MarHaba from Aleppo
MarHaba from Aleppo,
Yesterday we traveled from Damascus to Aleppo by bus to organize our travel out of Syria. Aleppo has been a particularly easy and welcoming place for us and we decided to return here after our unfortunate day in Quarytein. We prefer to travel through Kilis and on to Gaziantep but are having some trouble finding a bus agency that takes that route into Turkey. Today is Orthodox Easter and offices including the tourist office are closed.
Our travels in Syria have been interesting. People are friendly and helpful. Family is very important and we have had very good interactions with the use of a few phrases asking about wives, children and home. Although most people do not speak English there is usually someone who can within the village or town. Everywhere we traveled we wished we had time to visit the local sites but we have concentrated on our Iris work bypassing ruins, mosques, souqs and churches. It has been a successful trip as we found nine of the ten Iris we hoped to and one, I. aucheri, that was not anticipated. Our success is owed to Thomas who had visited the locations of seven of these Iris previously and was able to lead us to them. This was especially important because several of the species were not flowering and we had to search the locations carefully to find them. He also knew how to negotiate the bus routes and find ATM’s. I think it has also been a fruitful trip for Thomas as we found one species, I. basaltica that had eluded him on previous visits and saw I. kirkwoodii subsp. kirkwoodii which he had not looked for previously.