Blogs from Middle East - page 1199

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Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem May 19th 2003

We dove into the start of the program this morning, first with an overview of the current matsav with David and then with an interesting driving tour along the 1948-1967 dividing line in Jerusalem. We started right near Ramat Rachel, which had been an army outpost along the border. We then proceeded to a spot where we had a panoramic view of the city and ended at the Mt. Zion Hotel. All through the tour, we gained an understanding of how winding the border between Jewish and Arab areas really is. After the end of the tour, the group split up to get lunch and then to do some pre-Shabbat shopping. Most of us went to Kol HaNeshama, a liberal synagogue, for Kabbalat Shabbat, before returning to the hotel for Shabbat dinner and an Oneg Shabbat. ... read more

Middle East May 18th 2003

After a long day last Tuesday/Wednesday, we arrived at Ben Gurion safely and a little bit ahead of schedule. Unfortunately, we lost that time waiting for our baggage due to the strike (not the last time we will encounter the effects of the strike I'm sure). Our wonderful madricha, Shirel, met us at the airport, and we then went to the tayelet (promenade) overlooking Jerusalem. We made a kiddush there and said shehecheyanu on our arrival as a group in Jerusalem. After that, we went to our hotel, at Ramat Rachel (a kibbutz in Jerusalem). To give an idea of how intertwined the city is, we are in a Jewish area, but overlooking Bethlehem, Tzur Baher (an Arab villge), and Har Homa (a new Jewish neighborhood). The hotel is nice, and the grounds have many gardens ... read more

Middle East May 12th 2003

This is a group diary for the Foster Seminar of the Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service at Brandeis University. The seminar is conducted in Israel from the middle of May through the middle of June.... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul December 25th 2002

Please note: This is a very rough draft taken from my travel journal during one of my recent trips across Turkey. I post it only to help others understand some of the issues in traveling across this incredible land until I have time to edit it properly. The people are truly wonderful but like all lands and cultures, there are people who will take advantage of you, so “buyer beware”. If you are only interested in Istanbul, most of the information can be found towards the end of this “log”. There is also an extensive list of what things cost during the summer of 2002. Please be aware that as of Christmas 2002 that the entry visa for US citizens that is good for three months has now risen to $100!!! This is the third increase ... read more

Middle East » Jordan » South » Wadi Rum December 4th 2002

After two days in Petra it was time to head to Wadi Rum - there were four of us in the group - two other Australians and an intrepid Japanese traveller who had hiked from Nepal. After a 6am start we arrived in the small village of Rum, a small cluster of flat roofed building nestled in a valley where camels and four-wheel drive vehicles are the only form of transport. There we met our host, Zedane, who boasted to us that he had 28 brothers and sisters and that when there is a family gathering for a meal that "three sheep is not enough!" We then headed out in our beaten four-wheel drive with our driver called Ali, whose driving prowess across the dunes was most impressive. We left Rum is a cloud of dusk, ... read more

Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra December 3rd 2002

Petra - the mere names conjures thoughts of an ancient city carved out of the ochre cliffs in a hidden valley. It also conjures images of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and that terrific scene as they ride though the Siq and behold the imposing Treasury edifice. For all that I had read and heard about Petra, I really wasn't quite prepared for the magnificence of the place. The monuments carved into the mountains were only a small part of its beauty. The rest came through the striated colours of rock that surrounded you on every side, the differing colours of the sand, and the ever persistent Bedouin, who relentlessly tried to sell you souvenirs, and donkey or camel rides. On the first day, I walked through the Siq, a 1.2 kilometre long chasm which ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul October 26th 2002

We are back in the UK again now, back to the cold! But back to a decent hot shower as well. Turkey was good, we'd love to go back again and look round properly. This trip all we had time to see was Cappadocia and Istanbul. We stayed in Goreme, Cappadocia, in a room that was part real cave and part concrete cave. The area is known for its weird and wonderful rock formations, cave houses, and some underground cities. We tried to see a bit of everything. The first day there we took a bus tour of the highlights, getting a feel for the surroundings. We saw plenty of rock formations, a huge underground city 8 levels deep, a well preserved caravanserai, and the local pottery. The tour ended at the pottery, we were given ... read more
More rock formations, Cappadocia, Turkey
View from an old cave house, Cappadocia
Paintings inside an old cave church

Middle East » Syria October 19th 2002

Well, we are nearly at the end of out trip, we fly out of Istanbul on Thursday. We have not had nearly long enough here, only really in Jordan and Syria did we feel that we had seen enough. We decided not to spend much time here in Turkey as we would only get frustrated at not being able to see what we want, we'll just have to come back again! Anyway, what have we done since the last blog. We left Jordan and travelled to Damascus, Syria. We spent about 36 hours there, enough to see what we wanted to see. We spent a long morning going round the old city, round the mosque and the neat, narrow back streets. We had a lovely breakfast of these flat bread things with a cheese and egg ... read more
Umayyad Mosque, Damascus
Bullet pocked building, Beirut
Temple of Bacchus, Baalbek, Lebanon

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Kusadasi October 15th 2002

We made it to Bodrum and then hired a car and drove to Kushadasi.......Shan did the driving on account of the fact I'd forgotten my licence in London. Have to give credit because the Lonely Planet Guide rates Turkey as one of the more dangerous countries to drive in......add to the fact they drive on the other side and Shan had never drived a Stick Shift before getting us the first 150kms was a pretty fine effort. Personally from the passenger seat it was a pleasure to watch the landscape go by. We made Kushadasi our base for a couple of days and here is where we met Murat the waiter at the Ali Ustanin Yeri Kebab shop.....every meal we had in Kushadasi thereafter was at this cafe. Funny guy and if enyone ends up in ... read more

Middle East » Jordan » North » Amman October 9th 2002

We only had a brief time in Jordan, but its been great, mostly. We are currently in Amman and are off to Damascus tomorrow afternoon. The boat across from Nuweiba, Egypt to Aqaba, Jordan was fine, it was a nice, newish catamaran. The trip was so smooth, you hardly felt like you were moving at all. Passport control at aqaba was strange, our passports were collected from us as we got off the boat, then we were bussed to the arrivals hall and had to wait for our names to be called out so we could collect our passports with the visas stamped in them. We had to wait until the end while all the easier Arabic names were called first. We caught a taxi to Wadi Musa (Petra) that evening with a Canadian couple. The ... read more
Obelisk Tomb
The Treasury
Royal Tombs




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