My name is Gill and I have booked this trip for the departure of 25th September. I will be travelling alone, and this is my first time that I am doing a trip like this. I must admit I am rather nervous, and would like to hopefully speak to anyone else that may be on this trip beforehand. It would be nice to hear from people and get to know the group prior to the trip.
It would be good to chat to other members of the group before we go. My husband David and I (Judy) are booked for this trip. It is our first time too, travelling in a group, as we have always been independent travellers before this. I'm excited and nervous too.
We chose the 25th September because we are hoping it will be a bit cooler then, also it looked as if Ramadan would be over and shops etc would be back to normal opening. It does seem a long way off though, can't wait.....
My name is Anne and I will be on this trip with my husband John. This is our first trip with Exodus and with a group. We are really looking forward to this trip of a life time, guide books are already attracting dust! We will be travelling down from Cambridgeshire and look forward to meeting everyone either at Heathrow or Damascus.
B Cooper I am not going on this Tour but did the Middle east Encompassed Tour some four years ago and it was brilliant. The ruins at Palmyra are spectacular and you will find that Syria is an extremely interesting country although you may have people joining your Group unexpectedly!
Petra is also spectacular but climb up to the Monastery and opposite it there is a tent serving tea. Stop there at Lunch Time enjoy your sandwiches and a cup of Bedouin tea in outstanding surroundings.
The Middle East Encompassed Tour also visited Lebanon and the ruins of Baalbek and it is a pity that the tour has been dropped, probably because of the political insecurity.
Enjoy yourselves you are going to have a superb trip.
Do not worry about travelling alone, single travellers will probably be in the majority. I have done fourteen trips with Exodus and except for two have always travelled alone.
Hello Judy, David, Anne & John. Its nice to get some feedback at long last! (I thought no body wanted to speak to me!) Yes the trip does seem a long way off yet, however 6 months will fly by and before we know it, the time has arrived and then Christmas is around the corner! I will be flying from Manchester to London Heathrow in the morning, where I will join the group flight to Damascus. (I do not trust trains to get me places on time) So I will probably be looking like a very very bored person at Heathrow as my flight will arrive there at 11am leaving me 4/5 hours of waiting around! Does anybody know if the area we are visiting has mosquitoes? (do the guide books tell you?) The trip notes have no mention of them ..... Judy, I chose the 25th Sept for the same reasons you did, and also I hate being "too hot" so it should be just right at that time! Anne, I havent bought any guide books at all for this trip, are they necessary? I have done my research, and done a lot of reading, watching documentaries so I have a very good insight to what is in the areas and their histroy. I also research and study History in my spare time, which is one of the reasons I booked this trip - Krak De Chevaliers. That will be my highlight! I've read so much on the crusades, and find the whole era fascinating! I'm a very passionate person when it comes to culture and history, and this trip has it all for me! Barry Cooper - thank you for posting your experience on here, if you have any tips / advice for us on this trip, please feel free to share it! :)
look forward to hearing from you.
Glad to meet you Marsha. Thanks Barry for the update, it all sounds very exciting. I happened upon a webpage that was from a Norwegian company looking for people to run through Petra for a marathon on 17th September. I'm pleased we'll miss it and the crowds. It is my birthday on the 17th so we nearly went for the earlier trip!
Krak des Chevaliers does sound very interesting. We watched a BBC programme - Great Railway Journey in which Alexei Sayle went from Damascus to the Jordanian border by train, and although he mentioned the castle, the programme did not show it in detail so we weren't even sure if he was filmed there.
I'm Jane and I'm on this trip with my husband Myles. I've been to these countries before and they are fabulous so we will have a great time - Myles has wanted to visit them for ages because I enjoyed it so much. We have travelled with Exodus before and they are a great company. Don't worry about travelling on your own - I did that for years before I met Myles and these trips are perfect for providing instant travel companions. But beware - you could become a travel addict...!!! The walks in Petra to the High Place and the Monastery are real highlights so make sure you bring some sturdy trainers for those. I'm so looking forward to going back - it has been about 12 years since I last went there. We live near London so we'll be going straight to Heathrow.
As far as i'm aware, women need to take clothes that cover your arms to cover your elbows and to not slow off your knees. Practically it would be best to take three quarter length shirts and three quarter length trousers (or long skirts) to ensure these areas are covered up. As for sandals, i'm not entirely sure, but it is recommended that you wear good walking shoes. I'll be taking some walking boots to wear for most of the time and walking sandals for when we go to the dead sea as I wouldnt want to get my walking boots wet and uncomfortable to wear. I think walking boots / shoes / trainers are the essential as you'll more then likely be needing these more then sandals, and make sure they are comfortable for you. Its recommended that you travel in your walking boots incase your luggage magically disappears from the plane (fingers crossed for everyone that this does not happen!), as everything is easy to replace apart from comfortable walking shoes that you've worn in. Hope this helps!
Have enquired at the travel clinic in Cambridge about malaria risk on this trip and have been advised that there is a small risk in the Aleppo region. They advise chloroquine tablets which I believe you can buy over the counter . You start taking them one week before trip, during and for 4 weeks afterwards.
Just 9 weeks to go, so exciting! What sort of luggage have you got? I read that as we are travelling in 4x4s we will need soft bags/cases. I need to purchase something as I only have suitcases on wheels. I also need to get a day bag and have seen small rucksacks in Millets which might be OK. Any suggestions on what to get would be terrific.
I have had a hectic couple of months but it is easing off now and I've got a couple of books on Jordan/Syria so I'm looking forward to catching up on the reading.
I've just booked on this trip - my first with Exodus but very excited. Think I'd better start walking up stairs if I want to do the High Sacrifices climb... look forward to meeting everybody at Heathrow
In regards to baggage i'm taking a 65L rucksack along with my day sack. The rucksack I've bought it nothing special, i got it from Tesco for £25, and its got plenty of room for everything that i need. You might be asking why did I pick a rucksack? Well I asked Exodus Customer Services what they recommended, and their response was:
"It doesn't make a huge difference. I personally prefer a rucksack, but a bag with wheels would be fine as well. You won't be carrying it around, just from the hotel to the bus and back again."
Hope this helps!
Look forward to seeing you soon. Couple of questions:
Is anyone bringing a sleeping bag for the one night in Wadi Rum? I have a fleece sleeping bag liner and I'm wondering if that's enough.
Anyone bringing binoculars?
Anyone taking malaria medication? It seems a bit drastic to take 4 weeks of malaria pills because there may be mosquitoes around Aleppo.
I'm taking a season 2/3 sleeping bag, and a fleece. Apparently they can provide blankets but the sleeping bag is for your comfort, so I guess its optional.
I have binoculars that I might take, they arent anything special, just some small ones, but your welcome to use them, if you don't want to take your own.
I have malaria medication too, I'm of the same mind as you are, but I guess prevention is better then having to be cured, especially if it is a life threatening disease. The ones i'm taking only needs 2 tablets a week, so it isn't too much trouble to take them.
Hope this helps
Anyone else REALLY excited yet???
We are also taking sleeping bags, just because if we get the chance to sleep outside at W Rum the sky is fantastic - no ambient light at night. Yes, we are taking binos and malaria tabs as well (assuming the Doctor says they are necessary at this time of year for Aleppo).
Greetings everyone! Just got my confirmation papers in the post today so I only learned of this forum today....shoulda spent more time nosing around the Exodus Website.
I'm RJ from Vancouver, Canada, and I've been booked since January for this trip. So excited! Anything over 100 years old has Heritage status in Canada, so I'm really looking forward to the sights on this trip. I arrive before all of you, I think, due to schedules. I'll be that snoring llumpen thing for the first day. Or two.
I have a soft sided suitcase, a 2/3 season sleeping bag, field glasses, and no malaria pills. The travel immunization clinic here said I didn't need anything.
Have travelled a little bit, did Turkey on my own a few years back so I'm anxious to get further into the Middle East. I've taken one tour before - through Cambodia - and it was brilliant.
Look so forward to meeting you all!
Hi, Looking forward to meeting everyone next Saturday-really excited now! Have aquired 2/3 season sleeping bags, soft wheelie luggage but our binoculars are too heavy so the boots win!! Has anyone managed to get hold of any Syrian currency? Looks like plenty of sunscreen will be needed judging by current temps out there.
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