Unfortunately on the way back we were not upgraded but the flight was not full and arrived 50 minutes early. Getting home from the airport was very easy and only took two hours, slightly quicker than driving.
Very few tourists go to Syria – one site we went to kept a tally sheet of visitor nationality – 3% were British and even less were American. Being a tourist in Syria is like being a tourist was some 30 years ago in many parts of the world. There is little tourism industry and you do not feel taken advantage of (well not too much). Jordan has a much more developed tourist industry and in many areas, one is clearly the source of income for everyone in the area. Syria is full of archaeological remains with a fairly flat semi arid landscape, Jordan is mountainous in many areas and very dramatic. The thing we shall remember most about Jordan is “Moses stood here, camped there, walked in that direction, Abraham came this way……” To be where some of the events in the Bible actually took place is quite an experience.
One might think (taking into account our historical and current roles) that there would be some animosity towards tourists from Britain. However we felt very safe in both of these two countries, we were made most welcome by everyone we met and the number of people who thanked us for visiting their country were too many to count.
We have also learnt that there is a tremendous amount of religious tolerance in these two Islamic countries, this was totally contrary to what we had expected. We also noted that both countries are feeling refugee strain from the conflicts in the Middle East
It was an exhausting holiday being very hot most days but it was well worth it. Our two guides (Adnan in Syria and Yousef in Jordan) were fonts of knowledge and very patient.
Diving in the Southern Red Sea next!