Middle East

A Day Trip to Tzfat

A Day Trip to Tzfat

Tzfat, a small town in the hills above the Sea of Galilee, is mostly known to be a centre of Kabbalah. Not so much the Western esoteric type practiced by well-known celebrities, but more Jewish mysticism that emerged from the 15th Century onwards in Ottoman […]

Via Dolorosa: a somewhat crowded pilgrimage

Via Dolorosa: a somewhat crowded pilgrimage

Just in time for Holy Week, here comes an account of my last day in Jerusalem, encompassing visits to Rachel’s Tomb, the Mount of Olives, and the Via Dolorosa. Among the lanes in Jerusalems Old City, the Via Dolorosa marks the last steps of Jesus […]

Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh…  gifts to bring back from Israel

Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh… gifts to bring back from Israel

Compared to most countries in Europe, including my native Germany, Israel is a rather expensive country. Ryanair hand luggage limitations and an already full apartment aside, my shopping sprees where somewhat limited by my 500 EURO budget for the entire trip, including flights, accommodation, food […]

The other side of the Wall: A journey to Rachel’s Tomb

The other side of the Wall: A journey to Rachel’s Tomb

To be honest with you: I first heard of the existence of Rachels Tomb when seeing the Destination Boards of Bethlehem-bound buses: Rachels’ Tomb/Checkpoint 300. It is not without irony that the place where the Hebrew Matriarch Rachel is buried now signifies a checkpoint between […]

Is it safe to visit the Mount of Olives?

Is it safe to visit the Mount of Olives?

In peaceful times, a trip up the Mount of Olives, for the stunning view over the Old City and the Temple Mount, is part of every itinerary of Jerusalem. Wonderful vistas aside, the Mount of Olives is also one of the sites where Jesus Christ […]

A morning on Temple Mount

A morning on Temple Mount

The Temple Mount is part of the Old City of Jerusalem and a site revered by Jews, Christinas and Muslims, and has a dramatic history, which carries on to the present day.   For people of the Jewish faith, it is the holiest site.  It […]

Arriving in the Holy Land and Jerusalem – finally!

Arriving in the Holy Land and Jerusalem – finally!

Jerusalem – Holy City of three faiths, contested for millennia, a destination that has long been on my list of places I wish to visit in my lifetime. For a long time, the Second Intifada put a stop to that, then I couldn’t find anyone […]

West Bank Banksies, Walls and Sweet Child Jesus: a Day in Bethlehem

West Bank Banksies, Walls and Sweet Child Jesus: a Day in Bethlehem

Bethlehem: I looked everywhere in my 2011 Bradt Guide, but couldn’t find it. What’s going on with Bethlehem? No wonder… Bethlehem is in the West Bank, one of the three Palestine Territories in Israel. So, it wasn’t even in the guide! (I believe many other guides […]

Visiting Sites on the West Bank of Luxor, and other Luxor Favourites

Visiting Sites on the West Bank of Luxor, and other Luxor Favourites

Luxor Airport was really small, and honestly, not much to shout about. A lot of Nile Cruise tourists would arrive in Hurghada by charter flight. So, forget about public transport from Luxor Airport to the town centre – a taxi it was, and the first […]

Abydos: Visit an underrated jewel in the Nile Valley

Abydos: Visit an underrated jewel in the Nile Valley

As previously reported, I was lucky to meet a German woman in one of the minor sites on the West Bank on my short trip to Luxor, we started talking, and before I knew it I had a neat individual itinerary of Nile Valley sights […]

Abu Simbel in a Day? Tricky but possible

Abu Simbel in a Day? Tricky but possible

Who isn’t interested in ancient Egypt? Probably very few people could deny any fascination with what remains of the Seven Wonders of the world, hieroglyphs and monumental temples. My earliest memories of them are from trips to my grandparents and the 1930’s history encylopaedia they […]