It’s Wednesday, and knowing that tomorrow is the last day of the week has set me on edge.
I’m impatient to hit the road to the mountains, to get there as soon as I can. There is something about that place that just gets under my skin and fills me with energy, keeping me in a high mood, a consistent buzz.
What is special about that place? It’s the only place I can honestly call home, the only constant in my entire life of continuous change.
The ride there from Damascus takes about 3 hours, you start out heading towards Homs, before you enter the city you turn and head towards Tartous, and from there just follow the Kafroun, Mashta L Helo signs.
The road to Homs is bland, a highway in a desert of monotonous scenery. But the moment you pass Homs, man! the whole landscape changes, green invades the land, trees, mountains, grass, and lakes. The color green, what a vibrant color of life. The change is a full force attack on the senses (especially in spring & early summer), the transition from desert to the coastal terrain and the farm lands, beautiful.
I used to get car sick every time we were on the road, and so I trained my self to fall asleep the moment I leave Damascus till I get to Homs, and then I’m all awake, lol, the moment we cross Homs it’s like I already got to my village, I start singing and dancing in my seat driving my parents crazy (yes I still do this till today hahaha).
There are two roads from which you can get to Kafroun after Homs, one that is close to the Tripoly Syrian border, and the other which goes through Dahr l 2sayer, Sheen and Barsheen. Both are nice, but the Dahr l 2sayer road is that much more beautiful. The road passes through small villages and a preserved chestnut forest, over mountain ranges, and apple orchards. You even get the most beautiful view of the Lebanese mountains on a clear day.
There are a couple more roads, each with its own feel, each revealing its own beauty, each a journey of discovery of its own.
And the biggest love of mine there is the Saydeh Mountain.
The Kafareen (there are 7) are in the bowl of one big hill and two mountains: Sayeh and Saydeh (The Virgin’s mountain). They are side by side sharing the same valley. The Sayeh has a Muslim shrine on its peak and the Saydeh holds a shrine for the Virgin on its peak.
The Saydeh mountain is actually a dead volcano, with some myths circulating about a castle once being on its peaks.
On this mountain there is a small local cafeteria with an amazing view of the Kafareen and surrounding areas. The cafeteria is simple, with plastic chairs and tables, a small kitchen, drinks, and water pipes, with Fairouz singing in the background and I would not trade it for any other place in the world. It’s perfect in its simplicity. People from the area and visitors sitting, chatting, smoking, gossiping, playing cards, and watching games. For me, sitting there, in the farthest corner with my water pipe, coffee and friends is worth the world. Nothing can compare or even come close to it.
All my mother’s family is there, and we have our own area in the village as we all live next to each other, making a village within a village. The family gatherings are difficult now a days because of the number, we manage but the chaos! haha, there is nothing like it, it can get really messy, but it’s always good (if no fights break out). Having a big family is great but hard at the same time. Nothing is simple but everything is pure and true and it makes it worth it.
I thought writing about Kafroun would get rid of some of the impatience, but it seems to have increased it, and I can’t wait for the day to end, and for tomorrow to come.
See you on Saydeh 😉