Oh no!

Vyv the van

After leaving the Krak des Chevaliers, we noticed Vyv’s engine was really starting to heat up. (Btw, Vyv is the name for the van since her license plate contains the letters VYV). We pulled over and tried to cool it down, but to no avail. The closest town was Homs, only a few kilometers away. We made it to Homs, maintaining a steady rpm, where she could get checked out by a mechanic in the morning.

On the upside, we got to spend some unexpected time in the lovely city of Homs, which is not a usual stop on the Syria tourist trail. There actually was not a lot to see or do in Homs, but it was very pretty and clean, with good shwarmas and a very old and beautiful souq filled mostly with goods manufactured in China.

After strolling the town, an hour at best, we headed back to our hotel room where we celebrated Toon’s birthday with cold Amstel beers and a movie. Ho-Homs is not a party town, especially during Ramadan. We pre-purchased the beers at Duty Free, coming from Jordan, just for the occasion. Happy Birthday Toon!

The best part about Homs was that there was a certified Toyota dealership. First thing in the morning we took Vyv straight there. At the dealership, they would require two days just to diagnose the problem — working hours are shortened during Ramadan. Toon had good reason to suspect that the problem was with the timing belt, which he had previously repaired in Egypt. With over 6,000 km of driving to get back to Antwerp, Toon had no choice but to leave it. At least it would be in good, certified Toyota hands, or so we hoped.

With a tight timeline pressing upon us, we decided that, rather than wait in Homs, we would make our way to Palmyra on a bus. Mark and I packed up our stuff and said goodbye to Vyv, just in case things went awry and we had to carry on without her. Together with Toon, we set out for Palmyra, hoping to hear good news in the next day or two…


  1. Bruce the Moose

  2. Hmmmm, thought you were driving in a VW van. Guess I had mistaken Vyv for VW. Puzzled it is a timing belt? I would have thought the thermostat or low on coolant – much cheaper to repair. Wishing a cheap and full recovery for Vyv soon.

    No, she’s a Toyota. Even better right? I don’t really know about cars dad. I think there was a timing belt prob, but the real problem was with the cylinder block. You’ll find out what happened soon!

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