For two weeks, my brother and I traveled through the lands of Israel and Palestine. Countries that have great offers for everyone. Culture, nature, adventure, great places to relax. Everything is possible! However, I was amazed by a number of worrying calls of others, especially about Palestine. I want to ask you to also pay a visit to Palestine when you find yourself in Israel. Have a look yourself and don’t listen too much to the news or good intended warnings of others. Let stories, in particular of those who have never visited the place themselves, never withhold you of going somewhere, wherever in the world that may be. Otherwise, you miss out on a lot of amazing things! For now, enjoy these photos and hopefully, they will inspire you for a next holiday destination!
TEL AVIV – A pleasant temperature, nice beaches, cozily hidden alleys in the old town of Old Yaffo and the high, modern buildings in the new part. We amused ourselves with wandering around in the streets of Tel Aviv for a couple of days.
TEL AVIV – Lebanese street food of this adorable old woman! It tasted delicious. We ate this and other delicacies we bought at the Carmel Market during a picknick on the beach.
TEL AVIV – Trying out new things on the Carmel Market, such as halva. The ‘pies’ on the above photograph consist of sesame seed, sunflower seeds, sugar and oil and has the structure of a pie made out of sand. Apart for halva, you can find many (special) delicacy at this market.
JERUSALEM – A praying woman in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. According to the traditions and tales, Jesus would have been crucified and buried in this church. The ground of this church would have been home to many churches before, but all were lost during wars or fires.
JERUSALEM – I left my note as well at the Western Wall. This ancient limestone used to be the wall of the west side of the Jewish Temple. This temple on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem has been destroyed in the year 70, except for this holy part that has been spared.
JERUSALEM – A nights stroll in the Arab part of the Old City of Jerusalem. The Old City is divided into four neighborhoods. An Arab, a Jewish, an Armenisch and a Christian part. In the Old City there are religious sanctuaries of all four faiths, which regularly yield tension.
JERICHO – Mountain of Temptation. On this mountain, Jesus would have been tempted by the devil, near the edge of the Judea desert. At the moment, the mountain is home to the Orthodox Christian monastery named ‘Monastery of Temptation’. A beautiful, hidden place that is definitely worth visiting when in the area. Another fun fact: Jericho appears to be the oldest, always inhabited place on earth.
NABLUS – A scene out of the daily life in Nablus. This city in the north of the West Bank is (still) untouched by tourism. The city is known for its big university, many olive soap factories (in which the owner is more than happy to give you a little tour) and delicious kanafeh (see next photo).
NABLUS – A man pointed us in the right direction to find the best kanafeh in town. We ended up at a street shop, where we could have a look how they made this sweet in the adjacent house. This delicacy consist of (among others) water, flour, sugar syrup and white cheese. We also tried it in Jerusalem, but for the best kanafeh, you have to go to Nablus!
BETHLEHEM – Out of anything that has impressed me most, I would say it is the wall that separates Israel and the West Bank. The many checkpoints, the huge wall itself, the tight security and the art on the wall that serves as a way of expression of many people. For Magazine Cul (a Dutch anthropological magazine) I wrote an article about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, de wall and the lives on both sides of it. It is in Dutch, but if you are interested: ‘Een muur door Jezus’ kribbe’.
BETHLEHEM – This was the photo I have used for the above-mentioned article I wrote and I think it tells a lot. I interpreted it like this: On the left, you see a Jewish boy (recognizable by his yarmulke), who disquietingly points towards the crack in the wall. He seems to have a carefree childhood whereby he can play with his stuffed animal. On the right, there is a Palestinian boy (recognizable by his taqiyah). This boy reaches towards the crack in the wall, which symbolized the hope of freedom that lays on the other side. He is locked up in chains in the West Bank. The key in his hand is a symbol you see a lot in Palestine. It symbolizes the hope to be able to one day return to the ground and the houses of their ancestors, on the other side of the wall. This single piece of art shows so easily but carefully the differences of the lives on both sides of this concrete wall.
EIN GEDI – The dead sea. The weather sucked when we were there, it was pretty cold. That did not withhold us of ‘diving’ into this ‘sea’. The dead sea is the lowest lake on earth and consists of 33% of salt. This causes that you cannot swim in it, but instead you flote in the water. A very special experience! However, make sure you don’t shave your legs beforehand, that you don’t have any wounds and that you leave your jewelry on the shore! Unfortunately, this lake is shrinking and the withdrawal of the coastline is very visible. One of the reasons for this is the construction of pipelines and climate change. In several dozens of years, the dead sea will be gone..
EILAT – The most southern point of Israel – Eilat – has more to offer than just sun, sea and beaches. Our awesome couchsurf host showed us a beautiful sunset point in the mountains. We could see Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel itself of course.
EILAT – Talking about sun, sea, and beaches.. I am not a big fan of getting tanned while laying on the beach, but so much the more I am a fan of the sea. Two days, I have swum in the beautiful underwater world of Eilat. Unfortunately, I saw some pollution, which only motives me more to live a zero-waste life, but except for that, I have seen so many beautiful things. Highlight: wreck diving and octopuses. I dived with Shulamit’s Diving Adventures, a good and trustworthy dive school with great personnel.
So, are Israel and Palestine on your bucket list yet?
Some of the above photographs are made by my brother Daan Tuinstra.