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    View of the Umayyad Mosque, Damascus, Syria

    Damascus is Safer Than Most European Cities - Belgian Traveler

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    “Unlike Athens or Paris, there was no threat I could be pickpocketed at any moment.” Jorgo’s trip to Syria was a total leap in the dark; however, all his fears quickly vanished. He told Sputnik about his Syrian adventure.

    "Many people think that the entire country is a war zone. However, the areas controlled by the government are rather calm. I spoke to some Syrians and Lebanese in Lebanon who said that it was safe to visit Damascus," Jorgo told Sputnik.

    A fervent globe-walker, Jorgo is passionate about unusual destinations sometimes considered dangerous, such as Chernobyl, Pyongyang or…Syria.

    In a picture taken through a bus window, people drive their motorcycles in Damascus, Syria, Monday, Aug. 13, 2018
    © AP Photo / Sergei Grits
    In a picture taken through a bus window, people drive their motorcycles in Damascus, Syria, Monday, Aug. 13, 2018

    He wanted to visit Syria back in February but failed to get all the documents ready in time. He later found a travel agent who organized the trip to Syria via Beirut, Lebanon.

    "I didn't know what to expect, so I had mixed feelings before I arrived there. But as soon as I arrived, the feeling of fear was gone," the traveler says.

    The travel agency asked him what he wanted to do in Syria and organized his itinerary, which Jorgo couldn't alter to visit some places that hadn't been included in the route. The man could only travel across government-controlled areas. "They would let me go to Aleppo if I wanted to, but I decided to stay there for only a week," the Belgian said.

    Although the country has been torn apart by war for years, Jorgo says he felt safe throughout his trip.

    "A country without tourism is a country without scammers. So you don't have to worry about them, which makes Damascus different from some European cities. Unlike Athens or Paris, there was no threat I could be pickpocketed at any moment… This is something you see in the countries where tourism is not an economically important issue," the globe-trotter says.

    READ MORE: Syria's Deir ez-Zor Returning to Life After Daesh Siege Lifted (VIDEO)

    According to Jorgo, Damascus is pretty normal — there's no destruction; and the fact that so many people live out their daily lives there makes you forget about the war.

    Damascus is a beautiful Middle Eastern city with its souks and hookah bars. "As in any hot country, the city comes to life after dark. When I walked around in Damascus at night, I felt safer than in most European cities," he wrote in his blog.

    "Even outside of Damascus, I've never felt endangered. Passing through checkpoints is time-consuming, but everything is under the control of the Syrian army. You simply can't get into a dangerous place. It is shocking, however, to see all the destruction outside of Damascus," the man says.

     Life in Damascus, Syria, on April 14, 2018
    © Sputnik /
    Life in Damascus, Syria, on April 14, 2018

    The thing that surprised Jorgo the most was the hospitality of the Syrian people. At a checkpoint, two soldiers greeted him with the phrase "Welcome to Syria, we hope you like the chai." The locals were very friendly and offered him a warm welcome. "The Syrians are amazing, they invite you to tea and have great food," he says.

    "Let's hope the war will end as soon as possible. Peace to Syria." the traveler wrote in his blog.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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