5 days back-packing the Holy land
23.10.2010 - 29.10.2010 35 °C
Israel, what a stunning complicated country.The one thing you mainly notice about Israel is its landscape. It is a country made out of hills and valleys. This was my last trip to the middle east and what a way to end it. It is when you are viewing the Golan heights, when you hike Mt Olive, when you step into the waters of the sea of Galellie, crossing into the West bank or floating on the dead sea, that you appreciate that chances are you will never see a place as wonderful as the middle east and Israel .. wow!!!!
Arrived at the Ben Gurion Internationa airport , Tel Aviv. I was interogated prior to entry but I was allowed after being given a security rating of 6/7. My laugage was not availble when I arrived, I was advised to collect my laugage the next day. I purchased a train ticket from the airport to Jerusalem. I think I paid NIS 40.00 , I took a train from the airport to Tel Aviv, from Tel avaiv I had to take another train to Jerusalem. The journey from the airport to Jerusalem took me 2 hrs. From the train station in Jerusalem I took a minibus to the old city, I mistakenly got off the bus at the new city of Jerusalem . I decided to do some window shopping at the new city and I had lunch. I found a nice falafel sandwich place, where you could fill the sandwich with anything you want, it was realy nice and feeling, sadly this was a start which at the end of the week had put me off Falafels and humus for a long time. After having my lunch I decided to locate my hostel which was situated in the old city. I entered the old city via the Jaffa gate, I managed to locate my hostel beyond the maize coridors of the market. I then joined a free tour group around the old city. The tour group met around 14:00 at the Jaffa Gate and the tour lasted 3 hours. It was quite a wonderful tour. after the tour I went back to the old city and had dinner. After dinner I went back to the hostel for resting,to my suprise I was informed that I had booked a roof top room. This was the one and only time I slept at the roof top of which I believe it is a wonderful, fulfilling,cheap experience ONLY IF you have a sleeping bag. Since I had no sleeping bag nor did I have any of my laugage with me , this soon proved to be the most coldest evening ever. I inquired regarding changing rooms but the place was fully booked. I spent my first night in Jerusalem sleeping under the stars.
I woke up early in the morning not that I had any reason to stay in bed longer since I was sleeping on the rooftop and as the morning approached it got realy cold. I left Jerusalem for Tel Aviv (airport) around 08:00.The bus From Jerusalem to Tel Aviv takes almost 2 hrs and costs NIS 20.00. I arrived at the airport to collected my bags and realised that I my camera & phone were missing. I filled the missing items form and with all the paper-work done and the realisation that I don't have a camera I had to come up with a plan. I decided to buy disposable camera's. I then took a bus from the airport to Tel Aviv, upon arrival in Tel Aviv I purchased a day bus ticket for Tel Aviv. The bus ticket allowed me to use it all over town & Jaffa. Tel Aviv & its sea shores are very easy to navigate. The buses are quite easy to get a handle of as well. When I arrived at the beach I met a man who was hiring out beach chairs,I am not sure if I was resting on his chairs while I had a place to leave my backpack or if I was looking after his chairs while he went around sorting out or collecting chairs. Anyways I managed to swim and take a stroll . I then took a bus from the beach to Jaffa, the bus took me +-30min. I think taking a stroll from Tel Aviv beach to Jaffa is a wonderful stroll, if you are ever around the area I will advise you take a stroll. I then took a bus from Jaffa to Tel Aviv ,upon arrival at Tel Aviv I decided to take a bus to Nazareth. I arrived at Nazareth around 22:00, it took me almost 2 hrs to locate my youth hostel. Since I was tired when I finally managed to find it I just went straight to bed.
I woke up early in the morning and joined a tour group for Nazareth, this tour was arranged by the hostel. We started the tour around 08:30 and we finnished around midday. I then decided to take a stroll around Nazareth and I met a guy who was in my tour group JP. JP was on his way to hike On my way back I met a guy I was with on my tour guide Jp. Jp informed me that he was on his way to hike mt Precipice, I then joined him. It took us 2 hours to hike it although the bulk of the time was due to us being lost. The sheer sloped mountain is 397 meters high, this provides one of the best, most beautiful observation points over Yizrael Valley and its surrounding mountains: The Carmel Mountains, The Gillad Mountains and the Tabor Mountain. On the way back you can take a different path overlooking the views. As we were on top of the mountain we were joined by a group of tourist. We then went back to the hostel, JP dicided that we went for a meal at a resturant he has once been durring his previous visit. The food was MAGNIFICANT yummy.... We then arranged to meet the next morning arounmd 06:30 for our trip to Tabgah & Galellie..
I woke up around 06:30, I looked around for JP and couldn't find him where we had arranged to meet. I then left the hostel for hikking to the 'church of adolescence'. The hike took me a an hour. After the hike I went to the bus station to catch a bus to Tiberias. Suprise suprise on the bus I met Jp again.. we then went to Tiberias together. Upon arrival we went to a market and purchased fruits, we purchased nice huge grapes hmmmm. We then took a taxi for the beach side. We then decided to go to Taghba, Capernaum, Galeliee and the Jordan river etc. We then went to the beach for some relaxation, after lunch we decided to go our separate ways with JP. I took a bus for jerusalem & Jp to a bus to Nazareth. Upon arrival at Jerusalem I tried to catch a bus to Damascus gate inorder to get a bus to the West bank. I had difficulties getting a bus, I ended up taking a taxi which turned out to be a huge mistake which cost me NIS 120.00, total rip off. Anyways the taxi dropped me at the check point. I crossed over and I took a taxi to the nearest hotel. I checked into a nice hotel in Bethlehem. I relaxed and then went for a wallk in the evening.
I woke up early in the morning, took a walk to the church of Nativity, I then went to Jericho etc. I took a taxi to the Jewish settlements in the westbank etc and I saw the art on the separation wall.I crossed over into jerusalem in the afternoon. I then took a minibus to Damascus gate in the old city. I then decided to walk though all the gates of the old city of Jerusalem.This was a magnificant walk indeed, I then went to Mt Olive, I took a walk to Calvary etc. In the evening I took a shower and then I took a bus from Jeriusalem to Tel Aviv airport. I missed my stop for the airport & I got off far from the airport luckly I still had time and I made it in time for my flight.
I Had to go through immigrations again.. after 3 hrs I was allowed to go through, Wow what a trip, it turned out to be more than what I had expected