It was a long wait at the Syrian border by Kilis/Azaz, as the guys hung around to see whether they would get issued a visa or not.
As it turns out, you CAN get a visa issued on the border if you’re prepared to wait for 3 hours, have dollars to pay with and don’t mind being asked for an extra 5 dollars by the border guard for his troubles. It probably helps to keep repeating that you were told its ok by the Syrian Consulate in Istanbul, and also perhaps not to come on a Friday, when everything in Damascus (where they had to phone through for good measure apparently) is shut…
Glad we sorted ours out before we got here, but definitely not impossible to get in.
With everyone having their right documentation, we set off into Syria- all seven of us British Cyclists. It almost felt like an invasion, dare I say… Crusade?
Its hard to imagine, but so far Syrians have been even MORE friendly and welcoming. Constant shouts of hello, waving, handshakes, friendly bantar. Even when in the dark, we desperately looked for a campsite in an olive grove (not easy to find space when there’re so many of you), someone came over, made us tea, and again made us feel very welcome.
We’d heard some really negative things about Syria from our Turkish chats, but so far things have been great.
The only drawback is the lack of mobile data networks- it feels like I’m back in the stone age(!)