|Apamea's collonade seems to stretch forever. Note the throngs of tourists.|
I took the bus to Hama (حماة), several hours north of Damascus, on Friday morning, and immediately switched to a service (minibus) to continue northward to my first destination—the ancient Roman city of Apamea (أفاميا), in the al-Ghab plain. After switching to a farmer's pickup truck at Suqeilibiyya, I was dropped off in the town below the hilltop castle of Qala'at al Mudiq (now just a ruin inhabited by a few families). However, I made the rounds of the town's mosaic museum, which houses many tile mosaics recovered from the ruins.
But I only lingered in the museum long enough to cool down—the real sight was waiting. Early afternoon, with the sun solidly overhead, I started trudging up the road from the town. After passing a few structures that clearly dated from an ancient era, I reached the top of a rise. Before