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More journeys into the past
Written by Rebecca Torr   
Thursday, 05 June 2008 13:36

We bid farewell to Palmyra today and headed for Tartous. On our way we stopped for lunch at Noria Restaurant in Hama. This is a beautiful pit stop since it overlooks a 14th century waterwheel which is still in operation to this day. 

It was originally built to provide water for the village but nowadays it is used to irrigate the land. The restaurant has superb food and I was particularly excited that they had Fata, a dish I am told is a must if you are visiting this area. 

Fata is a dish of rice, lamb and bread all mixed together and baked in a yoghurt and tahini sauce. It is very rich, but delicious! 

After lunch we headed to Homs to visit Le Krak des Chevaliers (The castle of the knights). The castle has five towers and 13 defence towers. 

It was first used by Prince Homs in 1031 AD and later by the crusaders in 1099. In 1145 the castle was given to the Knights of Hospitaliers. They built a church and stores to house wine, oil and seeds. In 1272 it became a mosque and now it is a popular tourist site.

Later in the evening we arrived in Tartous and headed for Shahin Tower Hotel, where we would stay for the night. Out of my hotel room I had a lovely view of the sea which was located just a few hundred metres away. After dinner Taha, Ammar, Haider, Amjad and I went for a stroll along the sea front to take in the atmosphere and breathe in the fresh night air. We decided to take a rest for a while at a coffee shop selling chai and sheesha and sat until late exchanging stories and making new friends. It was wonderful!