Editor’s Note: Long before I had this blog, I used to be a prolific postcard writer, cranking out 30+ postcards to friends and family during trips. This is the 2nd installment of my nostalgia series for the blog, called Analog Postcards from the Aughts. This is a postcard I sent to my my dogs from my trip to Syria in December, 2009. It was not unusual for me to send a postcard to my dogs, since I wrote so many to other people, I thought it was nice to have a record of my own impressions of the trip. We stayed most of the time at the charming and incredibly hard to find Old Vine Hotel, but rang in 2010 at the Four Seasons Hotel Damascus– Jen
Dear Lola & Scarlet-
We took the road to Damascus from Beirut, Lebanon to Syria. We were expecting a scenic drive with scenery out of Lawrence of Arabia. Instead we got the “Highway to Hell” complete with two near crashes, car sickness, crazy drivers and baksheesh. Next time we’re flying.
Jen & Jeff
Note: I wasn’t kidding about the Highway to Hell. We had a professional driver who screamed when an oncoming truck narrowly missed us. Admittedly, I screamed too. But you’d think the professional driver would have held it together more.
No Visa in my passport has raised more red flags or caused me more grief than the one from Syria. Damascus was absolutely fascinating and I feel very lucky to have gotten to visit this fascinating and ancient city before things got heated during the Arab Spring and Syrian Uprising of 2011. But I’m often asked why I traveled to Syria.
Below are some pictures I took during my trip to Damascus.
Damascus Spice Market. While I didn’t buy any spices, I did purchase rose oil, which is thought to be the finest in the world.
Left: Full Moon over Damascus Right: Street Art in Damascus
Street Shopping for Ladies wear in Damascus
Mosque directions in Damascus
Above: This is the postcard I sent to my late Nanny from Havana circa 2003
Editors Note: Before I started this blog I used to be a prolific postcard writer. During my travels I’d send over 30 postcards to my friends, family, my friend’s kids. Many of the people who received these postcards have kept them.
My dear friend, Gabrielle, who dresses me for my travels from her amazing store Bleu Clothing, has been very supportive of this blog since I first had the idea to create it. Recently, when I was complaining about the petty business of running a travel blog (google analytics, traffic and such), Gabrielle pulled out her collection of my old school analog postcards. She suggested that I re-read and revisit the postcards I had written to remind myself of why I traveled in the first place and what it meant to me before I was focused on creating content for this blog. I thought it was a good idea, especially since my original intent with this blog was to create a modern day book of digital postcards, using my own photos, as a way to both document my travels and digitize my photo archives.
This is the first installment of a new series for the blog, called Analog Postcards from the Aughts. This is a postcard I sent to my late Nanny in 2003. I wrote it on my first trip to Cuba. Nanny lived in Sun City Center, Florida and kept all the postcards I sent her over the years. Her collection was returned to me after she passed away. – Jen
Hola from Havana. Cuba may only be 90 miles away from Florida but this place is a whole different world. I went on a very interesting tour of a cigar factory today which gave me a whole new appreciation for stogies. Cuba is also the birthplace of some of the world’s finest cocktails: the daiquiri, the mojito, and of course the Cuba Libre were all mixed first in Havana bars. It’s a good thing the drinks are tasty since the food is pretty poor. The best way to explore the city is Hemingway style- drinking your way across town. Adios, Jen
The colorful cars in Old Habana were fun to photograph. This image was shot on film on my lomo and cross-processed.
Left: the streets of Habana Viegjo, Right: Kids in the crumbling building where my favorite Paladar is located
Man on a balcony in Habana Viejo
Kids at play in the streets of Habana Viegjo.
Here are some of my favorite Havana Highlights:
The Partagas Cigar Factory tour is one of the most fascinating tours I’ve ever been one. You’ll leave with a whole new appreciation of the hardworking hand craftsmanship involved, even if you don’t smoke.
Partagas Cigar Factory worker loading finished cigars onto a truck.
Fábrica de Tabaco Partagás (Partagás Cigar Factory, Industria #520, e/ Dragones y Barcelona, tel. 07/863-5766, Mon.–Fri. 9–11 a.m. and noon–3 p.m., guided tour CUC10)
Hotel: Hotel Nacional de Cuba
A couple on their wedding day in a beautiful car outside the Hotel Nacional, where I’ve stayed on my trips to Havana.
Left: Bridal Couple at the Hotel Nacional, Right: There’s always a show, or water ballet, happening at the Hotel Nacional
Above: A cigar sommelier at the Hotel Nacional
La Guarida Paladar is the best restaurant I’ve eaten at in Cuba. It’s located inside a crumbling residential building, where you can’t help but notice the beauty of decay.
The Havana Club and Rum Museum, also known as Museo del Ron, Fundación Havana Club features rum, rum, and some pretty great music at the end.