All posts filed under: middle east

Exploring Petra: In Pictures (and a few words..)

Just a few hours after crossing the border back into Israel from Egypt I found myself making my way through customs into Jordan. Three countries in one day, nice. We showed our passports a total of six times on the way, only running in to some trouble with our bags. For some reason they were unsure if they should allow me to go in with my GoPro, which had an underwater case on it. Thankfully after some discussion amongst themselves, the security men gave me my camera back. Although the next item of suspicion was my mother’s police badge, which after ten minutes or so was returned to us… We were apart of an organized trip, we were fourteen total. Finally on the Jordan side we were separated into two vans and prepared for our two hour drive. Before climbing in the van I had no clue I was in for such a long ride, but wow, the Jordanian mountains are something beautiful. The lines of phosphate and shades of green from copper, it wasn’t …

Dome of the Rock

Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, Har HaBeit (הר הבית), Haram al-Sharif, it goes by many names and has a deep history. Without going into too much detail this Dome of the Rock is the holiest site in Judaism. It is believed that at this spot all of creation took place from the creation stone. The first and second Jewish Temples once stood there. Now stands there the Dome in the center, one of the oldest Islamic structures. And on the south side sits a mosque. Now on the mount only Muslims are allowed to pray, which is cause for a lot of controversy in Israel. I was unsure about visiting the mount, it is not a common or recommended thing for most Israelis or Jews to do. When entering through security I was listening to a tour guide prep his group before entering. He double checked several times, asking if anyone was Jewish, if anybody was carrying something religious that was not Muslim, no bibles, or kippas, no rosaries. He didn’t want any trouble …

Jerusalem: The Old City, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Wall

My Mommy has finally arrived! Now my twin and I are taking her around to see the sights. We’ve started here in Jerusalem which my brother knows very well. He has been volunteering at an archaeological dig site next to the wall for the last five months. So we are very lucky to have our own personal tour guide. We dove right in to site seeing on the first day. It was made easy by the perfect location of our hotel, right on King George St., in the center of all the action. The name City Center Hotel doesn’t lie. This hotel is perfect! Superb location, great staff, and the rooms are modern, clean, with the comforts of home. I would call this place a hidden gem, nested in the heart of King George St. in the center of Jerusalem. It’s surrounded by restaurants and cafes, the light rail is just around the corner. It was lovely to wake up in the morning, walk outside and find a cafe to sit at, and enjoy some …

The Lowest Place on Earth, The Dead Sea

We weren’t the only ones to have a little getaway in mind for this weekend. Our original plan was to drive down to Eilat but after calling just about every hotel only to be told that everything was full, we decided on the Dead Sea instead. It turned out that the hotels at the Dead Sea were just as full. We called all the hotels to catch the last room at the Isrotel Ganim. So after some morning iced coffees and a freshly filled stock of hummus to last us a couple days we were ready to go. 🙂 The Dead Sea is located on the edge of the Judaean Desert. And you can  definitely feel  it.  It’s a short strip of hotels plopped in the middle of the desert. If you look around you will see exactly that. While you are floating it’s the best to slowly spin in a circle to take in the whole view. The cliff, where all the hotels are sitting beneath. Or look across the sea where you can …

Another desert adventure/Kibbutz Ketura

During this desert adventure we stayed at Kibbutz Ketura, just north of Eilat in the south of Israel. This kibbutz was founded by a group of all Americans in 1973. We went on a tour of their huge solar panel field, there are some very interesting facts about the field in the article below: http://www.timesofisrael.com/worlds-first-self-cleaning-solar-park-in-the-arava-valley/ Just to give you an idea in case you don’t want to read the whole thing: Each night, the 20-acre facility is cleaned by 100 Israeli-made robots, which brush and clean the hundreds of solar panels, generating 9 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. It’s a technical breakthrough, said Eran Meller, CEO of Ecoppia, which built the robot cleaning crew, that could encourage more use of solar power. -David Shamah, World’s first self-cleaning solar park in the Arava Valley Other than the inspiring work they’re doing there as far a solar energy goes, the place is beautiful! There is nothing like hiking in the desert, nothing! The silence, the vastness of it all, it’s so grounding. I even found some fossil …

Tekoa: A trip to the Northern Judaean Mountains

The West Bank My friend never said exactly the words, “I live in the West Bank”, so it kind of took me by surprise when we were entering into it in the dark of night. Not sure how I didn’t put the two together when he said “I live on a settlement”, but to my defense I was still new to the country. So it wasn’t until we were about five minutes away when my eyes widened with (I will admit) a little bit fear but also a lot of excitement. And that is how I found myself in the West Bank, Palestinian territory.