like that, that  started in 2011 started kind of, because   a couple of teenagers had spray painted something  about pro democracy, and Assad, the president's   security people, arrested them and tortured them,  and it kind of kicked off from there. So it was,   it's called the Arab Spring, it was one of  the Arab Spring kind of revolutions. And in   2012, just mass protesting and Assad the president  who is not not a very good person at all,   or another dictator, he brought in, you know,  the big thing in 2013 was sirin gassing when   he gassed his own people like, poisoned  them, even though he denied he did.  

And it just, snowballed. I mean by I think  2016 something like four and a half million   Syrians have been displaced, sorry not displaced  that was more but had left Syria, basically.   So, you hear about Syrian refugees, I mean,  they have just gone through hell and back,   and, you know, and Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, I  mean, they, just so many refugees, they couldn't   handle it. So there's, refugees, Syrian refugees  go to Europe and some came across to Canada & the   States. But hard times and I'm not sure  how many Syrians have been killed but by   2015 250,000 Syrians have been killed by  their own government like brutal!   They've tried to get peace a few times, it;s  just not working. So it's still there's,   you know, parts of Syria it's still really  you can't go to it's very unsafe. However,  

I Just had a look yesterday about the situation  now and Damascus and Aleppo are open and you   can visit them. A few things you need to know.   And now apparently also Damascus has & Aleppo they  have streets that are bars and restaurants and   they say it's like any other European cities  which is cool. Like I said I loved Damascus. I   wish I would have seen more of Syria, especially,  I can't remember the name now but that there's an   old city, it starts with a P, can't remember  right now. But ISIS destroyed it and it's a   really old ancient city. So I wish we would have  gone to see it when we had a chance.   But yeah, so if you do want to go to Syria  now, you need to go by on a tour of since 2018.   You have to book a tour. And you also have to  through a travel agency, you have to kind of get  

what's called a security permission and then  that you can go into the Syrian immigration   database because you don't get your visa until  you arrive. But so if you did want to go, like   I loved it. Obviously things have changed.  But yes, you just go to a travel agency and   it depends like to get this security permission.  It's something like so for Europeans, it's $300,   for UK, it's $500 and for Americans, it's  $550. And then visas are between $20 and $150   US dollars, depending on where you're from. For  Canadians it's $90. So I got mine free.  

So yeah, you have to book a tour. So you're met  at the airport, or there are three land borders   that are open now. I mean, again, with COVID,  I'm not exactly sure so just double check. And   obviously all your governments travel advisory,  you know, government pages of website pages all   probably do not recommend going to Syria. But  I have looked online and there's people that   have gone, you know, 2019 2020 so it's definitely  possible. Yeah, so you have to be with your tour   at all times. And like said I would literally  just go to Damascus, maybe Aleppo. That'd be it   really because there are still kidnappings  and stuff like that. And you also cannot  

have an Israeli stamp in your passport. It  was the same back that when I was there,   that's one of the reasons that we didn't going to  Israel because we were going to Sudan and we knew   that we can't have that in our passport. Also, no ATMs take foreign   cards. That's because of all the restrictions  by American governments and British, you know,   Western governments basically. So you have to  bring hard cash, cold hard cash. And the Syrian  

pound has completely dropped from April, again  because of embargoes on them. So now it is a   good time for us not great for Syrians at all but  the Syrian pound is like 2400 to one US dollars   when I was there is 42 so yeah crazy! So I think that's about it for Syria right now.   It's really heartbreaking I feel for those people  and there are many now probably close it 8 million   at least Syrians have been displaced and it's  just brutal! And all for what? And of course now   you have American government, you know, and  other government is trying to steal their oil   which you know, whatever, but it's stealing  their oil basically. Yeah, not great. Not a   great situation. So if you could go & if you do  want to go then go! Because the economy would,   any bit of money that they can get from  tourism would be great for the country.   So I leave it at your own discretion. And now it's time for Tams Top Tips for Syria. So  

I would say tip #1 besides all of the information  I just gave you, Damascus possibly Aleppo to   go to and I guess it's Damascus hasn't been  hit too hard like bombed too much so it's still   like I said I loved it. It was really vibrant and  friendly and colorful. But it's changed now. So   there are more there's one street called Al Hamara  Street and that is literally a road of bars and   restaurants and cafes and things like that and  shops. So that would be I guess, tip #1.   Tip #2 in Damascus I would go to  Omayad mosque, which is a really   Ancient Mosque and burial site. Tip #3 would be go to that marketplace.   It's called Al Hamidyah souk. It's amazing.  It's huge. It's was, like I said, my first big,  

especially Middle Eastern marketplaces, so  really fun, lots of great things to buy and   try and eat and drink and all sorts. And then the tip for my solo female travelers,   dress appropriately, definitely I would say  wear a headscarf and cover your arms and   legs. And you should be fine. You know, you're  going to be on a tour, but still be vigilant   and just respect their culture. And you should  be fine. Like I said, I had a great time. And   I know things have changed, but some things  don't ever change. And that's people's   hospitality and generosity, and except for places  that has been bombed obviously, but what's to   see there that I saw is still there. So, like I said, I would leave it at your   own discretion. And once things calm down,  especially with COVID then yeah, put it on  

your list... for sure to go. Okay, so I think that  is a wrap and we are really really getting closer   to Africa. So next week's episode is gonna  be about Jordan and then it's Africa!   Okay, I would love it if you could  subscribe, and leave a review or   ratingthat would be awesome. Okay, so until next  Thursday... Safe travels one road at a time.

2021-01-06 05:03

Show Video

Other news