I’ve been to hell… and it’s the King Hussein-Allenby Bridge Border Crossing

I’m aware that I’m way behind and still need to post about Petra and everything else I saw in Jordan, but ranting takes priority.

Today was without a doubt my hardest, most frustrating day on the road so far. I planned to cross back into Palestine from Jordan through the King Hussein-Allenby Bridge border, then take the bus from the West Bank into Jerusalem to spend the night there before flying to Istanbul in the morning. I was a little hesitant about using this border because it’s known for being very crowded (it’s the only border Palestinian citizens are allowed to use) and has a reputation for being extremely slow… but it was by far the most direct route for me to take. It couldn’t be that bad, right?

Unfortunately, it was. Continue reading

The Egypt Dilemma

When I was first planning this trip to the Middle East, I always intended to travel to Egypt as well. Israel-Jordan-Egypt — seems like the perfect combo trip, right? Neighboring countries, so crossing land borders would be easy and I wouldn’t have to worry about the logistics or costs of booking additional flights.

Of course, the political situation in Egypt has only been getting worse. Shortly before I left, my father and stepmother gently suggested that I drop Egypt from my itinerary and go to Greece or Turkey instead. I made no promises, but said I would consider it.

And I have been. I’ve been considering it for the whole month I’ve been traveling, and keep going back and forth. I’ve long decided that I would in fact be going to Turkey (a good friend of mine is in Russia now and will be in Istanbul at the end of August, so I plan on meeting him there), but Egypt was still pulling me as well. Continue reading

Road Trip to the Weirdest Hostel in the World

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After bumming around Jerusalem for a few days, I ran into two people I had met back in Tel Aviv, Jon and Jahan. Jon was on a mission to get down to Eilat for some diving in the Red Sea, and Jahan was looking for an adventure to fill her last few days before she flew back home. It was pretty easy for them to convince me to come along. (Actually they snuck into my dorm room one morning, stared at me until I woke up, and basically said “Are you in or what?”) Road Trip! Continue reading

O little town of Bethlehem

[This post got pretty long so I’m splitting it in two. Here’s Part 1. Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.]

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Sunday around noon I took the bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Florentine was almost too nice of a hostel… I could easily have spent another week there sitting on my butt on their rooftop doing nothing. So it was time to get a move on.

Almost immediately, I ran into two Dutch girls I had met a week ago, Esmee and Nina. They easily talked me into going on an ill-fated adventure of trying to walk to the Mount of Olives to see the sunset. Suffice it to say, we never ended up making it and instead found ourselves wandering through an ancient cemetery after dark. But we wouldn’t let failure deter us! We made plans to get up early the next morning and go on a day trip to Bethlehem, our first taste of the West Bank.
Continue reading

Falafel and Shawarma and Schnitzel, Oh My: Israeli Street Food

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I learned fairly early on that Israel is a pretty expensive country to travel in. Prices are definitely on par with the United States or Western Europe, and restaurants? We’re talking New York prices. Luckily all of the hotels and hostels I’ve stayed in so far have served some sort of breakfast (even if it’s just toast and hummus), and I’ve mostly been able to avoid expensive, sit-down meals. Here are some of the widely available street food options: Continue reading

I <3 TLV

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I’ve been in Tel Aviv for a week already. I was considering moving on to Jerusalem today, but I’m concerned that there won’t be much to do once the sun goes down tonight for Shabbat, aside from areas like the Muslim Quarter. Tel Aviv, on the other hand, is a much more secular city and the options aren’t as limited, so I’ve decided to stay here until Sunday. Continue reading

Street Art in Tel Aviv

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One of the first things I noticed while wandering around Tel Aviv the past few days is the amazing street art everywhere. It seems like every time I round a corner, there’s some amazing mural or detailed wheat paste piece stuck up on a wall somewhere. Of course there’s lots of mediocre stuff too, but I love seeing all of the colors everywhere. Most of these photos were taken around the Florentine and Neve Tzedek neighborhoods, some just blocks from one another.