Today, we crossed the border from Syria to Turkey via taxi (three of them for our group). One thing that wasn’t written in the Intrepid trip notes was that the taxi driver will purchase packs of cigarettes and whiskey (two per person) at the Duty free and if he is caught smugglings…you say they are yours. Otherwise, there is hours of paperwork involved. Luckily, our driver wasn’t caught
Of course, the fact he slipped a bribe to the Syrian official as we went through probably didn’t hurt.
After the crossing, the drive to Antioch (Antakya) resembled an episode of The Amazing Race as each driver drove as fast as possible to get us to our destination. Scary but entertaining and the scenery was amazing. We’ve gone from desert to rocky, green hills and fields. We also passed (still at breakneck speed) a family of SIX on a motorbike. Yep…six. I’ve seen four and even five once or twice. But six was a new record.
We arrived n Antakya and wow, what a different a border can make culturally. I’ve only spotted a few habibs and not one burka. The streets are spotless and while some of the housing is poor, it’s colorful and in decent condition.
Once we arrived, we head to see the oldest church, St. Peters. (Founded by Peter—that dude from the Bible). It’s in a cave with some mosaics left, and was a secret church that the worshipped got to by crawling through a cave. After seeing the church, we hiked up the hills and crawled through a few caves as well, getting quite filthy in the process.
Call me crazy, but it doesn’t feel like a full day unless I ended up a little dirty.