Saturday, April 29, 2006

A Normal Spring Trip

Me and My partner in the university Hashem were asked to continue our graduation project by going to one the Following villages:

Do you know this villages? Well due to my general culture I know about Rastan town, and due to my "hiking experience" I know a little about Mqa3brah as I hiked near by two years ago, and the other two villages we couldn't even find them in the map.
What I know about it that it's located not very far from the Crack de Chevalier citadel to the west of Homs and in the middle of greenery there. So why not? A graduation scientific trip and a chance to take a breath in the best time of the year here in Syria.

Spring time in Hims (Homs) countryside

And there we went, we went first to Hims (Homs) where we found out that most of the people there are originally from Homs countryside, and they advised us to take a transportation to one of the major towns which is called Al-7Howash and then continue by walking. And so we did.

When we took the micro bus I realized that everyone knows everyone even the driver who knew even the names of all the passengers!
The driver dropped us in the last station and we had to continue our trip walking!
Everyone advised us to take the main road, but for me, I find it boring, so we decided to cross the valley , and then up to the mountain, using the old roads that the ancestors there made by hand and they call it "7heresh" 's roads..
First we came across an old mill, as usual now it's totally neglected.

Old Mill1

Old Mill 2

And then we went up to the top pf the mountain, where we met a simple nice family who offered us water and invited us to a cup of tea, a shepherd from a village in one of the top of the mounts there joined us, he took of his Ngab (kufieh), showed us the way and told us many strange stories about a big black snake in the valley which attacks everyone stands in its face!



We continued to the village and we found that village was really damaged because of a creep and other earth movements in the main slope over which most of the village is situate, me an Hashem took many photos and interviewed many people.

Mqa'bra- Mqa3bra

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Welcome To Turkye!

In the day I finished the exams, my friend Abdul Kader called and asked me if I have free time for a two days trip in Latakia; well, who will say no!

Since Latakia and the neighboring mountains were on or facing the Mediterranean, every body thought it was a crazy idea to go there in the winter. But I –deep inside- I knew that it will be warmer than any other region in the country, and it will be amazing to me to watch the snow in the mounts and see from the same place without making even a small step.

So we went to lattakia, spend the night in the coastal city, and head in the next day morning to the mounts, beginning from Kassab.
Kassab is a small Armenian town near the Syrian – Iskanderoon borders- the village is boiling with tourists in the summer and a ghost's city in winter. Beginning the walk from there and heading to the borders, we encountered very beautiful scenes, and as I expected, I saw the snow and the Mediterranean from the same spot.

Al-Akra mount

Standing there watching what is called internationally "The Syrian Turkish borders", and locally "the Syrian Occupied Iskanderoon", I tried to figure out what my feelings should be; should I feel like I'm looking on an occupied land, or I'm looking at a Turkish land. While many people still insist that time should never make us forgive and forget. Many people don't care about this large peace of land any more.
Still do I look through the borders, thinking about how we were living under one flag and one territory for over 500 years, when no languages or religions were separating us. I sudenly recieved a text message on my mobile phone saying: welcome to Turkye!
SyrianTurkish Borders

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Deserted Village

If you passed by a broken window, you will throw a stone on it, and if someone asks you why you're doing this, you will answer spontaneously that: It's already broken!
Well that what our folks did in a night hiking trip between Qara and Jrajir, when we passed near the ruins of an old deserted village, they left all the places and pissed on it's walls!
-nobody's living here anymore! –one of the hikers said-
I think he's right, somehow.

Join The Army!

The village is really a perfect place for shooting a movie or being transferred into a hotel, and it's built in the old traditional way, or what's left of it.
We camped near by, I felt like it was haunted, and when the sun rose again, I went there with my friend Ihsan and I took other shots.

Deserted village

click on the first photo, oh who's that! yazan was there too..hehe, sorry Yazan.
more photos on

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Crossing the borders

Crossing the stream
Originally uploaded by amrtheproud.
Crossing the borders

I was always wondering how many goods pass illegally from Lebanon, until I finally went to Serghaya; a small town near the Syrian Lebanese borders.
When first we arrived it looked like a virgin valley to me; a lovely river passes through farms, villagers that smile while waving there hands, apricot and cherry trees all around. In conclusion, it was a perfect place to hike!
That's how the day began; we decided to head to a fountain called AlJosha, and the only thing that we had to do is following the old railway that was built in the last years when the Ottomans controlled the country.
We went there, and it was like magic, do you know how the scenes were? If you know Ein Al Khadra and Al FeeJ, it's exactly like this but without restaurants or pollution. The river's water is very pure and the even the farmers were nice.
We kept on going and going, and suddenly we heard a gunfire, the leader of the group (Bishr Sawwaf), asked us to hide our cameras and stop singing and making loud sounds (As we always do, we ruin the calmness of every place we hike in.). we came closer and closer to the sound till we figure out that it was a military officer hunting,
I donno if our ancestors left us a thing to hunt, I thought everything was already hunted by them, they left us only rabbits and frogs!
We asked him the way to Josha spring:
-Go further he said
so we did, we walked another hour till we reached a tent, beautiful teenage girls were working under it..
-escuse me ladys
(the ladys looked like guys actually)
-yea.. (with a thick and loud sound)
-can you tell me where am I?
-You're in Lebanon

dah you're kidding! We passed through the borders and nobody even asked us who we are and what we're doing! And there was no signs no anything, we just passed, and hola: we're in Lebanon…
we came back to Syria after walking back for about 30minutes, haha, and we had a great time.
Actually for me, this one was a picnic more than a hiking trip.
Enjoy the photos!

Monday, September 19, 2005

A New One, But Might Be The Last For Many Of Us

Date and time: Friday the 16th of September from 8 am till 9 pm 35 actually.
Location: Ofra- Hrera- Bloudan.
Land type: High Mountains.
Organizer: The Rangers Hiking group, led by Bisher Al-Sawwaf a journalist and a member of the Syrian Union of Hikers.
How many kilometers: 25 which is classified as medium length. 35 some friends are cursing me day by night after this "small mistake".

How much you have to pay: only transportation fees.
so connect if you're interested. (if it is your first trip, make sure that you have the hospital fees too)

Originally uploaded by amrtheproud.

Well, I don't know where to begin from! First of all :
Sorry Ihsan , Ghalia, Dima, Reem, and in the first place, sorry Luma.
When I wrote about this trip, I didn't expect it will be exactly the same one I did about two years ago.
Oops! I told my self when we reached the place we wanted to start from, when I jumped out of the bus and looked around I realized that I was mistaken, I told them it's a medium trip, but in fact, it was the hardest one in my entire life. and now I'm do it again but this time with 4 beginners and the disaster is all of them were my friends.
I can't remember the trip well because of going up to the top of the earth, and then down to the bottom of it.
Trying to convince them how easy the hike in such mounts is, I was telling stories about how super power any human being can have if he wanted to, but deep inside, I was praying no one will fall in the middle of the road.
Actually we weren't the only hikers, we had a company, they even shared drinking water with us.

Originally uploaded by amrtheproud.

What makes this trip so special is that we didn't pass through any village, villages always looked so far away, to be more specific, civilization seemed to be so far away. (remember I'm saying this words in Syria!)
Finally we reached Bloudan, all of us wanted to go home, but Bisher -the leader- insisted to take us to a restaurant, going to the restaurant was like a punishment nobody wanted to there!
- Please don't take us to the restaurant!
We were shouting while walking like ducks in the town, most of people were staring at us; people come to Bloudan to GO to a restaurants..??
35, that's the real distance, and not 25 as I said. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard Louma telling me when going home: Thank you Am
- are you serious??
-yea, thanks we had so much fun.
-(thanks god…)

More photos on Ihsan's blog too: Ihsaniat

Hikers, our company
Originally uploaded by amrtheproud.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A New Hiking Trip:

Date and time: Friday the 16th of September from 8 am till 9 pm.
Location: Between Ofra and Bloudan.
Land type: High Mountains.
Organizer: The Rangers Hiking group, led by Bisher Al-Sawwaf a journalist and a member of the Syrian Union of Hikers.
How many kilometers: 25 which is classified as medium length.

How much you have to pay: only transportation fees.
so connect if you're interested.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

going to swim -last episode-

khaleej-latkia mounts1
Originally uploaded by amrtheproud.

Ok, I finally reached the bottom of the world down there, raised my head up, looked around:
-OMG, this must be heaven!!
-Come on, jump man.
It took me few seconds to be in the water which was freezing..
-how many springs are there in this canyon?
-about 25 …
after 20 minutes of swimming, having fun and talking with locals, I suddenly felt that there is something missing… what is it?
Damn! The rest of the group, they might be lost up there…
I looked at the beautiful magical views around me, and at the fresh water that I don’t think I can swim in something similar in Syria anymore, then I looked up toward the cliff edge…
-Nahhh! Forget about’em, I told my self, they are a group and they can handle it..
I never felt more selfish that that day..
A half hour later I heard the rest of the group calling someone to help as I did an hour before.. the locals helped my fellows to climb down and they joined the party!!
Enjoy the photos.