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So hard to say goodbye

It was our last day in Syria and you could feel everyone’s disappointment to be leaving. We packed our bags and headed to our last destination – Aleppo. This city is not to be missed; it is full of character and charm and is steeped in history.

On arrival we checked into Planet Hotel, located in the heart of the suq, and headed to Citadel of Aleppo. This grand castle was built between 12 and 16AD on a 50 metre high hill. It contains everything a city needs including a mosque, dungeons, amphitheatre, baths, water cisterns, store houses, a school and so on.

Our guide Amjad explained that the castle could take up to 2,000 horses at one time and could accommodate about 1,500 people. Aside from the castle and its history the location itself is impressive and from the top you can take in a panoramic view of the city. This is by far the most impressive castle we had visited in Syria. I was impressed how well the castle had been restored and how beautiful it was.

After visiting the castle we roamed about in a nearby suq and haggled for Syrian silk scarves and sweets. We returned to our hotel for dinner and to pack. I was extremely sad, the trip had gone so fast – time had really flown this week. To cheer me up Amjad, Ammar, Taha and Haider gave me a magnificent send off by taking me for a hot chocolate at a café opposite Citadel Aleppo. It was a beautiful cool night and the scene before us was magnificent. As we joked and sipped on our hot drinks it was time to leave for my flight.

We returned to the hotel, picked up my things and the whole team walked me to the car to bid farewell. Amjad and Haider drove me to the airport. I fell silent as I walked towards immigration and waved goodbye to my friends and a country I had fallen in love with. Thank you team and thank you Syria, it was an experience I will never forget.

Hope to see you soon!

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