Sandals & Narghile
Leaving our hotel in Kassab to head down to the sea near Samra, our parting words from the guys at the hotel were No Turkey.
The 8km walk which leads down from the hills is beautiful: it is lined by the forested spurs of the mountains which divide Syria & Turkey. Up on the crest of one of the mountains we caught site of the army outpost where we were first taken two days ago. A praying mantis crossed the road.
We’d vowed not to go anywhere near the Turkish border, but arriving down at the rocky coastline, the white star & crescent fluttered on the red Turkish flag, separating us from the only visible beach. Not only had the Syrian’s ceded the nicest looking mountain in the region, but they’d given the Turkish a beautiful beach.
Against our better instincts, we crossed over the rocks, lay down our clothes on the beach & went for a swim in the warm, turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. We weren’t tardy in getting back into Syria following our swim.
Crossing the rocks back into Turkey, we met a few guys who had offered us a ride on the way down; three Syrians & an American all living in Aleppo. They mentioned a little hiking trail which led down to another bay, and so we joined them. The Syrians were armed with their sandals & a narghile, Tyler telling us that this is all they had packed for the weekend. With us came four students from Damascus university who they’d also met.
The rocky track we took strafes along the mountain-side and then down to an isolated bay where not a soul was in sight. Tony & I were quick to explore the cliffs and were soon bouldering on the rocks, followed by a little diving from the outcrops. Back on the beach, some of the others had built a fire to provide some charcoal for the narghile which greeted us when got back from swimming. This is one of the best days yet.
And all this without a Turkish border in sight.