The Road to Damascus and Beyond

Last Wednesday (28 March 2018) club members were transported to the Middle East to enjoy the journeys of Barbara Lyddiatt to Syria, Bahrain and Jordan.

 Barbara is a member of Chalfonts & Gerrards Cross Camera Club and she has previously visited LBPC as a competition judge.  Her illustrated talk covered three journeys.  In 1972 she travelled to Turkey on her own, where she found traveling as an unaccompanied woman “very uncomfortable” but was lucky enough to join up with a couple to visit Damascus in Syria.  In 2007 she and her husband had visited their son who was working in Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.  And in 2009 they had returned to Bahrain for their son’s wedding to Heidi.  These two later trips had also included visits to Syria and to Jordan.

 Images in and around Manama, the capital of Bahrain, included mosques, burial mounds, Pearl monuments (subsequently destroyed), the souk, the desert landscape, camels, and the “Tree of Life”, as well as modern buildings and skyscrapers.

 From the trips to Syria (all before the current destructive civil war) there were images from Damascus, Aleppo, Maaloula and Palmyra.  These encompassed the souk, the Great Mosque, Azm Palace, crowded busy streets, and lots of roadworks (Damascus), rock formations and buildings embedded in the cliffs (Maaloula), burial towers, the castle, the museum, the amphitheatre, temples, the Tetrapylon, and various ruined colonnades and other antiquities (Palmyra).

 And from the trips to Jordan there were images from Petra, Wadi Rum, Karak, the River Jordan and the Dead Sea.  These encompassed rock formations, tombs and shrines built out of the pink sandstone rockfaces, goats and camels (Petra), eroded rocks and desert landscapes (Wadi Rum), the castle, the market, more desert landscapes and sword fighting on a film set (Karak), river scenes and Mount Nebo  from where Moses first saw the promised land (the River Jordan), and some bathing/floating (in the Dead Sea.)

.Barbara is an experienced photographer and a very enthusiastic traveller.  Her commentary and images captured the joy and wonder of travel in intriguing and (for many of us) unfamiliar countries with unfamiliar cultures.  This was a fascinating, illustrated travelogue – often contrasting the ancient and the modern – about historically significant lands.