JABAM

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JABAM




Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Bethlehem March 17th 2016

Today, we booked ourselves another guided tour. We knew we wanted to go to Jerusalem, but BAM also wanted to see Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity. I felt uneasy going into Palestinian territory alone, so I insisted we join an official tour. Our guides name was Isaac and he was a lovely guy, we stopped first at the Mount of Olives and looked over Jerusalem to the West and the hills towards Jordan to the East. Like almost every location in Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives has great biblical significance. We entered the Old City of Jerusalem via Zion gate in the Armenian quarter. As we entered, someone tried to drive their car out of the gate; the gate is narrow and the corner tight, so they scraped their bumper on the stone. Looking ... read more
old city Jerusalem
Holy Sepulchre church
crucification spot

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » East Jerusalem March 16th 2016

I'd booked us on the Tour Israel Dead Sea and Masada tourto start the trip. The coach picked us up at 0715, our tour guide was Norbert who delivered the tour in English and French, switching seamlessly between the two making me jealous. I slept though the journey and BAM delighted in telling me about all the cool views and facts that I'd missed. Thanks BAM. The coach stopped at a cafe/gift shop selling Dead Sea Minerals creams and had a cracking view of the Dead Sea. We continued onwards to the Masada ruins. Masada is an ancient fort atop a massive mountain. There's a visitors centre at the bottom with facts, a gift shop and a cafeteria. Our tour ticket included the cable car to the top, but the traditional route follows the "snake path" ... read more
Desert mountains
Jordanian desert
Jordanian desert

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Tel Aviv March 15th 2016

First of all, we almost didn’t go at all because I switched our alarm off at 1am and we almost overslept. Plan A was to find a McDonald’s and get some breakfast on the way down to Luton but they don’t serve it until 0500 and we went the wrong way though Luton town so we didn’t pass one anyway. So by the time we got to the departure lounge BAM was thoroughly mardy. We ended up getting a Frankie and Benny’s breakfast at the airport which was probably the most expensive meal of the trip. The flight itself was alright. We arrived in Tel Aviv Ben Guiron around 1415, caught the train to Tel Aviv HaHagana and exited the train station to our first glimpse of Isreal; dirty, smelly and poor. We stopped at the ... read more
House of Hummus
House of Hummus

Middle East » Israel March 15th 2016

Why? Neither of us had ever been to the Middle East, and Israel is as western as you can get whilst still being in the Middle East. On top of this, I wanted to visit the sites of important religious, historical, social and military events. Most sites being a combination of all four. I didn’t know whether we’d enjoy it, our parents tried to talk us out of it (we hear horror stories in the news and just before we left an American tourist got stabbed in Tel Aviv), but I knew it would be eye-opening. Admittedly, my motivations also included the downright tourist trap of floating in the Dead Sea and the fact that no-one else we knew had ever been there, so it felt like we were forging our own path. Where? We slept ... read more

Europe » Iceland February 24th 2016

I had banana icecream for breakfast on the coach as we headed to the airport where we finished our supplies of sandwiches and I had a can of cider at 9.30am. I was stopped at security and had my hands wiped for –I assume- drugs, thankfully not breathalysed. At duty-free we spent the last of our kronas on Brennivin (Iceland’s spirit of choice, tastes of aniseed) and JAs favourite Viking Pale Ale (white label). With this being our first trip abroad together there are a few things we weren't aware of and learnt for next time; · Check the season and weather before you go, don’t take someone’s word. · Get a translator and currency converter, it will help when shopping · Put liquids at the top of hand luggage as they need to come out ... read more
Leaving Iceland

Europe » Iceland February 23rd 2016

We watched the sunrise by the Sun Voyager, the pink sky reflected on the mountains behind the statue which was enchanting. We visited the Aurora museum which was informative and gave us free tea. The Saga museum let us try on chainmail and had an audio tour about the first settlers on Iceland and how Reykjavík became the capital (SPOILER ALERT: a Viking threw two engraved posts overboard for the gods to decide where they land to build the capital, took them two years to find them in a bay which wasn’t the best location but Reykjavík was built). The national museum covered most subjects and is where JA fell in love with the name “Bjorn”. Long walk back to the hotel but I found a broken sledge by a bridge so went sledding twice to ... read more
Reykjavik and museums

Europe » Iceland February 22nd 2016

Blue lagoon trip; we took the towels from the hotel to save £11. The water is 37oc, there is a cave which introduces the lagoon, there’s a silicon bar for a free facemask, a waterfall, a swim-up bar, steam room and sauna. It was very misty due to the temperate difference between air and water, and it snowed which made it even more magical. We attempted the Northern Lights tour for the second time (repeat for free if you see nothing) but again we were disappointed; the location this time was at an intersection of three roads, this with the full moon made it so bright that colour was visible so no luck spotting stars or the Northern lights. BAM... read more
Silica mask fun

Europe » Iceland February 21st 2016

Today the tour was Golden Circle which started at 8.30am and was led by “the grandma” team, first stop was a tomato plantation where the owner gave a speech about Iceland having the best water and therefore best tomatoes…shame I don’t like tomatoes. The Geyser area was extremely icy, JA mist the first few looking at trees and posing for pictures, we got close to the main Geyser which was surrounded by ice and hilarious watching people (JA) with bad grip to try to distance themselves from the boiling water. The museum inside the shop let us experience what a 5.1 Richter scale earthquake feels like. Next stop was Gulfoss waterfall which was dressed in its winter clothes (partly frozen), this prevented us being able to walk right up to the waterside like you can in ... read more
Bam, The geyser
My geyser at The Geysers
To close to the Geyser...

Europe » Iceland February 20th 2016

Artie/Arty was our guide for today on the Black and Blue tour (Lava caving and snorkelling), the first site was a large layby opposite a mountain. We equipped ourselves with crampons and helmets and set off with the group down a snowy path away from the mountain into the lava field to two crawl-holes in the ground, everyone gasped and was expecting an open cliff face to be the start of the cave. We had to slide in head first (JA found that out the hard way) like penguins or seals as the snow had blocked the entrance, once inside there was enough room to stand up. The cave was a lava tube; a tunnel created when the surface of a lava river solidifies before the rest. We walked straight-ish for a few minutes up to ... read more
Food

Europe » Iceland February 19th 2016

1am start for the train to Manchester airport, it was about 5am when we cleared security and got to Duty Free where free samples of Spanish 43 liquor were being handed out; I couldn’t say no! Very nice and sweet like honey. Also learnt Homme means men in French and one spray is enough! When we landed it was snowing and the ground was white, I was astounded as it was not how I remembered from my last trip nine years ago with school; “they should have called it lava-land as there isn’t any ice”. We were too early to check in to our room at the Arctic Comfort Hotel so we got a map and went to the supermarket for supplies which was harder than we first thought with everything being in a different language. ... read more
northern lights tour
Strandarkirkja church
Snow angel




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