Had no hotel reservation so bravely took taxi to Al Rabie Hotel, Lonely Planet’s “best pick.” Not mine!! Only bed left was in large rooftop dorm. That was fine, but cleanliness level and unhelpful staff and paltry breakfast did not make the grade.
Finally found an open (it was Muslim Sabbath so went to Christian Quarter) Internet Cafe and could locate the Damascus Hostel, with which I had made prior arrangements. It was on Oasis. (I’ll attach photo of the great breakfast selection & the alternative way to exit down a pole).
People were just as nice in Damascus (and later, all of Syria) as advertised, and my being a woman traveling alone was a NON-ISSUE. Yes, I dressed conservatively and wore a wedding band & told anyone who asked that I was married. End of problem – for me. Remember, I’m disguised as an old lady.
Damascus is a fabulous tourist destination. Can be cheap or expensive, and both have decent quality attached. I paid about $30/night and the Damascus Hostel was incredibly helpful in all ways. That made it so easy, as was meeting people there from all over – China, Poland, Germany, England, etc.
The food was tasty but too rich and after 24 hours of extreme discomfort, I adjusted my eating habits to include their delicious yogurt and no more hummus and other olive-oily goodies. What was left? Got hooked on fatoush, a simple green salad with some fried (oops – I left a lot of it over) bread in it.
Historic: yes. It’s really old. And thankfully, no more of the awful hassles from shopkeepers I had in Turkey – everyone was so nice, and helpful, and continued to treat my being American as if I were royalty.
Great place to totally dispel all stereotypes. This is a fabulous vacation destination.