antioquia

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From Tarsus to Syria is a long way down the hill. Sometimes you see the Mediterranean Sea shining blue on your right and on the left high mountains covered by a linen of mixed clouds and sunlight. The Turkish sceneries are always surprising me. This country is so big and diverse. And the land is so ancient. The early ages of civilization are based around here. It is impossible keeping your mind out that fact when you enter Antioquia, one of the three biggest cities of the Roman Empire. The Turcs called it Antakia. Here was born and buried St Simeon, the Stilit, the crazy guy who wanted to be a contemplative prayer and lived 37 years on the top of a 18 meters column. But here is also what it is supposed to be the first Christian church: St Pierre. It was just a cave which received its name from the apostle Pierre, who came here in the 30 AC. The Crusaders built a wall to cover it and converted it into a real church. Now it is a important Pilgrimage spot.

No one was there but a guy came from Holland, Marc. He is a religious guy (protestant) and going to Jerusalem to visit the Holy Places. Again I could not believe my luck. I have never been interested in Religion so I do not anything about the Holy Places I should visit in Israel, I was going to be lost there. But now I have an expert teacher who is going to give me the keys of the doors I need to open. Again just by chance? Of course, I am in the right place to meet pilgrims but anyway, better to think there is a probably destiny for you, but the job is not done by itself. You must keep moving and deciding to catch it. I gonna pick Marc to Syria and later we will split. A solo trip has to be done alone, otherwise it is just funny tourism and not a real experience. He needs to live it. Marc is 23 and this is his first solo trip,

When we were leaving, Marc told me he was a little bit aware about thieves and dangers abroad. I said the most danger place I know is Europe. When you are travelling alone around the Globe, your weakness is your strength because people know you are not an enemy and you are weak, then is really easy getting help from them. Of course you must keep your eyes wide open, but if you do not trust you miss. Then a young local guy approached to us and proposed to visit an old castle I have never heard of. We agreed and started a climb up the hill and no one was in sight. Maybe if I had not been with Marc, he would have said not just because his awareness. It would have been a pity because the castle was there. And it was fantastic. Destiny helped him also to not miss the chance. It was an old Roman fortress to keep the path to Antiokia. We had the privilege to go back the city by the same old way of Romans and we saw its lights from the narrow valley like they did 2000 years ago when travelling by foot or horseback.

Keep safe. I am well.

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