Visiting Jerusalem & the West Bank (Hebron & Bethlehem). And 1 more time Dubai
11.04.2010 - 22.04.2010
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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.
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.
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.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Last Thursday I landed back in Dubai and spent my last days there with my uncle and auntie
One evening I joined a desert safari in Dubai/Sharjah.
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.
Sunday we had an amazing dinner at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel just next to the Burj Al Arab.
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!