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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

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.


Caravanserai
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

Comments

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