As far as a Middle Eastern destination, Israel is a bit of a disappointment. Of all the things it has in common with its neighbours, it has an edge in none. The castles are better in Syria. The coast is better in Lebanon. The desert is better in Jordan.
The best of Israel, is of course, the Jewish element, which is present in the sense of humour of the people, the adornments of the cities, and in the philosophies.
See full article for a selection of photos from our two weeks in the country, including a day trip to the West Bank.
In Rosh Hanikra, the northwestern tip of Israel where families take a cablecar inside a seaside grotto, there’s a sign that reads informs you that Beirut is 120 kilometres away. This distance, if it weren’t for the barbed wire and armed guards, is valid only for birds.
To get to Beirut from here you would need to head in to Jordan, then to Syria, and finally to Lebanon, a total journey of more than 420 km, assuming you avoid an Israeli stamp in your passport, and the Syrian border guards fail to notice you crossed into Jordan from Israel.
If your knowledge of Arabic sweets is confined to baklava, then you have to make the Middle East your next trip. Arabs excel at sensual pleasures, and a well-crafted dessert is considered high art.
I saw more types of sweets than savoury dishes. It’s an intimidating constellation. Here are a few of my favourites and where to find the best of each.
You’d expect politics to be a fragile matter in Jerusalem, something you leave to seminars in controlled environments or to the confines of sheesha dens / wine bars, depending on your persuasion.
Jerusalem is a crazy place. But really, with all that madness, what can you do but laugh at it all? That’s what local T-shirt designers do.
See full post for a photo gallery.