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Jerusalem - Israel

Jerusalem – Israel

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The City of David

Continuing on our tour in Israel, we move onto the tourist destination number one in the country. One of the oldest cities in the world. Considered the holy center of the three Abrahamic Religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A city where continuous fight has never stopped through the curse of history. Palestinians claim it as their land, while Israelis do the same. Sacred for over 3000 years to Judaism, for 2000 years to Christianity and 1400 years to Islam. Three religions colliding with each other in a rather small piece of land.

It is believed Jesus was brought here after his birth, and that the Last Supper took place at the Mount Zion at the same building housing the tomb of King David. It is also also place where the crucifixion took place at the Calvary, known as Golgotha.

Although not unanimously approved by all nations, it acts as the capital of Israel, yet there are no embassies in the city as all are located in Tel Aviv instead. And then is Palestine that also claims the city as their territory, considering it the capital of the State of Palestine. Not far from the city you can see the separation walls built by Israel in order to control the border and land of each of the territories acting as a security measure too between the ever conflicting nations. (more…)

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Read more about the article Masada and the Desert of Judea – Israel
Masada - Israel

Masada and the Desert of Judea – Israel

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The last Jewish holdout to fall to Rome

On a rather unplanned and unexpected free extra day that happened out of miracle; well, I confess, because of having nothing else to see and do back in Tel Aviv as we saw everything in just one day (and even less!), this was the best that could have happened in the trip. Masada. Although I heard of this place before, I did not even think of it nor remembered when i planned the Israel tour. Too short time and too much already in the agenda. But was thanks to my friend who reminded it to me that If any some spare time, we should not miss the chance of getting here.

Not only this worked great, but also the route we took to get there. We did only know about 3 possible routes. One we discarded immediately merely because it crosses through Palestine in quite a disputed area, but the other 2 we only selected the shortest one. Glad this was the choice! From Arad, were both of the routes lead to Masada, one avoids the Judea Desert and goes towards the Dead Sea where one of the entrances to Masada is. The easiest route and easiest access via the cable car. But the other enters the Judea Desert and crosses incredible beautiful scenery, and offers the best view of the entire Masada and the Dead Sea from far and above. As I will also remind you below under the transportation section, do not hesitate in choosing the route you want to drive. This is for sure your best bet.

Although there are day tours that leave from elsewhere in Israel, most common from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem of Bethlehem, those are of higher cost than if renting a car instead and specially if you are more than one person travelling. Driving in Israel is easy due to the good road network though a bit chaotic in the cities. Masada after all is just that, the ancient fortification, something you can see in 2 hours no more, therefore that making the trip worth it coupled with something else which is even along your way, will give you a wider look to this region.


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Read more about the article Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee – Israel
Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee - Israel

Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee – Israel

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Named after Roman Emperor Tiberius

Squeezing to the limit on an already extremely busy non-stop day we managed to somehow leave Nazareth with just enough time before the sunset and make a quick visit to Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee. And all thanks that we had a rental car we were able to do this as otherwise depending on public transportation would have been probably impossible to visit everything in just one day, unless visiting just the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth and nothing else and quickly leaving the city for the Sea of Galilee as unfortunately most of the organised tours do.

At only 40 kilometers to the north east of Nazareth it’s a quick and easy drive there. For us this was more of a “we must reach this place so we can say we’ve been there” just because of the Biblical means, rather than a properly pre-planned excursion, although a much realistic reason was our incredible shortage of spare time. I would have preferred to have had enough time to spend a whole day circling the entire Sea of Galilee, that’s for sure.

Although much of the ancient city was destroyed years back in natural disasters as earthquakes and flooding from the Sea of Galilee, the little that remained (apart from religious constructions) was razed in 1949 over objections of who owned the houses. Saying this, do not expect to see a beautiful city unfortunately. And even on the last years there has been a better track of preservation and reconstruction projects, there is not much from the original Roman, Crusaders, Ottoman and newer eras. Instead, ugly large hotels aligning the main promenade and some historical buildings behind. (more…)

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Read more about the article Nazareth – Israel
Nazareth - Israel

Nazareth – Israel

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Home of Joseph and Mary, the childhood home of Jesus

On our second stop for this tour around Israel, we visited the historic and biblical city of Nazareth combined with a short visit to Tiberias, the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River which are barely 40 kilometers farther to the east of Nazareth. 140 kilometers would be the total farthest distance to drive between Tel Aviv and the Sea of Galilee. We knew our overall time in Israel was meant to be very really compressed in visiting as many places as we could fit but thankfully we did something very good out of it by renting a car for the whole duration of our stay in Israel, which in turn, saved us from what would have been otherwise, countless hours spent waiting for trains, buses, and local buses to move around in the cities.

Nazareth was for us a first glimpse about how biblical the entire country is. Something we would experience everywhere from this day across every of the places we visited afterwards. It is literally on every turn we did, there was a place believed to be site of any of the events in the life of Jesus if talking about Christian Catholics, and the same for Jews and Muslims. In any case, this is pretty much the sense of coming to the “Holy Land” after all, and even if you believe or not, or whatever the religion you might believe it is well worth the trip.

Nazareth is a medium size city what makes it great for a day trip from wherever you are in Israel (of course unless you are by the farthest destinations as those around the Red Sea). But coming here from Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem of Bethlehem is what almost every tourist do. (more…)

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Read more about the article Tel Aviv – Israel
Tel Aviv - Israel

Tel Aviv – Israel

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The Old New Land

Finally the moment we decided to go to Israel came. It has been for some years now in our “near future plans”, but was always been postponed on behalf of other destinations, mostly price related. I have to say flying here is not the cheapest, specially if having to do it on some sort of precise dates in order to coincide with any bank holiday or weekends in between to expand the stay, and more important, having in consideration that flying on Friday or Saturday would mean an extra cost for being stranded at the airport with no other transportation to the city than over expensive taxis because of Sabbath.

So Tel Aviv would be for us the entry point and start of a much bigger and overloaded tour where in each day we would be in a different city or even more than one. But for now, let me tell you my personal opinion on this city.

On my original plans, this was going to be a 2 full days visit, plus some hours on the last day before having to get back to the airport to fly back into London. On the last bit, we re-arranged it the way of spending the last hours in Jerusalem, and thanks goodness for that. Why comes soon explained… Then, what happened to the second day planned for Tel Aviv? Well, it happened that on the day of arrival, and with the help of landing super early at 5.00am giving us plenty of time, we saw absolutely everything! Now let me resume this in saying Tel Aviv has almost nothing to be seen plus its in overall quite ugly, run down and dirty city. And so for the spare day that now we had extra, we used for one of the best day trips we could have ever done while in Israel, Masada and the Desert of Judea(more…)

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