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Friday, July 07, 2006

A One Hour Itinerary [Tartous - Al-Sawda & Back]

If I had one free hour on my hand and if the weather was suitable to ride, a possible itinerary is to leave Tartous from the north and head toward Al-Sawda, 12 km to the northeast. I ride by the Free Zone and continue straight on the old Tartous-Lattakia road. 3 km out, I reach a railroad crossing and a bridge over Nahr Al-Hsein (نهر الحصين).

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I stay on the old road until I arrive at the Dweir Taha sign and start my climb to the right. I stop on the side of the road anywhere and take a look back toward Tartous and may be have a cold beer.
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Time to move on again, so I continue my ascend till I reach Dweir Taha on a picturesque scenic road. I stop at the east end of the village, dismount and enjoy the unrestricted view in all directions.
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The cement factory is an out of place monstrosity in this otherwise serene backdrop.
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Now I’m 8 km out of Tartous in the village of Al-Breij and I pass by Cantia Hotel/Restaurant. It looks like a real nice place, but I’ve honestly never been in.
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Up ahead the road forks in two, and I sway to the left and step on it on the open stretch to Al-Sawda. Nothing much goes on during the day in this village, but on evenings and special holidays it would be teeming with life.
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I have great memories of this excursion as a teenager. In the winter time, it would have been possible to virtually stop anywhere on one of the many branching trails and wait for thrush (سمن) at sunset and hunt it en passant. In other seasons, these same trails offered great concealment for two love birds in a car. Olive trees are a blessing in "disguise".


14 comments:

MadSurg said...

very nice pics...

thanks

Anonymous said...

very nice pictures indeed. i have been in this area during one excursion with the girl scouts so many years ago. the cement factory is indeed horrible. the hotel looks nice.
thanks.

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Anonymous said...

It's really interesting to see probably the only pictures from al-swada posted on the internet. I am from brazil but my granparents were syrian immigrants original from al-sawda, so I've only been curious to see how my granparents' place looks like.

rgds igor.

abufares said...

Hi Igor
The Al-Sawda area is beautiful, so are most places in the moutains around Tartous.
I didn't know there are virtually no pictures of your ancestral home. I promise to go there soon and take some new pictures and post them on my Flickr.
Thanks for dropping by.

Anonymous said...

Tks abufares. my grandfather name was tanus, surname duna. not sure the spelling in arabic. most names translated to portuguese were not correctly spelled. if u get to know anybody in the sawda, tartous region, related to my grandfather tanus duna i would be pleased to know. igor.

abufares said...

Hello again Igor
The Duna Family still lives in Al-Sawda. I went to highschool with a Duna. In Arabic it's pronounced exactly as it is read.
I've promised to post more pictures and I will. I've been there a couple of times since my last post. Unfortunately without my camera though.

foo said...

Hi AbuFares:

Wonderful Blog. I'm also an architect, from the U.S., but my paternal grandfather settled in Al-Sawda for many years. I spent most of my summers there as a child and loved it- despite the heat. His name was Ibrahim Khalil.
My mother is also from near that area, but closer to Tartous- in fact she has many brothers and sisters that settled in Tartous. They are from Hanafieh and her maiden name is Haidar.
My last visit was over a decade ago, and I stopped being able to go frequently long before that.

If you should make another excursion out there, I would also be grateful for pictures of the area. I have never been able to explore it in the way that I would have liked to as an adult.

Be well. Keep up the god work.

foo said...

hi abufares:

i got the village wrong. we are a different soudeh- the south of tartous- not the north. still you gave me a beautiful excursion. this saudeh is closer to my mothers village than my fathers.

thanks again.

abufares said...

@foo
Thank you for your comment. It's been a few years since I wrote this post but you just inspired me to go out and shoot some pictures in our beautiful countryside.
I know both Sawdeh and Sawda. I've hunted quails in your Sawdeh so many years ago and I love the open fields around it.
Glad to see you here, please come again.

Maher Alkarra said...

Thanks Abufares for the nice trip, I am from AlSawda, and I like to mention this website http://alsaodafriends.com/
which posts some current and old pictures of AlSawda, and some of holidays.
enjoy it..
Maher Alkarra

abufares said...

Hello Maher
So nice to see you here.
I haven't been in Al-Sawda for a while but look forward my next ride there.
Thank you for your comment.