Thursday, August 25, 2011

From Jerusalem to Bethlehem to Hebron!


Jerusalem, Israel

2239 (local time)

I haven’t been this tired since I did 2 weeks of full power windsurfing, instead I have just done 2 days of non stop, full power WALKING. So if you have been following, yesterday I walked all around d the Old City and also visited the Mt. Of Olives, which was an amazing experience, that really got your mind thinking in the old Ancient Jerusalem times.

Ok, so this time, I got up a little bit later, had a lovely breakfast cooked by Sandra and this time leaving home not only with my 3 litres of water, but also with 2 homemade sandwiches an array of different fruits (all made by Sandra)… she’s not too bad!

So I left and headed to the bus station as today I was going to make my way to Bethlehem and Hebron. The problem with these cities is that they are both located in the West Bank which is Palestine Territory, which is generally where the danger is.

So I left and headed off to the bus station, caught a bus to Bethlehem. The bus journey was fine apart from the mentalist bus driver that drives like he is in a Porsche. Got to Bethlehem and made my way to the tourist info centre so I can grab a map. First thing I visited was the Church of Nativity which is (supposedly) where Jesus was born!

I got in, had a look at the church, snuck in, infront of a whole Russian tour group, watched them get their photo taken in the spot that Jesus was born and then left, from here I walked down the street to the Grotto of the Nativity where (supposedly) Jesus was cared for by Mary. Once I was all Catholic’d out, I then inquired about catching a service taxi to Hebron.

Hebron is the largest city in West Bank, and it is home to one of the most important mosque’s the Ibrahimi Mosque. I was taken there by a very old man that was telling me about his city, he was explaining to me that as a young boy, the new city wasn’t there, and he used to play in the streets of the old city.

On arrival to the Mosque I tried to get inside, but they stop letting ‘tourists’ after 11am due to Ramadan. Not to worry, as it gave me some more time to walk the old streets and do some shopping.

It was my Mum’s birthday so I did some shopping for her, and after I was exhausted of walking through the old city so I then caught another service taxi back to Bethlehem and then started making my way back to the border crossing to get from Palestine to Israel. On the walk back I came to the Security Wall.

The Security Wall separates the Israel from Palestine. It prevents the Palestinian’s from entering Israel and attacking the Israelis. Now obviously not every Palestinian wants to set off bombs in Israel but unfortunately in 2011 this is the only way that Israel (and certain parts of the world) can see a solution.

There is no point in us trying to come up with a magical solution, as a lot of highly intelligent people have sat down together and tried to find a solution and since they haven’t found a solution it puts it really back on us. 

The kids of this generation to stop talking about the issue and act!

Please have a look at some of the photos and realise how bad the situation really is.

I spoke to a Palestinian guy as I was leaving, he asked me where I was from etc. He explained to me that he had just come from the American Embassy in Palestine to see if he is able to get a visa to visit America so he could see his family living in the States. He was declined. This is just one of the many stories of people that live in both West Bank and Gaza.

Anyway, check out the photos! Much Love!
Steve xx

Round about with Palestinian Flags

the spot where the baby Jesus was born... Russians Loving It!

The Church of Nativity 

Outside of the Church of Nativity 

Local Sweets

The Local Bakery

Local Pastry's

Some shopping, (where i got the old birds present)

Beautiful colors of the vegetables 

The old city in Hebron!

More Old City!

Old Mate Hard At Work!

More beautifully colored vegies!

Entrance to the old city in Hebron!

Vegie Stalls!

Read Closely!

UK Famous Artist Banksey!

More Banksey

The Security wall!

More security wall, note the house so close to the wall... nice view!

The Wall

More Banksey... (ruined)

More Banksey (ruined)

The Border!

the path to the border

Back in Jerusalem, looking at the walls of the old city

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jerusalem Get On Up!

22/8/11 – 23/8/11
Jerusalem, Israel
1747 local time

(Firstly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM) – Alrighty!

Phew, what a massive day! I have just returned back from 7 hours of walking around Jerusalem. It was an awesome day! My mind has been totally changed, we all see from the news as Israel being this country that wants to take take, take, and all they are doing are firing rockets into West Bank and Gaza (Palestine territory) but when you start speaking to the locals they are always on alert about what is happening, and of course very worried.

The best way I can explain it to all the people from Melbourne that read this is: Remember the day when that bloke shot 2 people in central Melbourne all regarding drugs. That day, a fair majority of Melbourne were watching their backs and worried about if he was going to be caught or worse if he were going to attack again.

Now imagine that feeling every day, this is what the old and the young are feeling every day, and no, they don’t get desensitized to it at all. How can you, when everyday you are reading in the paper, seeing on the news new attacks to different parts of Israel, or rockets that have been intercepted that were heading to Jerusalem.

OK, so hopefully you have a better understanding about how the Israelis feel, I will now tell you about how I feel and how beautiful I think their country is.

So today I left Sandra’s lovely apartment at 9.30am after a delicious breakfast, only armed with a Banana and 3 litres of water I set off. I was fortunate enough to arrive at the right time to go on a 3 hour tour that took us to all 4 quarters of the Old City Jerusalem. It was fantastic and also very interesting. I took some amazing photos. For me, the most amazing sights were of the Western Wall in the Jewish area, looking at the front of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which was located in the Christian section, the Muslim section was interesting but you couldn’t see all that much, but just wait for tomorrow, and then there was the Armenian section which wasn’t all that nice to look at, but had some amazing stories.

After the tour finished, we had to do the awkward obligatory tip to our tour guide and then I quickly set off again. I walked to the end of Old City and caught bus 73 to the top of the Mt. Olives where I proceeded to walk down.

I was fortunate enough to sneakily tag along to a Nigerian tour group, luckily enough they spoke English by an outspoken American tour guide! The Nigerians were super cool though and I took a ton of photos for them.
By this time the day was getting on, it was around 4pm and like I said earlier I left at 9.30am! I had drunk all my 3 litres of water, my feet were killing me and my body was aching all over!

By the time I got back to Sandra’s I was a wreck, I dumped my stuff and went straight downstairs to the swimming pool and had a swim and a spa and then felt refreshed enough to head back up for a beautifully cooked spaghetti Bolognese from Sandra!

After I slammed this down, I headed off down town again as there was a festival on, I paid my 45NIS ($15 AUD) and then sat down and listen to a awesome Reggae band from Israel that sounded very similar to Blue King Brown, they were called Odelyah and the Soulmates. Honestly check them out on Facebook, add Odelyah (tell her I sent ya) and you will be able to download her music! Its fantastic.

She played for over an hour, after that I wandered around the festival and had a look at all the stalls from all over the world.

From there I heard some more music, (not in English) as I walked around the corner the guy was playing in front of a crowd that was 10,000 or more! It was fantastic! I stayed and listened for over an hour not understanding anything he was saying but it was fantastic just to be in the atmosphere of it all. Eventually I found out that his name was Mosh Ben Ari. Check him out!

By this time it was getting on 11pm, I was a tired wreck, I stumbled my way back to Sandra’s tried to watch Ben Hur but passed out instead!

What an amazing day… Tomorrow I’m off to Bethlehem and Hebron… West Bank!

Much Love and Shalom!

Steve xx

Sandra doing some shopping!

Beautiful Markets in the Old City


The Muslim part of Jerusalem!

Views of the Shopping Street!

The Beautiful herbs and spices, Imagine the smell!

More shopping in the old city!

Part of the tour... the dude with the White Hat was a menace!

At the Wailing Wall, Western Wall obviously a boys Bar Mitzvah  

The Bar Mitzvah is all about the boy turning from a boy to a man... at 13 Years of Age

The Western Wall

People put their prayers into the wall... i did one... apparently they get cleaned out 3 times a year...

The Jews Praying!

The Dome of the Rock, Muslim Mosque!

Bit of a view!

Horse mid flight, as i walk to the Mt. of Olives

More Old City Photos! Beautiful stuff!

This is Odelyah and the Soulmates

Maybe you can 'see' the reason i enjoyed them...



Hope ya enjoyed it! New Blog Coming!!!
Stay Tuned!