All posts filed under: Middle East

Travel isn’t always pretty – An eye-opening tour of Hebron, West Bank

I stood in the Abraham Hostel lobby in Jerusalem, 15 min to 9 am, looking around the group. People sipped their coffees and the room was full with the casual air of small talk. This could have been any day and any tour, except that it wasn’t. In a few minutes, we would be on our way to Hebron – the most conflicted and troubled city in the Middle East. Shortly, a young chirpy girl marched in with Eliyahu McLean, our guide for the day. She called out our names, checking them off her list rapidly. Eliyahu was an orthodox Jew – as I could see from the Kippah (cloth skullcap) and Payot (long curly side locks) he adorned. He told us that we would walk to the Central Bus Station and then ride out to Hebron, 30km north of Jerusalem. As we left the city and the bus picked up speed, Eliyahu told us that he ran Jerusalem Peacemakers, an interfaith organization that promoted peaceful dialogue and reconciliation between Israel and Palestine. As part …

Israel to Jordan by land – What to expect when crossing the Beit She’an border

As I sat in the plane, I felt uneasy about the impending chaos. Our trip had begun, but we barely had an itinerary and barring the apartment in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem(which were also booked in the last 48 hours), we hadn’t made any arrangements elsewhere. We had booked a return flight from Amman, Jordan since we got cheaper tickets to fly back to Delhi from there, but we had no clue on how we would get there. I had vouched in 2018 that I will be more spontaneous on trips, but this was stretching my limits and spending precious time on the internet trying to figure things out while I could be seeing more of a new place was something that gave me a lot of discomfort. But here I was, on a plane to Israel, ready to take-off and I decided to reassure myself that things would be okay. It wasn’t a surprise really that things turned out this way. A close couple friend was keen to take some time off and explore …

In Photos : What I did in Israel!

It was after spending a fair amount of time discussing on where to go, that we closed in on Israel. I  remember exactly what tilted our decision – a Youtube video with this guy trying to find the best eats in Jerusalem. He was overly enthusiastic and smiling too much, while stuffing his face with the gooey goodness of hummus  but it was just what I needed to make up my mind. We had friends joining us and as the respective families got whiff of our plans, growing concerns about our choice of country threatened to derail the plan. Anyway, the dust settled and we booked our tickets and on a breezy Thursday night, we landed in Tel Aviv. My research had convinced me that Tel Aviv is very cosmopolitan and fun, and it was. The not so fun part was that I had a crazy case of bed bug bites our second night, and by the morning it got so bad that the crazy bites became massive red bumps that itched like hell. We …