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Welcome, to our site! After living for some time in Israel and then in the UK we've now moved to Germany. We'd like to share our experiences with you. We hope you have as much fun reading as we have writing.

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December 2020
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Jerusalem, Wadi Kelt and the Dead Sea

Jerusalem was planned for sunday, but after checking the weather forecast we decided to rearrange our trip there to friday. Not really the best day to go there, we realised (again)… Sabbath starts on friday afternoon when the sun goes down, this time of year that’s around about 5pm. By that time religious jews want to be at home or even better: at the synagoge or the Wailing Wall. This means that as from 2pm shops may close and the number of Jews in Jerusalem will increase. We managed to see the high lights before this time of day: the souk, the Via Dolorosa, the Holy Sepulchre, the Wailing Wall. By the time we left de Wailing Wall dusk had settled in. People around us were either tourists leaving the city or jews on their way to the Wailing Wall. But we weren’t going home yet. We still wanted to take a look in the Dormition Abbey before heading back to our car. A short detour takes us to the mount of Olives for a look at the brightly lit city. Our drive back home take us to the vicinity (if it would have been up to our gps: through) orthodox neighbourhoods. The atmosphere there is a lot less attractive. Jew are not supposed to use electronic devices on sabbath, so they won’t drive a car that day. That’s why orthodox neighbourhoods are blocked for traffic, to prevent anybody from acciddentaly ending up in one of these neighbourhoods. But also outside these streets the jews feel it’s their right to walk in the streets without disturbance, it is sabbath after all :!: This doesn’t mean you may see a jew every now and then walking in the streets. No, whole groups will be walking in the middle of the street en they will only move very reluctantly for a car. And since we, in that car, are sinners as far as they’re concerned, they will not look at you with a friendly face… But that’s just one of many faces of Jerusalem…
Another face is presented by the salesmen…shouting their offers at you: ‘this is a shortcut’ pointing at the entrance to their store :lol: ; ‘100% discount’ probably not realising that this means he’s offering everything for free, instead of saying everything is on sale :mrgreen: ; ‘let’s make a deal’ as soon as you tell them you’re not interested in buying anything :razz: …yeah they’re the marketing genies of the world! :wink:

On saturday we drive to Wadi Kelt. This time we are surprised by how busy it is on the narrow road to the monastery…apparently it’s the season for bus tours… But because of this we do discover the location of a certain view point we wanted to see… Half way down the road towards the monastery you can climb up to a look out. We see a herd of sheep or goats in the distance with a shepard and some dogs; and in the valley right in front of us we have a beautiful view at the monastery.
We drive the last bit towards the parking where we find 3 tour busses :shock:, thankfully we discover that they only go to another look out and not to the monastery itself. Still this time we are for the first time not the only visitors to the monastery, a group of people is just about to leave and a few others are still walking around. Thankfully they’ve almost finished their tours, so we have the little churches/chapels to ourselves and take our time enjoying it.

Just one hour driving from there, there’s the Soreq cave, de stalagtite cave I mentioned in one of the previous posts (the one from august 6th). We arrive just in time for the last tour and admire the huge space with it’s strangely formed stalagtites en stalagmites. On our way back we have a beautifully clear view. So clear even that we can see Tel Aviv and the sea. Only minutes later the sun starts to set and we enjoy a watching the horizon being set alight before turning dark.

While planning the trips with all our guest we of course realised that none of them could skip the Dead Sea. And the Dead Sea means Masada. When we went there with Paul Lokkart we made sure we’d be there around sunrise. In summer this is the only time of day to walk up the mountain, just before it starts to get really hot. With mum and dad Wijckmans we discovered that it was actually quite nice up there with the breeze, but still we had to be careful with the heat. Now that we’ve been there with mum and dad Habets on sunday we know that this time of year is the best to go there. It was a little cloudy, so the sun didn’t burn too much and there was still this breeze. Of course this is something all travel agents already know…it was a lot more crowded tran we’ve experienced so far. But we managed to evade the largest groups and enjoyed ourselves. As a bonus we finally discover how the model works that explains about the watersystem of Masdada… When you pour a cup of water over the model you can see that a lot of the water ends up in little channels leading to water cisterns. Very smart people, these Romans!

But we cannot end this day with visiting Masada. Our next stop is a beach at the Dead Sea. We find a better place then the previous times, with a little more sand and a little less stones and salt kristalls… :razz: The whole experience of floating is met with laughter and hilarity…an experience nobody would have wanted to miss.

Monday we use again to recharge our inner batteries. Again a bit of washing, cleaning, writing a post… In the evening we take a stroll through the Yarkon Park and have a very nice diner at Fisherman Benny, where the appetizers alone would have been a sufficient meal… :wink:

With all our travelling around Corry and Pieter feel they haven’t really seen or experienced Tel Aviv itself. So today I’ve dropped them at the Dizengoff shopping center from where they’ll find their own way to some shops and the beach.

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