Blogs from Middle East - page 5


Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Holon October 24th 2018

. Holon - Third in a series of experiential, off the beaten path tours to encounter and appreciate other important religious communities in Israel led by licenced tour guide Rina Yellin. The city of Holon is located south of Tel Aviv. (See our blogs "Day around the Carmel in Israel - January 2016" and "Day tour of Minorities in the Galil - April 2016" for the two previous tours with Rina.) Our Samaritan (Shomronim) Holon tour began with a visit to the Samaritans during their Sukkot holiday. We started in the house of Benyamim Tsedaka, an elder and head of the Israelite Samaritan Information Institute ( ). As we walked in we were confronted with a beautifully decorated sukkah in the middle of the living room and greeted by Binyamim who said "call me Ben ... read more
Samaritan Institute & Ben Tsedaka’s home
paintings by Miriam Tsedaka
Mezuzah in Ancient Hebrew

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Tel Aviv October 22nd 2018

We are looking down from the top floor of a converted Bauhaus cinema, now the cool boutique hotel where we are staying. Around Dizengoff Square, with its drum-shaped fountain, are a number of fine Bauhaus buildings. Characteristic long horizontal lines formed by smooth balconies and ribbons of windows, skinny verticals (including the classic “thermometer” windows of internal stair ways), gentle curves and occasional sinuous forms abound. There is over 1000 of these remarkable buildings remaining from the Modern Movement of the 1920s and early 1930s. They were built by European immigrants schooled in the International style and adapted for a hotter climate. They display an elegant simplicity and functionality of style. The majority are built from smoothly rendered white washed concrete and possibly result of the “poverty of materials” experienced by this city during its early ... read more

Middle East » Jordan » North » Amman October 21st 2018

So, back on the bus it was. You know, that once a day bus from Petra back to Amman? Well, there's certainly enough business to run a more frequent service because as well as those of us with booked seats and tickets there was a significant number of other people who were on 'standby', ready to fill any empty seats. What a scrum! And, yes, I do realise that queueing is not a concept that is understood or adopted everywhere but I do think the concept of fair play is, or should be. As soon as I realised that those on standby were just pushing to the front and sitting in any vacant seat, despite a chappie on the bus trying to get everyone into their rightful place, I stuck out every protruding bone I had ... read more

Middle East » Iran » East » Birjand October 19th 2018

This blog post has not just written itself and we found it hard to briefly describe our past month of travelling in Iran without using all the clichés, without sounding like a tourism promotion brochure and without sounding like we are all naive and don't see the more difficult side of the country and it is complex and difficult to understand politics. We simply love Iran and the Iranians. Travelling in Iran is an extremely positive experience. Iran has varied nature, a long interesting history, a beautiful distinct culture, architectural beauties and the most hospitable welcoming people of the world. The infrastructure and public transport is very good and comfortable, which makes travelling very easy and (currently with a very weak currency) very cheap. We have travelled from Tehran via the mountains of Qazvin and Alamut ... read more
Ramsar - Ashura ceremonie
Rasht - Kaleh Rudkhan
Rasht - Kaleh Rudkhan

Middle East » Jordan » South » Wadi Rum October 19th 2018

We'd checked out options for trips to Wadi Rum from Petra from home before we started our travels and they all came in at lots of silly $US prices. And I mean really, really silly prices. Surely it could be done cheaper once we were there? And indeed it could. Our wonderful hotel Mr Fixerman had it all sorted for us within minutes, though it all seemed a bit random - give the bus man so much, the jeep man this much and the taxi man that much and not a dinar more! OK then .... So, another early get-up (I was getting a bit fed up of these now but Steve had warned me the first few weeks of our travels would be a bit 'full on') and a 4.15 am alarm had us ready ... read more

Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra October 18th 2018

We had to get up early to catch the bus to Petra. Now, I'm normally an early riser but this was early even for me and it was still the middle of the night for Steve! The alarm went off at 4.15 am and were eating breakfast at 5.30. We'd decided to travel with a couple of holdalls rather than take the suitcases so we left those behind at the hotel and wandered down to catch the bus. The place was heaving, even at that time of day! We eventually left at 6.45 rather than 6.30 but I didn't really want those extra minutes in bed anyway .... The journey was uneventful on smooth-ish roads, driving through mainly rocky, sandy countryside. We saw some sheep and goats but very little agriculture. We stopped at the Half ... read more

Middle East » Jordan » North » Amman October 15th 2018

Sorry it has taken so long to post this first blog and that our silence has caused some of you some concern. We're well and having a super time but have had some difficulty getting regular, reliable internet access. I'm blaming the Himalayas for blocking the signals! So here's Blog One of this trip, in haste and without photos (because I'm struggling to upload them, hopefully they'll follow in due course) just to give reassurance that we're still alive and kicking .... There's this thing about travelling for extended periods - it takes a lot of planning. And that takes hours and hours of research before deciding where to go, how to get there, where to stay and what to see and do, followed up by all the bookings and documentation. Sensibly, I leave all of ... read more

Middle East » Qatar September 23rd 2018

Hi all. We are on the move again, allbeit a relatively small one as we will be away for only just under 7 weeks. Primarily South Africa, but with a Qatar stopover on the way out, and eSwatini (as Swaziland is now called) whilst we are there. And 2 x 2 weeks of the trip will be with our travel company of choice, Explore Travel. But enough of the teasers let's get back to real(ish) time. As is mostly the case with our longer trips we have left via Manchester to enable Simon to take care of car and cat 😊. Paul, being something of a fare tart, had booked us onto Qatar Air for the first time. It was spooky when checking in, given Pip's addiction to all things Led Zeppelin, to find the ticket ... read more
Dhows and Doha
Museum of Islamic Art
Manuscript dated December 1311/January 1312

Middle East » Iran » North » Rasht September 20th 2018

We have been in so many countries and places already during this trip where our main insight was that people are so incredibly friendly everywhere. Now again we have to admit that the people we meet are so much friendlier and welcoming to us than we would ever picture ourselves behave towards them in our own country. We experience hospitality taken to the ultimate level. Although we try to learn the local language Farsi we have a serious language challenge with the majority of the people not speaking any English but this does not really hinder us nor them in social interactions. The Persians (as the Iranians are called) are truly wonderful people. We find them joyous, having fun, very social, curious and happy. They are the contrary of the fanatic angry somber or shy persons ... read more
Tehran - Golestan Palace
Tehran - Golestan Palace
Tehran - Golestan Palace

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai September 17th 2018

Monday, 17th September 2018 Things started to slow down considerably as our 8pm flight to Singapore approached. Nevertheless, I started my early morning routine at the hotel pool. For my final swim in Dubai, I had the whole pool to myself which I appreciated since it wasn't so spacious to accomodate that many people. After the swim, we had breakfast at Shakespeare and Company again. This time, we occupied the table at the quiet upper level thus avoiding the transient office crowds at the busy lower level. After breakfast, it was back to the hotel to rest, to pack and to get ready for checkout at two in the afternoon. And after leaving our luggage with the concierge, we made our way to the Burjuman Centre where the Dome Cafe had a branch. Service was great ... read more
At Dome Cafe

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