Day 040 Syria: Lake Jabool - Ar Rusafah

Day 040 Syria

Trip Distance 430 km (267 m) Total Distance 6840 km (4251 m)
Diesel Costs S£20    
Entrance Fees S£150 Jabar    
Stopover
Ar Rusafah
Wild camping N35.62776 E38.76231  

We set off from the lake at around 7am and headed for Jabar as we had heard that it was really great.  On the way we stopped in at Al Raqqah to have a bite to eat, find a bank for a bit of cash and stock up on groceries.  ATMs are dotted around Syria mostly in the main towns and cities.  It's worth noting that they don't accept any VISA or Maestro cards and cash is exchanged in a bank on producing your passport.  The area to the right of the main town roundabout has loads of shops selling food and its fabulous - all freshly prepared and really cheap.  The bank is found if you go around the roundabout and back on a road parallel to the one into town about 200m passed the roundabout.  There's a great shop on the way to Jabar that sells fresh milk, cheese and other groceries.

SO we set off (again).  We were still managing to hold our nerve but the experience at Lake Jabool had thrown us and all we wanted to do was head for the border and get out of Syria.  As we had told the MPs our route, we stuck to it mostly but went through really quickly.

We arrived at Jabar.  The site is quite beautiful in terms of the views of the Euphrates a_SG101855 but the castle was a disappointment.  Extensive renovations have been done and not very sympathetically either.  The "ruins" are mostly covered and propped up by brick a_SG101851 and there is an extraordinary amount of litter lying around including discarded disposable nappies, fag packets and toilet paper.  There is an official place to camp on the approach to the castle but wild camping can be done just beneath the castle walls with the Euphrates all around - a really stunning place but beware the midgies though - there are millions of the little buggers around.

We moved on and decided to head for Palmyra as everyone has said not to miss it.  We headed off following the map to Ar Rusafah where the road splits and is shown as heading directly for Palmyra.  No such road exists and just heads straight into the desert on in easterly direction.  So we back-tracked to Ar Rusafah and thank god we did.  What a beautiful site.  We found a deserted cafe behind the ruins and parked up ready to wild camp.  A young man about 15 years old speaking extremely good English appeared and said that we were welcome to camp and for no cost - he wouldn't take any money.  So he opened up the shop, made us some coffee, found us some firewood and we managed to give him some money via that route!  The cafe toilets were available to use but there was no running water and the smell was atrocious so we avoided them.  But we had access to loads of water so with the sun setting over Ar Rusafah a_SG101857 , we set up camp, had a welcoming shower, had a relaxing cup of coffee and went to bed.