Arriving in Israel

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Middle East » Israel
March 2nd 2009
Published: October 6th 2009
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After 8 years in UK I am leaving back home to Israel. The loose plan is to stay there for a few months, tackling some family duties and planning the big trip. It will be a good chance to experience some new things.
Liz, my girlfriend for a year now is going to come with me. We are thinking of doing a week or so on this HelpX thing have been in Israel as a kind of a primer to our grand adventure.

Ram and I took a bus to Paris, and had three nights in there, in a Very cheap hotel, but it was really clean and good. Sian lent me her Paris guide and we walked non-stop for three days. Round all the quarters, through the different ethnic areas, found all the covered markets/passages of years gone by, saw so much in three days, more than I have seen in all the trips in previous years combined.

Whilst in the UK we toyed with the idea of driving back to Israel, crossing the medditeranian by a ferry. The only ferry fare operating between Europe and Israel as for winter 2009 is from Thessaloniki to Haifa. That revealed

View from the new port
to be too complecated considering our intention to take Ram's household content with us. We droppped it, sadly, for the time being. Our second plan then was to head down south from Paris to Greece, where we intended to board that ferry. Unfortunately, they did not agree to take pedestrian passangers on board, only motorists... Quite a strange discipline in my opinion.

We then caught a late flight to Tel Aviv, arriving at some god awful hour in the morning. All went well, didn't get thrown out or frisked (shame), had a coffee and some breakfast then headed straight to Jerusalem. We arrived at about 7am, it was quite something to see the wailing wall, and all the little passage ways were so different from what I am used to, didn't stay too long and plan to return for a trip of a few days at a later time.

Caught another bus to Haifa and arrived as a semi surprise for Ram's parents........have to say a very pleasant surprise, think mum was a bit unsure to start with but dad was just lovely and they have both been lovely and very kind to me ever since.

Co-existance clock towerCo-existance clock towerCo-existance clock tower

Letters in Hebrew and numbers in Arabic
have been acclimatising to it all here. It is very different a real clash of old and new, Jewish and Arab, clean and dirty, rich and poor (but not so so poor). I've been to a few fantastic markets and the fruit, vegetables and meat is just gorgeous, and just to watch the milling around of people is great.

We had a day trip to Acre (pronounced Akku) which is an Arab port village/town, which is walled. Again it was just so unlike anything I have seen. The main town is behind the walls and just lots of little passageways opening up to squares or markets, a little Souk market and a street market, lots of strong coffee flavoured with cardamom.

The architecture and the pace of the life outside the big cities reminds me a bit of rural Greece, but the big towns are so BIG with huge Malls for shopping, you get worn out just walking around one floor.

We have been getting used to Haifa. It seems to be huge, and I am only now just about getting the map in my head of where some places are. Today went into the national park
Akko at sunsetAkko at sunsetAkko at sunset

lots of little passageways opening up to squares or markets
area, just ten minutes down the road from Rams home, and I didn't even know it was there, it was just lovely with all the wild spring flowers, the expanse of green just on the edge of the city, with views to the sea, and goats being grazed there, very peaceful, and I am now intending to run there and as soon as my bicycle arrives I will be cycling round, mind you will probably be the death of me as the hills seem to all go upwards.

We have signed up for a 10k run round some mountain or other in early April. We are going to cycle round the sea of Galilee, and there is a plan afoot to walk from the north to the south of Israel (probably take five or six weeks) ending in the desert at Ram's cousin who also has a trekking/camel/jeep place.

On top of all this, we are still thinking about and planning the round the world trip...if it ever gets that far, but hey good just to think about it.


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