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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Places You Must Go This Spring: part 2

Here are three more fragrant, flower- filled places you should spend some time in this spring. See my previous post for three more heady destination ideas and the post before that for my criteria for selecting these aromatic spots:
3) SYRIA – in the mountains behind the seaside town of Tartus, on the way to delightful Safita (itself a village of twisting lanes and cobblestone alleys dominated by a splendid Crusader keep) and Mishtayeh (with its handsome stone buildings), you’ll find quintessentially Mediterranean scenery of olive groves and citrus orchards, woods of pine trees, ramshackle stone houses with terraces shaded with grape vines and gardens grown wild with tangles of bouganvillea, jasmine, oleander, and cactus.
4) SICILY – in spring the interior of the island is blanketed with wildflowers, especially in the wild Madonie mountains near Cefalu where you can inhale the aromatic air as you walk old shepherd’s routes. As you drive through the picturesque landscapes around Siracusa and between the hill towns of Ragusa and Noto, with their beautiful baroque architecture, you’ll see an abundance of flowers by the roadside.

5) CYPRUS – the whole countryside is stunning, covered with fields of yellow mustard flowers in spring, but you’ll see kaleidoscopic colours in the more remote, pristine Karpaz peninsula (in Northern Cyprus), home to bucolic farmland and windswept sandy beaches, and the beautiful Arkamas peninsula (in the Republic of Cyprus) with its pine-covered hills and rocky coastline.


Sean McLachlan said...

Syria is a wonderful country. The people are very kind, there's tons of history, varied landscape, and it's small enough that the month I stayed there gave me a good idea of the country as a whole. I plan to go back. My favorite spot was Krak des Chevaliers, 65 km from Homs and close to the border with Lebanon. Its one of the largest and best preserved of the Crusader castles, near a lush valley that reminded me of France.

The Republic of Cyprus was fun too. The beaches are overrated, rocky and crowded (many people say they're better in the north) but the interior's rugged mountains made for great hiking. I spent a summer excavating at Idalion, and ancient site right next to the Green Line. We had Turkish soldiers staring at us from the hills to the north, and Cypriot soldiers staring at us from the hills to the south. Luckily they seemed to like archaeologists!

laradunston said...

Hi Sean, thanks for your feedback. Yes, Syria is one of my favorite countries also. There are some wonderful castles there, some that are more off-the-beaten track than Krak, that very few travellers get to - only archaeologists and travel writers!

Good to hear your Cyprus story too.

Did you see my posts last week on how to get the most out of archaeological sites? It would be great to get your comments and any other ideas you might have.