Hama has a nice little souk, where a mad-man is armed with a loud-hailer and the locals are keen to make friends. The city is famous for its noria — wooden water-wheels — but the river was in need of a bit more rain to make them turn during our visit. The local patisseries are nutty, creamy, cheap and damn good.
There is little of the old-town left after Hafez al-Assad (the current president’s father) ordered its bombardment seventeen years ago.
Wandering around Hama on a Friday (the weekend here), the town is a lot more calm than it was the night we arrived. The majority of shops are closed, the amount of traffic is slashed, and the muezzins seem to crank up the volume. Finding a falafel is not that easy.
Flocks of pigeons rise from the rooftops and circle in the sky before being coaxed back down, just to fly-up again a couple of minutes later. Pigeon fancying isn’t limited to Newcastle it seems.
As we were wandering around, we met Kyle, an Alaskan who has been cycling from Singapore, and who is on his way to Egypt. We also met a couple of French pensioners who are walking from chez eux in France to Jerusalem. These would not be the last pilgrims we meet.
The quote Rien de tel que d’aller au bout du monde pour rencontrer des gens qui vont encore plus loin comes to mind.