Pamukkale, The Cotton Castle

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After two nights in Sel├žuk, I took the three-hour bus ride to the small village of Pamukkale. It was even smaller than I expected, truly a one-horse town that seems to be entirely sustained by the tourism industry. Accommodation options there were rather limited: the hostel I booked had pretty good ratings but was actually kind of weird, and the bathroom door in our dorm didn’t actually close. But honestly, it’s not like anyone is really going to spend more than a night there. Continue reading

How I Pissed Off a Jordanian Cab Driver

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Siq Al-Barid, known as Little Petra, is a smaller Natabean city about a twenty minute drive from Wadi Musa. I’d heard it was pretty cool, and though I worried it might pale in comparison after Petra itself, admission is free so I figured I may as well check it out.

The people at my hotel arranged transport for me and said that the best time to go is a little before sunset. I took it easy for most of the day and then my cab driver, a boisterous middle-aged man, picked me up at around 5 PM. We made the short drive to the site, chatting the whole way, and he dropped me off at the gate and went to go drink tea and wait for me. Continue reading

Petra Day 2: The High Place of Sacrifice & The Royal Tombs

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My second day in Petra I started out with two goals: tackle the second major climb, to the High Place of Sacrifice, and avoid any sketchy too-familiar Bedouins trying to lure me into mule rides… or more. I had one lazy day of riding (and was slightly uncomfortable the whole time), so today I promised myself I would be working for that view. Continue reading

Petra Day 1: the Treasury, the Monastery, and Slightly Pushy Bedouins

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That’s right, obviously I couldn’t come to Jordan without visiting this famous ancient Nabatean city. A lot of people do Petra as a day trip from Israel, but it didn’t make sense financially or time-wise for me to do that. First of all, the entrance tickets to Petra are exorbitantly priced: 50JD for a one day ticket (but then only 5JD for each additional day, so 55JD for a two-day ticket and 60JD for a three-day), and a whopping 90JD for day-trippers who are not spending the night in Jordan. I ended up purchasing a two-day ticket, but in retrospect I probably could have gone for the three-day pass. 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