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
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
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
Mahane Yehuda Market quickly became one of my favorite places in Jerusalem. I love local markets (shuks, as they’re known in Israel), and this is maybe the best one in the country. Since I was staying at Abraham Hostel, just 5 minutes down Jaffa Road from the shuk, I was there pretty often. Continue reading
[This is Part 2 of my day trip to Bethlehem, in the West Bank. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, you can find it here.]
Finally we decided to cave to the taxi drivers who kept approaching us in Manger Square. “Where you go? Go see Banksy graffiti, see wall.” Sure, okay, we’ll go see the Banksy wall.
[This post got pretty long so I’m splitting it in two. Here’s Part 1. Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.]
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.
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