around Syria on a bicycle.
“We passed some very rugged gorges with a beautiful stream beside the road for some distance, and on emerging from the hills saw Damascus right before us.
Luckily the hotel was on the outskirts, but even so, a large crowd streamed into the road and opened a track for us to pass through.”
~ Round About the World on Bicycles – G.W. Burston & H.R. Stokes (1890).
My Life and Times
by Jerome K. Jerome
April 1889 – Published 1890.
Round About The World on Bicycles.
“The pleasure tour of G.W. Burston and H.R. Stokes, Melbourne Bicycle Club, Australia,” follows George Burston and Harry Stokes on their 56-inch high-wheel bicycle journey around the world, setting off from Melbourne, on 1st November 1888, arriving back in Australia on the 14th December 1889.
The Syrian section of their journey (at the time, part of the Ottoman Empire known as Vilayet of Syria) was chronicled in The Australasian. on 2nd November, 1889.
Crossing into the Vilayet of Syria from the newly-formed Beirut Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire (modern day Lebanon) at what is now the Masnaa crossing on the brow of Mount Hermon, they descended into its capital, Damascus,
After exploring the city, they returned the way they came over the Anti-Lebanon mountain range to Chtoura (Lebanon),
- by G.W. Burston and H.R. Stokes.
- Published by George Robertson and Company, Melbourne, Australia “for private circulation only”
ASIA MINOR AND EASTERN PARTS.
“Along the lovely decline we pedalled freely, starting an occasional owl from the roadside or yelling lustily for a sleepy muleteer or camel boy to give us room to pass.
An hour of this placed 12 miles behind us ; then we halted at a toll-gate where refreshments were sold, consisting of rings of bread that appeared to have hung from the ceiling for months, and some dried figs, very dirty. But we were hungry.
During our short stay here the Arabs had streamed down the hillsides, leaving their figs, mulberries, and oranges, or even ploughing, for our loud calls on the down grade had apparently resounded through the valley, and they had evidently been watching us flying along, and now a chance of a closer inspection was just what they desired.
Every moment the throng increased, so we hastily finished our meal and rode off.”
~G.W. Burston & H.R. Stokes – Round About The World on Bicycles, 1890.