Saraqib to (almost) Hama
Distance: 74.4 km
Time elapsed: 3:35:00
Average speed: 22.1 km/ hr
Max speed: 52.9 km/ hr
Temp: 28 C
Weather: cool with a crossbreeze
One last tour through Saraqib, this time to see the big Sunday market, then we bid goodbyes to our new friends and hit the road. I am still amazed at how wonderfully the highway is paved-- smooth asphalt with a wide shoulder. Much of the highway is lined with pine trees, hiding the barren landscape beyond, and often there is an equally nice parallel road without traffic that we found more peaceful to bike on.
Luckily, Syria's terrain is slanted downward, probably jutting under Jordan's mountains-- so for now we can enjoy a mildly level road with abundant coasting. We stayed along the central southern route, heading toward Hama, which is known for it's old waterwheels. At nightfall (4:30) we were still 20 km shy of town, so we grabbed dinner from a ma'taam (restaurant) and then found a nearby olive grove to camp in. Some guys walking by stopped to chat with us, inviting us for tea at their house in the morning.