Friday, April 29, 2011

Tel aviv

Hi all -

my one day in Tel Aviv was pretty relaxed, except for getting my Jordanian visa and finding out it was 50$ more than I had budgeted for. I was done by noon and by time I had gotten back to my hotel is was raining a bit, so I used the time to pack and research my hotel in Jordan, etc...

The two hour lapse in rain allowed me to take an hour stroll down the beach to Yafo the old city. QAuite beautiful but alas I forgot my camera. I returned in time to meet an old friend from NYC for dinner. She is Israeli and moved back last spring. We used to work together at a company in NJ.

She showed me around, and had a fabulous time catching up. I was exhausted though but stayed up a little later because the thunderstorm over the city had a tremoundous light show and the rooftop of the hotel provided awesome views.

When I got back to my room I was in for a shock when I couldn't find my alarm clock, and without an alarm I knew my bod y wouldn't wake by 5:30 am on its own to catch an early bus to Jerusalem.

At least by staying up I caught a taxi early and boarded the first 6am bus to Jerusalem!!!! I can always sleep in NYC, so it didn't really matter. That's my favorite rainy Sunday afternoon pastime anyway.

More soon.

I had no choice but to stay awake ALL NIGHT - UGHHHHHHH. Found out later it was "borrowed" by someone in the room, so I did get in back in the end!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What was I thinking?

What was I smoking when I thought I could bike aroun the Sea Of Galilee??? Its 21 km long and 55 km circumfrence, do the math in miles, that's long. Not a problem for a 60 degree day in May in NYC, but with the temp near 100 and no shade on the road, I was dying. I started from Tiberius at around 10:30 and got to Tabgha, near Capernum by almost 1. I stopped there at a lovely church for some shade and some cold water refill then continued on to Capernum. Had to miss the Mt of Beatitudes as it was a steep climb and I no my limits.

There is nothing much left of Capernum, just remains of the Synagogue where Jesus would preach, and parts of St Peter's house.

There was a garden in the back with lots of shade to sit and look out on the lake, so I took advantage before heading back.

I finally rolled into Tiberius at around 4, so it was a smart move since the bike shop closed at 6. I ended up just going by the water and having a tall cold beer and just relax by the lake.
Tiberius is a actually a cute lakeside town, a bit of a throwback from the 70s, but endearing all the same.

I rolled into Tel Aviv where my agenda is only to relax. My only requirement is to get my visa from Jordan since its not issued at the particular border I am crossing at.

Then some beach time since I am only 5 mins away, and then dinner with my friend Paulina that I used to know from NYC.

I will probably not be posting tomorrow night, and Friday I cross into Jordan, an all day event to Amman. I will psot that night once settled at my hostel.

Saturday morning is my planned trip to Petra, then Sunday home.

All for now.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tel Aviv - Part 2

Since I was already at the Central Bus Station when I arrived, I bought my ticket for tommorow for Tiberius (about 2 hours away to the east). I plan on renting a bike and biking around the Sea of Galilee and visiting Capernum and other historical biblical spots. The sea is referred to as Lake Kinneret here in Israel is only 37km around. Should be a 5 hour ride more or less.

My hostel in Tel Aviv is in a great location, only 4 blocks or so from the coast of he Mediterranean and near lots of shops, cafes, etc..

Again, only 25 USD per night for shared room. This one is alot cleaner than the one in Jerusalem but the staff is a bit snootier.

They do have a nice deck, so I can sit here and use the wireles while watching the world go by.

All for now.

Getting a bit tired and actually looking forward to my bathtub. I am starting to stink. Not me, but my clothes as I keep wearing the same ones over and over, even though I apparently packed for 2 weeks in the South of france.

Love to all

cha cha

Hello from Tel Aviv

Finally made it to Tel Aviv where I will be here until Friday when I depart for Jordan. THis morning I caught a bus to the Dead Sea, didn't make it Ein Gid where most people go, I actually opted for Kahli beach which was perfect for what I wanted. Small amounts of people, plenty of mud, and lots of salty water to soak in. The floating sensation is amazing, and although I heard you can walk on the water, I was unable to. But I packed a ton of mud on, and let it bake in. Quite an interesting experience. Its so squishy underneath your feet, just reach down and slather it on. Alot of fun. Took some cute pics but agian with the other camera.

I only spent a few hours as it was HOT and the buses coming back were not that frequent. When I got back into town I had enough time for a cheap street schwarma from the Arabs (they make the best and they are the cheapest) then headed for Tel Aviv on a sherut (shared taxi)]

End of post 1

Monday, April 25, 2011


Slept in a bit this morning and then toured "Christ's Tomb" which is the other reported spot of his crucifiction and resurrection. Its a lovely garden once believed to have belonged to Joseph of Arimithea. After that I wandered on to yet another tomb, the tomb of the Virgin Mary, which is really quite lovely and sits at the base of the Mount Of Olives. I then proceeded to walk up the Mount of Olives, which is quite steep but very beautiful and well worth the trek up, even in the heat of the day. The olive trees are magnificent and the views of the Old City are amazing. I will try and post pics if my laptop allows. THere is also a large Jewish cemetary to the right, where its rumoured that Oskar Schindler is buried.

At this point I decided to head back to Damascus gate to catch the 21 bus to Bethelem. Its quite easy, only a 20 min ride or so and getting in was no issue, its just getting out that can be problematic if you are not a tourist.

This was by far one of my favorite places. The Palestenian people are wonderful and I loved just wandering the streets of Bethlehem as the afternoon sun set in over the century old buildings. I eventually made it to the Church of the Nativity and then the Church of the Grotto. I had to take a cab though to Shepards Field, which is lovely garden about 2 km east.

The gray security wall is quite depressing and the security checkpoint, cold and oddly automated.

After taking my bus back into Jerusalem I bought some fresh veggies and some hummus for dinner.

All for now, heading to the Dead Sea tomororw then to Tel Aviv!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tomorrow's plan

Tomorrow (Monday) in Jerusalem I'm hoping to still see the Dome of Christ, a few other chruches as well as the Mount of Olives.

A slight revision to my itenirary, is that I would like to visit the West Bank / Palestinian territory tomorrow as its only a half hour bus ride away and Bethlehem is in the heart of it.

It would be interesting to see how life is on the other side as well, as I hear its very rough in the refugee camps.

I will post again tomorrow night and promise to get some more photos as well.

Love to all,

Easter Sunday

Have tried to post this twice tonight but laptop keeps failing so here are the facts, just short and sweet:

Got into bed at 5am and woke up at 9am, so do the math, I'm exhausted! Its after 11pm here so def turning in soon.

Paid 6 bucks for Nescafe coffee - love those tourist prices! Grabbed an apple and my free map nad hit the Old City (where I am staying also)

Followed the Via Dolorosa, which is the path of Crist from his Judgment from Pontius Pilate to his crucifiction and resurrection. Mind you the last 3 stations are in the Church of the Holy Selpchure that I visited last night.

I also visited the following:

Site of the Last Supper
Tomb of King David
Wester Wall of Temple of the Mount
Church of the Domination
Muslim, Christian and Jewish Quarters of the Old City

and also menaged to go thru 4 of the 6 gates of entry into the old city. Need to Hit Herod's gate tomorrow as well as one other............

Cheap eats in the Arabic Quarter and interesting mix of church bells and Call to Prayer. My hostel has a nice rooftop, which is perfect int he afternoon to avoid the sun.

Happy Easter to all