Monumental arch and colonaded street. The ancient city, Palmyra, Homs, Syria.

Groan! The wake up calls are getting earlier.  5.30am my alarm went off this morning.  Actually, it didn’t really make that much difference at all, I’d been up half the night with a stomach bug.  I couldn’t face breakfast this morning.  Not really an option to miss the outing today, we are touring… we leave Damascus and end up at a hotel near Homs tonight.

Exterior view of the Cafe. Bagdad Cafe, Homs, Syria.

Our route however is not a direct one and we are heading out into the Desert to visit the ancient city of Palmyra.  Before Palmyra however, we have one stop… Bagdad Cafe.  This is the desert equivalent of a motorway service station.  A welcome break and I made a new friend – the cafe kitten, decided that since I was ill probably need the most attention and it curled up and slept on my lap most of the time we were there.  It did give me leave to take a couple of photos before we continued our journey.

Road and Syrian desert. Bagdad Cafe, Homs, Syria.

Arriving at Palmyra our first visit was to the Temple of Baal.  Outside we were greeted by an expressive camel.  It looked how I was feeling.

A camel. Temple of Baal, Palmyra, Homs, Syria.

The temple is very impressive and a lot bigger than I immagined – almost on an Egyptian scale.  Sadly photographs cannot convey the scale of the sactuary and the large doorway infront of it.

Looking up at doorway to the cella, the holy of holies in the te. Temple of Baal, Palmyra, Homs,

The inner temple. Temple of Baal, Palmyra, Homs, Syria.

Next stop some tombs – freestanding tower tombs out in the desert.  Upto five stories high and capable of containing upto 500 bodies.  A sort of high-rise ‘living’ for the dead.

A palmyrian tower tomb. Valley of the tombs, Palmyra, Homs, Syria.

A tour round the ancient city, took us to another Roman theatre.  Both Ann and I got to perform readings from the rise and fall of the Roman Empire which describe the destruction of Palmyra.  I narrated and Ann relished the role of Zanobia the Warrior Queen of Palmyra.  (Garrick plays and casting commitee be warned!).

Ann orates a reading in the Roman Theatre. The ancient city, Palmyra, Homs, Syria.

Also of interest was the agora or market place.  Although work has been done to uncover and restore this, it is clear that it is constant battle to prevent the desert from claiming it back. 

The Agora. The ancient city, Palmyra, Homs, Syria.

Lunch consisted of a can of Coke – about all my stomach could cope with, this was followed by the long drive north to our new hotel over looking Crac des Chevaliers.  I am glad to be at the hotel and able to rest – I am even pleased to be with in easy reach of toilet!

Temple of Baal Shamin. The ancient city, Palmyra, Homs, Syria.