Before I had my bike, “Wings”, I used to get around Damascus on foot.
But then I decided to speed things up. The city’s jasmine fell on my shoulders – I decorated my bike basket with it.
I used to fly every day from Rukn al-Din through Arnous Square then to al-Shaalan to greet my friends at Pages Café and then continue to al-Baramkeh, either to the right to Mezzeh, or left to Fahimeh and then Midan…
Damascus – as you hurtle through her old streets, the city has a special flavour. It clings to you wherever you go. People shoot you envious looks. Oh, if they just knew the pleasure you feel, they would open their hearts to this city’s streets.
I won’t forget the compliments I heard over and over again. I won’t forget that sentence, spoken with feeling: “May God be happy, how wise! May God protect you.” It stuck in my memory, for it came from a Damascene lady’s heart.
A bicycle is a lot like the feeling of love – it’s hard to describe with words. You feel it. And what city is worthy of love more than Damascus?
And as for wings… If only we had wings to save us time, to preserve our environment. We’d cover Damascus with our souls. Damascus, how well the wings of peace would suit you.
Home-made pedals, Damascus by Gavin Bannerman / CC by-NC 2.0
Other images: Yalla Let’s Bike