Around the Middle East
in 80 days

February 25th to May 14th, 2004

Table of Contents

This interactive map shows where I've been - each dot is a place I visited. Move over a dot to see its name, and click it to jump straight to that part of the report. The map also shows when I went where - click on More to read an explanation of that.
:: More... ::

The lines ending in an arrow represent me moving from one place to another, and the number next to the arrow is the day (from 1 to 80) on which I did this. I usually traveled in the evening and visited the place I traveled to the day after. The lines without an arrow represent day-trips (to a place and back on the same day). My second visit to Turkey is in a different colour than the rest. The dotted lines are my flights.

Here's a little overview to get you oriented. On day 1 I flew to Antalya on the Turkish south coast. I took a night bus to Pergamon on the west coast, and then traveled all along the Turkish coast in 6 days. On day 7 I moved into Syria, to Aleppo. On day 16 I went from Damascus to Baalbek in Lebanon. The next day I went to Beirut from where I did several day-trips before going back to Damascus on day 22. On day 25 I went to Amman in Jordan and the next day pushed straight on to Tiberias in the north of Israel. Via Safed, Akko, Haifa and Tel Aviv I got to Jerusalem on day 31. I stayed there for a week, making several day-trips before going back to Jordan on day 38.

I moved south through Jordan, arriving in Petra on day 40 and Aqaba at the Red Sea on day 43. Then I made a loop back up to the Dana nature reserve on day 44 and back down to Aqaba on day 47, pushing straight on to Dahab in Egypt that same day. On day 50 I went to Alexandria where I spent almost two weeks before going to Cairo on day 63. On day 69 I flew to Istanbul. The lines representing my final stretch through Turkey are in a different colour than the first part. I went to Ankara, Cappadocia and Konya before arriving in Antalya on day 77. After two day-trips from there I flew back to Belgium on day 80. Clear? :)


Part 1 - Turkey (days 1-6). Preparations, Departure, Pergamon, Ephesus, Bodrum, Fethiye, Kayaköy, Aspendos, Antioch.


Part 2 - Northern Syria (days 7-13). Aleppo, the Dead Cities, St. Simeon's, Hama, Apamea, Krak des Chevaliers, Palmyra.


Part 3 - Southern Syria (days 14-16). Damascus, Quneitra.


Part 4 - Lebanon (days 17-22). Baalbek, Beirut, Southern Lebanon, Byblos, Tripoli, Jounieh, about Lebanon.


Part 5 - Southern Syria again (days 23-25). Maalula, Bosra, about Syria.


Part 6 - Jordan: Amman (day 26). Amman, To Israel.


Part 7 - Israel: north and west (days 27-31). Tiberias, Sea of Galilee, Safed, Akko, Haifa, Tel Aviv


Part 8 - Israel: Jerusalem and Masada (days 32-37). Jerusalem, Masada, the Dead Sea, about Israel


Part 9 - Palestine: the West Bank (days 32-37). Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Abu Dis, about Palestine


Part 10 - Jordan (days 38-42). Jerash, Kerak, Petra, Mount Aaron (Jebel Haroun)


Part 11 - Jordan bis (days 43-46). Aqaba, Wadi Rum, Dana nature reserve, about Jordan


Part 12 - Egypt (days 47-68). Dahab, Mount Sinai, Alexandria, Cairo, Dahshur, Gizeh


Part 13 - Turkey again (days 69-80). Istanbul, Ankara, Cappadocia, Konya, Antalya, Perge, Termessos


Godsmurf Tue 24 Feb 2009 @ 11:55
About equally funny I'd say. And I have no problem with anyone calling my clothes funny. Still, it's hard to beat men who wear women's shoes and put plastic bags over their big black hats when it rains. But there can never be too much funny-ness in the world so bless 'em.

Marvin Tue 17 Feb 2009 @ 15:02
You keep mentioning the "funny" clothes that religious Jews wear throughout your writings of the Israeli portion of your trip. Are they as funny as the strange copies of middle eastern attire that Catholic priests; nuns; and the Pope wear?
You look strange as well wearing funny European clothes.

My suggestion look in a mirror before you comment on others.

Flylice Tue 10 Jul 2007 @ 09:17
Alright, thanks for helping me waste 3 hrs at work...but anyway great travelog! I'm going to Syria & Jordan in august, but only have 3 weeks :(

Silvia Thu 29 Jun 2006 @ 04:13
I just love your website. It's excellent. Didn't read everything, but great pics.

Godsmurf Mon 10 Apr 2006 @ 13:41
I wouldn't recommend it, based on what a German girl who lived in Damascus told me (cfr the last paragraph of part 5), but on the LP forums I often see female solo-travelers who say they had no problems.

Ira Sun 09 Apr 2006 @ 20:58
Nice pics...very interesting.
Is it safe for a single woman to travel to Syria? Do we have to wear head scarf too?

Zoltan Fri 07 Apr 2006 @ 17:15
Hi Godsmurf!

Excellent site;I spent hours to read Your comments and check out the photos.
Good Job!

zeituni Sun 02 Apr 2006 @ 12:29
Hi again!

According to my sister(who until recently lived in East Jerusalem), there are quite a few Christians living in the old quarter and other parts of Jerusalem. However, they might not use the churches most commonly visited by tourists. When I was there there was also a grand celebration taking place at the convent of St Mary Magdalene and the neighbouring Greek Orthodox convent. There were hardly anyone but Palestinians there, admitedly, some of them were from areas like Bethlehem or Beit'Jallah.

I know I'm not bringing firm statistics to back up this, but that was her notion and my impression as well.

Anyway, just a comment!

Still a very great travelogue! And on point on the Israeli border personnel!

Godsmurf Thu 30 Mar 2006 @ 22:05
Thank you! If you have any questions feel free to ask, my mail is linked at the bottom of each page.

Vedica Thu 30 Mar 2006 @ 09:17
i love your travelogue!! is amazingly interesting!
Am planning a trip to middle east myself (around July - yes i know itll be hot) and your site has been an EXCELLENT guide and resource! thanks for sharing!

cathleen Tue 28 Mar 2006 @ 08:36
great writeing and photos you really have a talent at breaking things down e.i. the formation of the isreali state etc. very objective

Godsmurf Sat 25 Mar 2006 @ 23:04
Thanx for the compliments, glad to have readers :)

Well I'm not sure (I said they're *probably* not christians) but firstly I don't think I ever saw a Palestinian in any of Jerusalem's churches, and secondly I sensed humour instead of devotion in the way they were selling christian souvenirs. But I could be wrong of course. Am I?

zeituni Sat 25 Mar 2006 @ 08:25
Fantastic travelogue! Are you writing a book?

One question however; why do you assume the Palestinians in the Christian quarter are not actually Christians?

hasof_TT Sat 25 Mar 2006 @ 00:11
Great trip report. Was going to just scan, but got intrigued and am reading it word for word. Thanks for sharing!


Site: (optional)

Email: (optional, not shown on site)