Day 8 - Tue 5 Dec 06
Didn't seem to get any sleep last night due to this cough - a real pain. Up at 08:00 for 08:30, had a chat with a Canadian over breakfast in the Cairo, it seems that they are charging him $30 to do the same trip as I did yesterday, and he's not getting the Pontiac! Makes me think that the $26 I paid was a good deal!
Also according to the lads last night, I'm getting my room in the Cairo cheaper the Riad next door.
My car today was just an ordinary yellow Hama taxi, the first stop was at the castle as Musyat, the castle itself wasn't open, but I wasn't bothered too much. I walked around the base, and then bought some food from a nearby shop. Then back into the taxi and up into the hills proper. Most of the housing here is ribbon along the side of the road, it seems to go on forever!
There seems to be a lot more women up here, most seem to be sitting outside the shops waiting for customers! Then I got my first glimpse of the Krak de Chevaliers and I must admit I wasn't that impressed.
Having said the closer I got the more formidable it got, and the climb up the final hill to it's base dispelled all doubts. I got my driver to drop me at the Beibars hotel, and they have plenty of rooms - I'm the only guest. My room (101) is $22, but the view from the bedroom is across a small valley right onto the Krak itself!
I gave my driver a 50SYP tip and sent him on his way, I dumped my stuff in my room and then walked over to the Krak. I spent about four hours exploring every part of the castle and had lunch in the restaurant in the Castle itself.
I got some great shots of the castle from my room as the sun sets. It's chilly up here, I've got a little heater/ac but I can't bring the temp above 23c no matter how hard the heater tries.
It's obvious that Syria is not a top tourist draw at this moment or time of year. The Krak should have tour buses all over it (but I'm so glad that it doesn't!), but there was only one. Just been out to reception and had a cup of tea with the lads out there - they say that a taxi trip to Tartus would cost me about 600SYP, but I'd prefer to take a microbus..