A Travellerspoint blog

"HE IS NOT HERE - FOR HE IS RISEN"

Visiting Jerusalem & the West Bank (Hebron & Bethlehem). And 1 more time Dubai

sunny 11 °C
View Middle East on Nadia88's travel map.

ISRAEL
After staying in Tel Aviv for 3 nights we decided to go to Jerusalem. Only heard from stories - this place now became very realistic.
Garden Tomb

Garden Tomb


Holocaust Memorial

Holocaust Memorial

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Jewish Quarter

Jewish Quarter

Western Wall

Western Wall

Jewish Quarter

Jewish Quarter

Stations of the Via Dolorosa

Stations of the Via Dolorosa

St. Mary Magdalene Church on the Mount of Olives

St. Mary Magdalene Church on the Mount of Olives

Jerusalem

Jerusalem

My first camel ride experience on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem

My first camel ride experience on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem

Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock

Temple Mount

Temple Mount

Temple Mount

Temple Mount

Temple Mount

Temple Mount

Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock

Via Dolorosa

Via Dolorosa

CIMG1212.jpgGarden Tomb - The burial place of Jesus

Garden Tomb - The burial place of Jesus


Garden Tomb

Garden Tomb

Jewish kids in Jerusalem

Jewish kids in Jerusalem

Kippa - Jewish skullcap

Kippa - Jewish skullcap


I have never seen so many churches in my life and watching religious people lining up for hours only to kiss a monument is quite intense.

Tuesday we planned a day trip to the West Bank as we wanted to visit the Palestinian territories as well. By local minibus we went to Hebron (the 2nd biggest city in the West Bank) and stayed there for some hours before we moved on to Bethlehem. We noticed a big difference here as people are much poorer, cities are more dirty and by talking to a lot of locals we realised that every single Palestinian there is somehow affected by the historic events and the current Jewish settlements.
In Hebron we walked through the city and were often stopped by local Palestinians that wanted to tell us their story, invite us to their family homes and show us where the Jewish have their settlements. We visited the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron that is split into 2 parts. One entrance for Muslim people and one entrance for the Jewish. As one of the only persons we were allowed to enter both parts after we ensured the officials that we were Christian. This division was installed as in 1994 a Jewish resident had opened fire and many Muslims were killed at the Mosque.
Entrance from Jerusalem into the Palestinian territories

Entrance from Jerusalem into the Palestinian territories

Hebron, West Bank

Hebron, West Bank

Palestinian water tanks shot by the Israelis in Hebron, West Bank

Palestinian water tanks shot by the Israelis in Hebron, West Bank


Visiting a family in Hebron, West Bank

Visiting a family in Hebron, West Bank

Hebron, West Bank

Hebron, West Bank

Hebron, West Bank

Hebron, West Bank


CIMG1258.jpgCIMG1262.jpgMuslime Entrance to Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron, West Bank

Muslime Entrance to Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron, West Bank


Muslim part of the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron

Muslim part of the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron

Jewish part of the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron

Jewish part of the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron

Jewish part of the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron

Jewish part of the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron

The Super Jew next to the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron

The Super Jew next to the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron

CIMG1297.jpgTurkey's in Hebron

Turkey's in Hebron

In Bethlehem we visited the Church of Nativity that was full of group-tour-tourists, especially from the Catholic countries Italy and Poland. Then we passed by an SOS children's Village by the United Nations. And in the end of the day we saw part of the "Apartheid Wall" that the Israelis are building around the West Bank. There we had to go through some extensive checking & passport controls when we wanted to cross the wall to get back to Jerusalem.
CIMG1310.jpgChurch of Nativity

Church of Nativity

Church of Nativity

Church of Nativity

Jewish Settlement in Bethlehem

Jewish Settlement in Bethlehem

Bethlehem SOS Children's Village

Bethlehem SOS Children's Village

AIDA Refugee Camp

AIDA Refugee Camp

Apartheid Wall in Bethlehem

Apartheid Wall in Bethlehem

Apartheid Wall in Bethlehem

Apartheid Wall in Bethlehem

Passing the Wall in the West Bank

Passing the Wall in the West Bank

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

JORDAN
Last Wednesday, Michele and I crossed the border from Israel to Jordan again and we were back in Amman around midday. Michele was moving on to Syria where I had already been and I used my last day to visit Jerash, an archeological site in the North of Jordan.

CIMG1396.jpg
Temple of Artemis in Jerash

Temple of Artemis in Jerash

North Theater in Jerash

North Theater in Jerash

Jerash

Jerash

Jerash

Jerash

Jerash

Jerash


Hippodrome in Jerash

Hippodrome in Jerash

School girls visiting Jerash

School girls visiting Jerash

Oval Plaza in Jerash

Oval Plaza in Jerash

Sugar Cane Juice in Amman

Sugar Cane Juice in Amman

Fresh Sugar Cane Juice in Amman

Fresh Sugar Cane Juice in Amman

This funny guy in Amman showed me how to fix his head scarf tightly

This funny guy in Amman showed me how to fix his head scarf tightly

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Last Thursday I landed back in Dubai and spent my last days there with my uncle and auntie:)
Landing in Dubai

Landing in Dubai

The Palm Islands

The Palm Islands


One evening I joined a desert safari in Dubai/Sharjah.

on the way into the desert - sand stor,!

on the way into the desert - sand stor,!

Desert Safari

Desert Safari

Desert Safari

Desert Safari

Desert Safari - with extreme wind conditions

Desert Safari - with extreme wind conditions

Desert Safari

Desert Safari

Arabian Nights

Arabian Nights

Arabian Nights

Arabian Nights

Arabian Nights - Action photo

Arabian Nights - Action photo

Arabian Nights - Belly Dancing

Arabian Nights - Belly Dancing

Last Saturday the 3 of us visited Abu Dhabi, its great new Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the Emirates Palace and the Yas Island Marina Grand Prix circuit with its Yas Hotel.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Mosque


Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Emirates Palace

Emirates Palace

Emirates Palace

Emirates Palace

Yas Hotel

Yas Hotel

Yas Island Marina Grand Prix circuit

Yas Island Marina Grand Prix circuit

Ibn Battuta Mall

Ibn Battuta Mall

Ibn Battuta Mall

Ibn Battuta Mall

Sunday we had an amazing dinner at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel just next to the Burj Al Arab.
Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab

Dinner at Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Dinner at Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

View from Jumeirah Beach Hotel

View from Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Dinner at Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Dinner at Jumeirah Beach Hotel


Following the news about the active Eyjafjallajökull volcano, it was very unclear whether I was able to take my flight to Paris because of the ash in the air. Even after the check-in I was told that "anything can happen" so I was relieved when the plane finally took off last Tuesday. Now I spent 2 days in Paris, meeting up with friends again and collecting my belongings at several places. And in a couple of hours I'll take the train back home to Switzerland! Looking forward to see most of you there!

Thanks everyone for reading/commenting my blog! And thank you very much Harold & Petra for allowing me this great time with you in Dubai & Oman!

Posted by Nadia88 22.04.2010 04:27 Archived in France Tagged air_travel Comments (1)

Loved Jordan's Wadi Mujibe & off to Israel!!

sunny 26 °C
View Middle East on Nadia88's travel map.

I had chosen last Thursday to cross the border since opening times are limited on Fridays and Saturdays and before Thursday, Easter celebrations were going on and making travelling difficult..

So before going to Israel I had Tuesday and Wednesday still to see some more of Jordan. Together with a British couple we took a service taxi (shared taxi) for the day and first stopped at Madaba to see the famous Mosaic arts and nicely decorated churches like the St. Georges church with a big Mosaic on its inside floor that shows a map of the Middle East with the Dead Sea in the center of it.famous Mosaic on the floor of the floor of St. George church in Madaba

famous Mosaic on the floor of the floor of St. George church in Madaba


Then we drove to Mount Nebo from where Moses is said to have seen the Promised Land.Mount Nebo

Mount Nebo

Mount Nebo

Mount Nebo


And in the afternoon we finally arrived at the Dead Sea! It's an amazing way driving to Amman Beach, seeing massive rocks (some canyons) to the left and the Dead Sea to the right (with Israel in the background). Swimming in the Dead Sea (or at least trying to) was a joy itself. Even though almost everyone has seen the ridiculous pictures already - it's not less weird to be in it! In this sea you have to relax as swimming is hardly possible (we couldn't keep our feet down).
Relaxing in the Dead Sea - Jordan Side

Relaxing in the Dead Sea - Jordan Side


Wednesday I again went to the Dead Sea as the Wadi Mujibe Nature Reserve is just next to it. There I did the 2-hour Siq tour, walking through the "river" and climbing up/sliding down waterfalls. For me one of the highlights during my travelling! (I kept tattered trousers and some scratches as a souvenir)
90_CIMG0971.jpg90_CIMG0965.jpgCIMG0974.jpg
90_CIMG0982.jpg

CIMG0991.jpgthis guy gave me a 2hour lift from Wadi Mujibe back to Amman with his (very very slow) truck full of tomatoes!

this guy gave me a 2hour lift from Wadi Mujibe back to Amman with his (very very slow) truck full of tomatoes!

Last Thursday, the border crossing to Israel was surprisingly easy and only took about 3 hours all in all (Jordan exit formalities & Israeli entry formalities) without further complications! Just before the border I met Michele, an Italian Full-time-Around-the-world-traveller and we decided to go together to Tel Aviv!! First beautiful sunset at the beach SEEN, first incredible party night EXPERIENCED (wow what a contradiction to the covered up, rather stiff and actually nonexistent Arab nightlife scene), first hangover HAD, and off to the beach! The Beach is great and today we met up with 2 Israeli friends of Michele, had some tasty local breakfast along the Beach and played Monopoly cards.
LIFE IS SO GOOD
first sight of Israel after the border

first sight of Israel after the border

Michele behind the lense as so often

Michele behind the lense as so often

Sunset in Tel Aviv

Sunset in Tel Aviv


CIMG1019.jpgCIMG1032.jpgCIMG1039.jpg

CIMG1063.jpgCIMG1065.jpgCIMG1068.jpgCIMG1060.jpgCIMG1071.jpg

Posted by Nadia88 10.04.2010 10:41 Archived in Israel Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Easter in Syria

A new week, a new country...

sunny 25 °C
View Middle East on Nadia88's travel map.

Hope you had great Easter holidays!
My Easter was clearly different this year.


Having heard great stories about Damascus in Syria from other travellers, last Monday I decided quite spontaneously to cross the border from Jordan to Syria with one of the popular service taxis. Travelling by service taxi means that you go to the local bus station and wait until 4 people gather that are interested in going to the same destination. This way you only pay 1/4 of the actual taxi fare.
In Damascus I stayed in an athmospheric backpackers hotel where I instantly met people to explore the city with.
Al-Rabie Backpackers Hotel

Al-Rabie Backpackers Hotel


Some of the highlights of Damascus were the Umayyad Mosque, the Azem Palace, the numerous Souqs & street life, the restaurants and local Easter celebrations.
Umayyad Mosque

Umayyad Mosque

Azem Palace

Azem Palace

Azem Palace

Azem Palace

Traditional Wedding Shoes

Traditional Wedding Shoes

Souq al-Hamidiyya

Souq al-Hamidiyya


Damascus

Damascus


offering weight measurement

offering weight measurement


CIMG0748.jpgview over Damascus

view over Damascus


Food is found everywhere in the streets:
fresh Almonds sold everywhere

fresh Almonds sold everywhere

Figs (on first sight I thought it was dog food)

Figs (on first sight I thought it was dog food)

CIMG0864.jpg
creative Food

creative Food


Last Thursday I joined an Auzzie couple to one of the most popular archeaological sites in Syria called PALMYRA. The remains of this city were really impressing and we had fun exploring them. Every few minutes beduins were approaching to sell some camel-bone-necklesses. The beduines (=nomades) really do have a different way of growing up, e.g. we met a little beduine girl hardly able to speak but she greeted us with "candy, candy, money, money" pointing towards her lips!
CIMG0828.jpg
Palmyra

Palmyra

Palmyra

Palmyra

Palmyra

Palmyra

Palmyra

Palmyra


Just before sunset we climbed the highest of the Towers of Yemliko. As this is not allowed we had to cross a gate..
Palmyra - Tower of Yemliko

Palmyra - Tower of Yemliko


Palmyra - breaking into the tower

Palmyra - breaking into the tower


CIMG0835.jpg
After visiting Palmyra in the evening I travelled to Aleppo by myself as the 2 Australians were staying in Palmyra for the night.
Aleppo is a slighly smaller city and appeared very quiet as I was visiting on Friday (= a holiday). Just before enterig the Great Mosque I met a guide who was leading 2 Americans around Syria and they offered me to join for free! After hearing all the details about the Mosque, which is about 10 years younger than the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, we moved on to see the Citadel (city castle). At the end of the day I lingered through the Christian quarter in Aleppo, right on time to see an Easter ceremony.
The Great Mosque

The Great Mosque

Citadel in Aleppo

Citadel in Aleppo

Swiss Embassy in Aleppo

Swiss Embassy in Aleppo

Easter in Aleppo

Easter in Aleppo

shop owner offered me to check out the traditional Aleppo outfits

shop owner offered me to check out the traditional Aleppo outfits


For the weekend I was back in Damascus and got to see more of the Easter traditions.

Now back in Amman I'll be going to the Dead Sea. Thursday I will try to cross the border towards Israel. However, I met several travellers that were denied when trying to get into Israel recently so wish me luck!:)

Posted by Nadia88 05.04.2010 10:12 Archived in Syria Tagged backpacking Comments (4)

Friendly Jordanians...

From the Capital Amman to the Wadi Al-Mujibe Canyon, Castle of Karak, Shobak Castle, and the popular Petra in Wadi Musa

sunny 16 °C
View Middle East on Nadia88's travel map.

First of all, yes the rumours are true - Jordians are so helpful and extremely nice!

I was really relieved to arrive at the Airport in Amman last Tuesday as the flight was extremely shaky when we were near to Amman. There was a sand storm that we could even observe from the air. What first seemed exciting soon got uncomfortable as we really had to keep on to the handles and people in the row behind me started being sick.. BUT, after 2 or 3 attemps we arrived safe and sound as the sand storm had moved away.

Downtown Amman is really busy and chaotic and as a European solo traveller I got quite some attention, especially from the shop owners. I kept hearing phrases like "Welcome, welcome", "Foreign girl, where are u from?", "Welcome to Jordan", "Good morning, I love you" etc haha. In downtown Amman 99% of the people are tradionally dressed. Culture shock guaranteed..
CIMG0385.jpg
Downtown Amman

Downtown Amman


CIMG0406.jpg
lunch at the Wild Jordan Center

lunch at the Wild Jordan Center


CIMG0430.jpgCIMG0436.jpgCIMG0458.jpgCIMG0463.jpg
The next day I also went to see other parts of Amman where people lived more modern. In the city it is really easy to get to know locals - I even went to a shisha-cafe with 2 of them, which was great as they could tell me a lot about their country. And they showed me places that I'd otherwise never seen.
A night out in Amman with 2 locals

A night out in Amman with 2 locals


Thursday I travelled to Petra with a group of people and we stopped on the way for a view on the canyon of Wadi Al-Mujibe, and visiting the Castles Karak and Shobak.
Wadi Mujibe

Wadi Mujibe

Wadi Mujibe

Wadi Mujibe


Karak Castle

Karak Castle

Karak Castle

Karak Castle

Karak Castle

Karak Castle


Cave used by employees at Shobak Castle

Cave used by employees at Shobak Castle

Shobak Castle

Shobak Castle

Shobak Castle

Shobak Castle

Shobak Castle

Shobak Castle


The first day in Petra was great, I saw the big sights (Treasury, high point of sacrifice, main theater, tunnel etc..) that also appear in the Indiana Jones movies. And with a group of Isrealis + 1 American girl that I had met at the hostel, we did a long exhausting off-trail hike where we didn't have to handle with all the touristic sites. In Petra we also spoke with the Beduins that work there (selling souvenirs, cleaning, offering horse- or camel-rides). 25 Years ago the government bought Petra, hence the Beduins that used to live in the caves were offered a house in Wadi Musa. However, as there were not enough accommodation, some of the Beduins still live in the caves of Petra.
CIMG0515.jpgthe Treasury in Petra

the Treasury in Petra

The treasury in Petra

The treasury in Petra

Copy_of_CIMG0549.jpgCopy_of_CIMG0554.jpgCopy_of_CIMG0558.jpgCopy_of_CIMG0577.jpgCopy_of_CIMG0572.jpgCopy_of_CIMG0575.jpgBeduine kid

Beduine kid

Horse Clinic, Petra

Horse Clinic, Petra

CIMG0556.jpg
The second day in Petra was very rainy so I only stayed in Petra until mid-day (not before getting offered a free horse ride:D). In the afternoon I visited a Turkish bath for the very first time - and left veery relaaaxed.

The evening really saved the bad-weather day. The owner of the Turkish Bath invited me to join him and his cousin for a real Beduine-meal in a cave near little Petra. Wow - the food was great and the setting even better. Beautiful sunset out of civilization + candles to light the cave. I bet not many tourists got to see that!
free horse ride in Petra

free horse ride in Petra

Now, I'm back in Amman awaiting an original Humus dinner hmm..

Hope you all had a nice weekend!!

nadia

Posted by Nadia88 28.03.2010 19:47 Archived in Jordan Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Dubai & Oman

Huge Contrasts


View Middle East & Dubai & Oman on Nadia88's travel map.

Hi there!

A few hours ago I arrived in Amman (Jordan)!! and Wow I finally found an Internet cafe in this crazy city.

But before going on about Amman I devote this post to Dubai where I stayed the last couple of days, including a trip to Oman.

Last Thursday, the Flight with the A380 from Paris to Dubai was a real pleasure - personal computer with games, e-mail, movies, BBC news etc.. and even tough not allowed, I got a sneak peak into the business class that is located on the second floor of the airplane! Up there it looks like an actual living room - real cosy with a bar & lounge and everything. Still I was more than happy with my Economy seat as I felt treated like a first-class traveller anyways.

CIMG0043.jpg
CIMG0045.jpg

At Dubai Airport I saw the first 'Emirati' dressed in their traditional clothes - dishdash (long white robe) and guthra (headscarf) for men and abaya for women. Harold & Petra picked me up and on the way to their apartment I got some first impressions as we drove through the city.

CIMG0046.jpg
airport arrival hall

airport arrival hall

Friday everyone was off because this day represents "our Sunday" (no work, shops closed), whereas Saturday is just as our Saturday and Sunday is a usual working day. Anyways as Friday was off, Harold took me to visit the Atlantis Hotel on the Jumeirah Palm Island. The hotel is just huge; it includes a major aquarium, several pools, museums, shops, swimming with dolphins attraction etc.. Thank you staff for not noticing that we were walking trough all hotel without being actual guests:)

Jumeirah Palm Island

Jumeirah Palm Island


View from Jumeirah Beach Residence, the apartment I was staying in

View from Jumeirah Beach Residence, the apartment I was staying in


Atlantis Hotel

Atlantis Hotel


CIMG0061

CIMG0061


CIMG0064.jpg

CIMG0068

CIMG0068


CIMG0074

CIMG0074

That afternoon we went to the beach to swim for a long while before we got ready for a party of Harold & Petra's friends - a real expat gathering of mainly Dutch people. The difference to former parties was noticable, a catering crew of about 10 people was present, welcoming us with warm, scented washclothes as it is usual in many arabic countries. Some expats certainly brought up interesting stories in the conversation. For example, I spoke to a guy that had worked with Yasser Arafat when he was living in Gaza or a lady that was so used to her Philippine maid that she just cannot cook anymore. And the occation of the party: None!:) It was a fun party - especially when some of those great expats couldn't walk straight anymore. So I ended up driving my 2 hosts home.

CIMG0079.jpg

Saturday around noon we packed some camping gear and drove off to Oman. Wow what a difference - once you leave the city of Dubai there is nothing but sand, date palms, camels and once in a while a hut. In contrast to the UAE, Oman has several mountains. The border was surprisingly easy to pass in a 4wheeldrive Volvo van and within 2 hours we reached Hatta pools in Oman. This is a valley with lots of big rocks, natural pools and waterfalls. There we met a local who showed us where we could jump from the rocks and enjoy some swimming. (we were lucky as all this water will be gone in a few weeks time when it is too hot). Hence the local guy invited us to get into his car with him and we "drove" over this crazy uneven landscape. A wonder that the Jeep didn't fall over. OMG adrenaline pure, this guy must be insane - it definitely made the top 10 of dangerous things in my life!

CIMG0087.jpg
CIMG0092.jpg
CIMG0097.jpg
CIMG0117.jpg
CIMG0131.jpg
CIMG0134.jpg
CIMG0141.jpg

When the sun was starting to go down we found a nice site in the middle of nowhere to set up our tent and make a camp fire with the wood. This place really is so quite as not even a proper road reached it. Seeing 1000 stars we had a little picnic and went to sleep in such an amazing setting. We were afraid to sleep in as it would be too hot then to have breakfast and break down the tent etc but no worries as I woke up around 7am from a group of around 300 goats that passed by our camping site during 30min to reach the higher valley.
CIMG0148.jpg
CIMG0155.jpg
view from our camp site

view from our camp site


CIMG0167.jpg
CIMG0172.jpg
CIMG0184.jpg

Next day, Sunday we returned to the United Emirates and drove back to Dubai. Again I noticed this huge contrast between the Omani mountains and the Dubai skyscrapers.

CIMG0201

CIMG0201


CIMG0204.jpg

Back home I enjoyed another swim and relaxing at the beach (that is by the way right in front of Harold & Petra's apartment where I'm staying). When Harold drove to work (yes that's normal on Sundays here), he dropped me and Petra in Old Dubai and I went to see the Dubai museum. That afternoon I also saw the Indian quater with all its smells and spices and we visited a temple. We also crossed the Dubai creek with a rather old-fashioned travel modes: a little boat where one crossing costss 20 euro cents! Later we went to eat some great Indian thali for another 3 euro per person. Sunday evening we went to see Dubai mall (biggest in the world) and Burj Khalifa (highest tower in the world, previously called Burj Dubai), where a beautiful ffountain show was shown!

CIMG0219.jpg
CIMG0227.jpg
CIMG0237.jpg
crossing Dubai Creek

crossing Dubai Creek


Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa


CIMG0288.jpg

Monday I hung out by myself in the city. Unfortunatly, I was denied to enter the Hilton free bus service that leaves next to the apartment so I was forced to take a taxi to the Mall of Emirates. This is another huge mall consisting of many chains from all over the world (Stradivarius, H&M, Mango, Second Cup, Forever 21, Cold Stone, Gucci, Burberry etc) and even includes the famous indoor skiing center with snowpark, chairlift and apres-ski party rooms. Then I took the new over-ground metro (no surprise - when finished, it will be the largested automatic system) to "Khalid Bin Al Waleed" to see some more traditional shops. But luckily I don't have to say goodbye to Dubai yet as I will return here on 15 April for another few days..

Great to read all your comments on my blog!
Hope you enjoy to read a little about this so-different culture and so-modern city.

To be continued with stories on Jordan. I'll be off into the browsing city of Amman trying to find my way back to the hotel.

Toodaloo..

Posted by Nadia88 23.03.2010 22:23 Archived in United Arab Emirates Tagged automotive Comments (1)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 6) Page [1] 2 »