Blogs from Middle East - page 9


Middle East » Iran » South » Kish Island November 13th 2018

In this blogpost we'll just share some personal reflections, our next blogpost will tell more about where we went, what we saw and did. "Iran .... we feel sad leaving you and your beautiful people behind, we hope all our so called 'leaders' will not screw up too much ..." It is with mixed feelings and thoughts that we have left Iran, after travelling through the country for 60 days. It has been quite an experience, a very real travelling experience I would say. Iran has left an enormous impression on us with all its nature, culture, history, food, beautiful buildings and of course people. We have found that we still learn new things, cultures and languages. We enjoy meeting new people and talking about the commonalities and differences in our lives. We love seeing new ... read more
Iranians are cool
Iranians are cool
Iranians are cool

Middle East » Iran » South » Kish Island November 13th 2018

We are writing this blog post from Amman, the capital of Jordan, thinking back to the last part of our journey through Iran, which remains a weird country if you think about the way the government and religious leaders don't respect internationally accepted human rights and laws. But these so called leaders are absolutely not representing the real country and its people as we discovered. We have fully embraced the people of Iran as they have embraced us with their friendliness, politeness and extreme hospitality. Iran truly is a fantastic travelling country. From Masshad we went to Qa'en and then to Birjand where we arranged a car and driver willing to bring us to Deh Salm a small oasis village in the middle of the desert. The journey itself was already worth it and we stopped ... read more
Desert castle
Desert castle
Desert castle

Middle East » Kuwait November 10th 2018

Just finished a smooth uneventful flight to Kuwait. The flight path map seemingly becomes more relevant as we flew over places like Mosul, Kirkuk, Baghdad and Teheran. A few hours of sleep and we’re on our way to landing - 8 time zones ahead. We are arriving a bit late...about 5 PM and a tight connection to make!... read more

Middle East » Cyprus » Larnaca November 6th 2018

We had now come to the last couple of days of the trip, a trip that had seen us so far sample three very different environments; the strange atmosphere of the divided city of Nicosia; a slice of Turkey in Northern Cyprus; and then the unique, energetic and intriguing liberal Arabic vibe of Beirut. Now we were back in Cyprus and we were going to explore what the Greeks and British have left behind in the Republic Of Cyprus. It had been a long day being carted across the Lebanese countryside and at the end of it, we now we were on our flight back over to Larnaca where we arrived around midnight. We had still to arrange a rental car however so we still had to keep going a bit longer before we could ge ... read more
Coastline Near Lara Beach
Ancient Kourion
View From Ancient Kourion

Middle East » Lebanon » Beirut November 4th 2018

Beirut. The name never conjures up neutral reaction; usually raised eyebrows or enlarged eyes from anyone a little familiar with the place. Perhaps your first thoughts are about war. Perhaps they are about a cosmopolitan melting pot of cultures and religions. Perhaps they are about its vibrant bars and crazy nightlife. Perhaps they are about the awesome band of the same name. Whatever your opinions and whatever instantly comes to mind however, there is one thing that we can all agree on; Beirut is a name that fires fascination. It has certainly always done so for me and this started from a young age. When I was a kid, Beirut was always associated with violence, with reports on the six o'clock news always carrying stories about the latest bombing or assassination. Then as a teenager, the ... read more
Mohamed Al Amin Mosque
Place de l'Etoile
The Temple Of Bacchus, Baalbek

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai November 2nd 2018

The muezzin is calling, the second time this morning already and it's only 5:40AM. I love hearing it! The very first time I ever heard a muezzin call was when my daughter Laila and I travelled to Egypt, back in the spring of 2007. It is such a lovely, haunting call to prayer. Five times each day Muslims pray, and in Cairo I did not want to miss hearing even one of those times, so I'd opened our windows wide to allow this entrancing music to enter. We also heard the muezzin in Istanbul, in Morocco, in Jordan, in Israel, and now, here in the UAE. Such beautiful reminders to stop and pray, to my thinking no matter what one's religion. Heading off to Sri Lanka and south India this time, I am in Dubai for ... read more

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai November 1st 2018

This morning I took a picture from my window overlooking the Jumeirah Beach resort area. There is a big Ferris wheel and, beyond that, the Persian Gulf. I took a taxi to the central mosque at ten o’clock so I could go on the popular public tour. I’ve been in a few mosques, sometimes with guides, but have never had such a thorough review of what Muslims do there. Specifically the presenter showed us how he performs ablutions before prayer and how, exactly, he prays - first standing, then bowing, then kneeling. He encouraged us to stare and to take photos, things I don’t feel comfortable doing without express permission. My next stop was the Dubai Museum, another busy spot - I would not have guessed that Dubai had so many tourists! The museum reviews the ... read more

Middle East » Cyprus » Famagusta October 30th 2018

Now, I've visited a couple of disputed territories, with some being much stranger than others. There is always something intriguing about them though, which is why Scott and I thought we'd check out what it's like in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. We'd already seen the Turkish half of Nicosia, so we had some idea of what it's like; but we thought we'd venture into the territory a bit further to check out a couple of supposed coastal gems - Kyrenia and Famagusta. I don't quite know what I was expecting but the outskirts of North Nicosia are actually quite nice. They definitely aren’t poor. We got a decent look at them as our colectivo made its way towards Kyrenia. In look... read more
Lala Mustafa Pasa Camii
Old Town Kyrenia
Kyrenia Castle

Middle East » Cyprus » Nicosia October 28th 2018

It has been five months since I last wrote, which naturally and obviously, was the last time I travelled. Back then, I took a sneaky trip to Leipzigbefore starting my new job – five months later, it was time to get away for my first holiday since starting work again; the first time I have worked for almost three-and-a-half years. The holiday was well and truly deserved. About a month after I had started, I was put on a big project and the long hours, combined with the stress of delivering the project on-time and performing my job to high enough a level to pass my probation period, left me absolutely exhausted. This was on top of getting used to working life again, remembering how to do my job, settling into a new city, establishing new ... read more
Archbishop's Palace
Selmiye Mosque
Venetian Walls

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

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