Blogs from Middle East - page 11

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Middle East » Israel » North District » Golan May 26th 2014

As Nadav our guide likes to say: another beautiful day. Yes, it was beautiful out in the fresh air and lovely sunshine of Israel. Beautiful at Tel Dan as the water bubbled from the springs fed by the aquifer; beautiful on top of the Golan Heights looking down at the green valley of the kibbutz settlements; beautiful far off gazing at Mount Hermon; beautiful as we toured the winery and tasted the lovely wines; beautiful inside the Ari synagogue and looking across at Mount Meron; and beautiful in the early evening back at Kibbutz Hagoshrim. Sadly, not so beautiful for the people down below in the Kuneitra region of Syria as we stood safely above at Har Bental and heard the boom of bombs and saw the puffs of smoke rising from what seemed to be ... read more
at Tel Dan
Israeli fields between Bental and Syrian border
Shira - daughter of our friend, Rabbi Kleinman

Middle East » Israel » North District May 25th 2014

Another long day winding down as our group settles in for two nights at Kibbutz Hagoshrim Guest House in the Upper Galilee, the Hula Valley area, looking out towards the Golan Heights and Mount Hermon. We began the day heading down from the upper part of Haifa on the Carmel to the lower part in order to visit the Nirim School in the Neve David neighborhood. What an amazing place - a neighborhood elementary school serving disadvantaged and immigrant children. The principal who took over less than two years ago has turned it into a place of smiles and joy and learning and growth and hope. His name is Dr. Oded Hershko and he gave up the practice of medicine to devote himself to changing children's lives. Field trips, comfy pillows on the floor in a ... read more
Visiting the second grade classroom at Nirim School
Crusader Fortress in Akko
Leaving the grottoes of Rosh Hanikra

Middle East » Jordan » South » Aqaba May 24th 2014

While I hate the idea of myself in a bikini and have an odd fear of drowning, I have had a long time dream to experience the wonders of the sea. Aqaba and the Red Sea seemed the obvious possibility to try out my dream. Partly Jordan is a Muslim country and Aqaba is a rather conservative city where tiny bikinis are only the norm in the southern resorts. Thus, I could show off my very conservative bathing outfit. Partly, the Red sea is not muddy green and cold as the Baltic, but rather crystal blue and clear - not to mention warm, making me feel a little safer that Jörmungand or the Loch Ness Monster were not to grab me from below. Therefore, before going we had booked a tour on Layla One, where we ... read more
Cowboy Camel
Beach life
Doing the scary eyes - under water

Middle East » Israel » Haifa District May 24th 2014

Yes. Day three. We keep packing it in with our amazing guide, Nadav BenGal. And great driver, Avi. We woke up to Shabbat in Tel Aviv. Some of the group got in an early morning walk on the beach, though I kept going back to sleep until the last minute. Good I packed the night before! We began (after another delicious breakfast) with the ride up north on main highway, headed to Tzipori. Along the way Nadav gave the group an introduction to the issues of the security barrier, which is called a "wall" by some even though it is a fence in most places. He pointed out where it was a wall for a short bit next to the highway in a place where the highway was right up against a West Bank town where ... read more
Mona Lisa of the north, Tzipori
Nadav and Hayil in the home where we met
Along the walk to overlook near Carmelite Monastery

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District May 23rd 2014

What an amazing day. Except for me, it was the first time for all our group members – both those who had been to Israel previously and those new to Israel – visiting the Ayalon Institute. The museum tells the story of the young people – teens and twenties - who ran the secret underground bullet factory during the three years leading up to the War of Independence in 1948. Our guide was Shachar and he was the best in all my visits here (my fourth visit). If you have not been there, it’s outside Tel Aviv next to the city of Rehovot. Two thumbs up. From there we headed to Yafo for the Co-existence program we had arranged through Mishkenot Ruth Seminar Center, part of the Daniel Centers in Tel Aviv. http://www.beit-daniel.org.il/en/tour-seminar-center/ It was outstanding ... read more
The laundry machine that covered the secret.
Shachar teaches us about Ayalon Institute #1
Coexistence tour in Yaffa

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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul May 22nd 2014

Our flight to Athens leaves at 4.00pm so we have a half day to kill and we slept really late, the staff at the hotel and just great and allowed us to check out whenever we wanted, so we walked to the spice market to get some Turkish Delight to bring home and went inside the new mosque while we were there. We returned to the hotel and sat around drinking coffee and cruising for an hour or so before our shuttle turned up. The usual manic trip to the airport was had and during the check-in a minor hiccup, it appears our travel agent booked us with no baggage allowance and we were politely told that we could not take our cases until we paid the extra 70 euro, somewhat peeved we had little choice. ... read more
Spice Market
Spice Market
Yeni Cami

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah May 22nd 2014

So sang the great Otis Reading, and here I sit, perched on a wicker chair, under an a bamboo awning, facing out to sea, reflecting on the scene that unfolds, just as Otis did, all those years ago. In the distance, slightly to the right, sits the magnificent island of Al Fahal. Shaped like a home made baked loaf of bread it's uneven shape catches the sun to create light shades of yellows, pinks and browns, whilst the shaded areas are, by contrast characterised by deep shadows which define it's unique shape. ... read more
Catching the sun.....
The sun has gone......
Riding at anchor......

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Tel Aviv May 22nd 2014

So, after being up over 24 hours straight, the sun is just setting over the Mediterranean here in Tel Aviv, the city that never sleeps. Our group will be sleeping well tonight. Great flights on El Al but we all look forward to heads on the pillows tonight. Uploading photos from this first day with our amazing guide, Nadav BenGal. Highlights of day included visit to Independence Hall and Bialik House. Plus walk on the tayelet (boardwalk) along the beach for some of us, with a dinner by the beach. Photos included, hopefully. Group is bonding nicely and expect even more fun when we are more awake and refreshed. We did start to use the Birkon Artzi booklets with lovely readings at historic and holy sites. Highly recommend this for anyone traveling to Israel. I had ... read more
Hurry up and Wait #2
Susan and Peter at Independence Hall
Independence Hall

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem May 22nd 2014

I never really planned to go to Jerusalem. It is not that I planned not to go, but I was just so caught up in travelling around Eastern Europe. However, as my friend moved to Jordan with an invitation for me to visit her, my boyfriend suggested that we also visit Israel. While not on my travel wish list, I will have to admit that as a historian Jerusalem fascinates me. I have spent years studying the cultural and political meeting between East and West and the concepts of identity formation and nationalism through this meeting. One might say that it is in my very DNA to appreciate the symbolism which Jerusalem holds for so many people, and to want to become better acquainted with it myself - though on a less symbolic and more touristy ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul May 21st 2014

Shopping day today so off the Grand Bazar and we found a special urn we have always wanted but did not buy last time as was so expensive, we found one in a little shop where the guy was desperate to sell something, so we ended getting him down to almost half his starting price so we snapped it up. I had planned to buy some new shirts and snapped up another bargain getting two Tommy Hilfiger dress shirts for about 15 NZD, very nice quality. Getting tired of the hustle we went down to the water front for some space and fresh air, decided to get a ferry to somewhere so got on a boat to some place called Kadıköy, on the Asian side, miles down the coast just for the hell of it. Had ... read more
Hard At Work Istanbul
Ferry To Kadıköy
Flying Over The Bosphorus




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