Wednesday, August 17. Crac Des Chevaliers. I took a day tour to Crac Des Chevaliers organized by my hotel Cairo (550 Syrian pounds/double; $12). We went in a old Mercedes driven by Omar. The others were William from Scotland, Abdul Ibrahim from Saudi Arabia, and, as he called her, Abdul's "Madame" (Dressed in black Chador). It was quite a diverse group of people in our car! Crac Des Chevaliers is a largely intact Crusader castle built in the 12th Century by the Knights of St. John. It is perhaps the best preserved medieval castle in the world. In 1909, T.E. Lawrence (before he was known as Lawrence of Arabia) described Crac Des Chevaliers as "the finest castle in the world. Certainly the most picturesque I have ever seen—quite marvelous." We spent a few hours exploring its grounds, towers, walls, rooms, and passages.