THE DEAD SEA, JERUSALEM, BETLEHEM
We had planned to visit Israel for a long time and when the opportunity finally came up, we took a chance right away. Our next destination – The Holy land…
We stayed in Taba in Egypt and also started our trip from here. Just a short ride by bus and we reached the border between Egypt and Israel. After really detailed border check with answering hundreds of pointless questions we finally entered Israeli territory. Just a quick change of the bus and once we got on we fell asleep again. We have woken up with the rising sun above the Dead sea and the view was really amazing.
The world famous Dead Sea is the lowest based lake on Earth and also the saltiest. The water is 9x as salty as other seas and flows over here from the river Jordan and creates the natural border between Jordan and Israel. Thanks to its salinity it’s almost impossible to drawn in it. You can literally lie on the surface and you’ll be floating like a cork. You can easily read the newspapers during floating which I didn’t believe until I tried it. You should be, however, careful especially when moving in and out of the water not to splash the saltwater in the eyes. After you get out from the water don’t forget to take a shower in a nearby showers on the beach because the high salt content will leave a thin layer of salt on your skin.
Very known is the healing mud found here for its benefits on human’s body. If you will be able to choose I recommend you to visit the Dead Sea on your return journey. Usually you get there in the evening and the water is much warmer than early in the morning. After this refreshing morning bath we boarded the bus and continued towards the capital of Israel – Jerusalem.
Our next stop was the Wailing Wall or even called Western Wall. It is the only remaining part of the Jewish temple after it was destroyed by the Romans. The wall is divided into 2 parts for men and women and is the most sacred place on earth for Jews. People insert leaflets and papers with their wishes and prayers between the bricks. The site is also open to all religions but if you come here on Saturday when Jews celebrate the Sabbath photography is forbidden.
From the Wailing Wall we gradually went down along the wall of Jerusalem which dates from the 16th century. Parts of the original Roman buildings is in a preserved condition and Roman Gate can be seen at today’s Damascus Gate. It is one of the 8 gateways leading to the Old Jerusalem. Only 7 gates are open because the Golden gate is regularly closed. This is because it leads to the Temple Mount and is accessible only to Muslims. This was the last stop of our tour in Jerusalem and after the arrival of the bus we continued towards the next city – Bethlehem.
It’s just about 7 km from Jerusalem to Bethlehem so the journey did not last long but the road goes along the walls and fences that separate Israel from Palestine. This infinite territorial dispute is also displayed on them with various meaningful paintings and drawings. Bethlehem lies on the western bank of Jordan river in the autonomous territories of Palestine and is known as the birthplace of Jesus Christ. The most important monument is the Church of the Nativity which is one of the oldest ecclesiastical sanctuary in the world. It was built in 326 above the cave where Jesus was born was. It is frequently visited place especially during the Christmas period but it is certainly worth a visit.
Bethlehem was our last stop in Israel and fully charged with positive spiritual energy we headed back to Taba in Egypt where our trip began.
Israel belongs among the most visited countries in the world mainly because of the city of Jerusalem and Bethlehem which have enormous religious significance. In both cities you find beautiful architecture, rich history and a lot of positive energy that radiates from them. It is said that everyone no matter the religion should visit this country at least once in a lifetime and after our experience we just have to strongly agree with this statement.
Tip 1: Arrange with your tour guide to visit the Dead Sea on your return journey from Jerusalem. The water is much warmer in the evening.
Tip 2: In Jerusalem take a tour with all important stops including the Old City, the Calvary, the Wailing Wall and Jerusalem walls.
Tip 3: In Betlehem try to visit the Church of the Nativity early in the morning to avoid the crowds later on during the day.
Total costs: 7 nights All Inclusive (Flight + Accommodation + Meals): £600.00
(Prices as of March 2012)
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