About ten years ago – actually almost exactly ten years ago, my husband and I went to Damascus for the weekend. A strange thing to do, I suppose, as it is quite far away – normally we try to go to Paris for our anniversary weekend, but that year we wanted to do something different. And I am so glad we did. It was perhaps the most memorable weekend of my life.
I have written bits about it before,- we arrived at dawn on Saturday morning and left on Monday afternoon having been overwhelmed by the beauty, culture and history of the place. To have walked where St Paul walked, to have heard Aramaic as Jesus spoke it, to have watched things made as in medieval times – it was a revelation and very exciting.
So exciting in fact that it has taken me all this time to process it. I have been to other places before and since, exotic and homely – yet this was the weekend that truly opened my eyes to the possibilities of travel. Now of course we cannot travel much beyond our front doors. So we look back – and forward I hope, and unearth some photos. I look at these and wonder what has become of this one-legged blacksmith? The indignities of war started very soon after we were there. Did he survive? At first it seemed very invasive to take pictures of him at work – there were no other tourists around, just people actually buying his knives. But he gave us to understand that we were welcome to watch and record – and then turned his back and carried on working.