Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Journey's End

It’s been a wild and awesome journey, but i find myself at the journey’s end.

As you read this i am enjoying some R and R with Ma and Pa in north France who feared i would only return in a body-bag.

I’ll add a few more postings on my return in June, for your information, but you’ve pretty much had your lot.

A big thank you must go to:

Ying – for so much cyber-sharing for much of the trip

Bubba – for fantastic travel ideas throughout Africa

A massive variety of travel companions on the road

Guardian Angel for everything and to whom this blog is completely dedicated to

I know several readers have followed my entire journey. We have covered 14 countries (15 if you count Palestine as a separate entity – and i do) in some 13months. I welcome your feedback on what you have liked/enjoyed as well as constructive criticism in the comments below.

This blog site will shortly be closing down as i need to move to a site with a much greater degree of anonymity. If you are interested in following further scribbling and photographs you will have to write to me in person to subscribe to my next blog site. – at the discretion of the author.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ciao Israel

One gets the feeling that the vast majority of the population of Israel want peace, yet 53 years after independence; it remains a war-zone. Rockets fly in from Gaza, bags are searched when entering any building, be it a bus station or a supermarket, and 18 year old kids in and out of uniforms walk around with AK47s.

It affects every aspect of every life in Israel whether Arab or Jewish, and is embedded in the national psyche. It’s easy to make simplistic generalizations about the situation in Israel, but in reality, it is far more complex. I have seen firsthand internal hostility between both Arabs and Jews.

I am very much indebted to family and friends here in Israel who have welcomed and spoilt me at every opportunity. I have eaten loads and will return to Europe weighing considerably more than when i started this journey. I certainly shan’t wait another 27 years to return. Without their generosity i would not have been able to stay as long as i have – Israel is really expensive.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rosh Hanikra

Rosh Hanikra is the most northerly point along the Mediterranean coast bordering Lebanon and is billed by the Israeli Tourist Board as “a love story between the Sea and the Mountain”. It has also been declared as a nature reserve with annual turtle nestings.

the Elephant's Foot

The site claims to have the steepest cable car ride in the World and allows the travellist to visit The Grotto, the cliffs, the old railway tunnel and watch an infomercial.

the British built railway line blown up in 1948 by Zionists

electric colours in the Grottos

the border-post with Lebanon - no entry for many a year

It’s a pretty cool trip.

the world's steepest cable car journey

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Akko (Acre)

the beautiful Old City of Akko - deservedly a World Heritage Site

Akko (Acre) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a classic example of a Mediterranean fortress town. The Old Town is small, but perfectly formed, north of Haifa on the coast. It is believed to be one of the oldest continually lived in settlements in Israel, dating back to 16BC. 95% of the old city is Arab.

Khan al-Umdan in the Old City

The outer walls were constructed in 1799 by Ahmed Pasha al Jazzar following Napolean’s thwarted attempt to take the city.

a 19th century mortar on the old battlements

The Old Souq has been cleaned up and there are several sites spread out over town, including Turkish baths, plenty of historical mosques and the Templar tunnels which have unfortunately flooded during my visit.

For eating, a visit to Humus Said is a must – some of the best ubiquitous beige stuff found in Israel is served up continuously. It’s worth the wait.

The place is crowded with Israeli tourists on Saturdays.

The new city lacks the old charm but is an important pilgrimage site for Baha’is.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Haifa is Israel’s third city on the Mediterranean coastline on Mount Carmel with a population with a population of some 300,000 people. In comparison to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv it is somewhat provincial but is nonetheless an interesting city, with a few sites (not least the Baha’i Gardens), museums and galleries.

over the city

The city is multi-tiered with the port and the trendy German Colony at the bottom of Mount Carmel, the Arab community and commercial district in Wadi Nisnas and the Carmel Centre at the upper side of the mountain where the Well To Do have built quality expensive apartments.

clouds over the city

tomatoes grown locally and sold in the daily market

The Carmelit is Israel’s only Metro system which travels through all these areas for about NIS5 per journey.

Zev has an apartment in the German Colony- the trendiest place in town

We take our breakfast at the City Center Plaza at the bottom of Ben Gurion Avenue and indeed all the restaurants in the German Colony are popular.

In December Christmukkah is celebrated incorporating Eid, Christmas and Hannukah, reflecting Haifa’s multi-cultural community.

sunset over Haifa

Further up Mount Carmel lies several Druze villages which are very popular with Israelis on Saturdays.

There is also Mount Carmel monastery established in the 19th century which offers excellent views from the top of the roof and some pleasant gardens.