Skip to main content


Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

Bringing the Dead Cities to Life

UPDATE: This post was penned in the Spring of 2011 following our visit to Syria in March. We had no idea the direction the conflict would take. When we planned our trip Syria had been undergoing an opening up to tourism. Yes, there were protests while we were there but it seemed like the beginning of an Arab Spring. We naively hoped it might be a positive transformation rather than a descent into chaos. I'm horrified to think of what may have happened to the beautiful, friendly and welcoming souls we met in Syria.

I've posted quite a lot about our recent trip through Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, covering some of the well known destinations like Baalbeck, Palmyra, Petra and the Dead Sea. But a trip like this  is also about the smaller, less know sites and the people you meet there. 
Entering Serajilla

The light was so lovely in the late afternoon
Outside of Aleppo are hundreds of what are described as Dead Cities, Byzantine towns that were abandoned for unknown reasons. There are almost as many explanatory theories as there are Dead Cities; they may have been abandoned because of drought, changing trade or pilgrimage routes, earthquake or disease, ultimately their rapid decline remains unknown. We visited Serajilla which was very atmospheric and many of the buildings were intact enough to convey a sense of the past lives lived here.

If you visit on the weekend, Friday or Saturday, the Dead Cities are brought back to life by local families out for picnics. Children run about, young girls  dance to the sounds of a small boom box and we could smell meat  grilling. We loved meeting Abu Omar (a retired English teacher) and his family, above, who invited us to join them for their family day out.

The ruins seem to go on and on
Posing for the camera, I'm sending on the picture

Some of the buildings looks as if they were abandoned recently


Tourist cup said…

It's nice to see your blog, and I'd like to invite you to visit my blog Tourist Cup
I wish you find something is interesting there :)

You are more than Welcome,
Thanks for visiting, I'm going to check out your site!