Central District

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    • Day 4

      Plötzlich mittendrin im Nahost Konflikt

      October 7 in Israel ⋅ ☁️ 26 °C

      Von Freitag auf Sonnabend übernachtete ich allein auf einem Zeltplatz im Yarkon Nationalpark. Beim Zeltabbau wurde ich dann von zwei Israelis angesprochen und man erklärte mir, " daß der Konflikt wieder ausgebrochen sei". Mir blieb nichts anderes möglich mich so schnell wie möglich zu meinem geplanten israelischen Gastgeber zu begeben. Für die 28 km auf menschenleeren Autobahnen mit zahlreichen von der Polizei eingerichteten Kontrollpunkten, benötigte ich zwei Stunden. Ich kam sicher an und bin in seiner Wohnung ersteinmal einigermaßen sicher.Read more

    • Day 19

      😱 we’ve missed this

      September 14 in Israel ⋅ 🌙 77 °F

      Today was full full day of catching up with amazing friends. We left the place we’re staying at (the missionary couples home) to go to see some of our friends in Bethel. The one couple we had plans to have lunch with them and catch up. She works in Hebrew sign language translation and the husband works in video for WHQ and is the overseer of translation. It was a nice time catching up for hours!
      Ice cream after finished it off nicely!

      Then we went across the hallway to another couples apt. She works in tech support in IT and the husband is on the branch committee over service dept. We had some beer and popcorn and chatted about them just graduating from Gilead and how it’s helped them in their assignment. After a couple hours here we were told that they organized a beach evening for us. So 50% of the bethel family (family of only 52-55 people) came to the beach to spend time together and to say hi after 4 years! It definitely made us miss service at the branch.

      Volleyball was fun with 25ish people. A few strangers wanted to join as we were laughing so loud and the volleyball looked like a great time. It’s a public beach so there is lots of people walking by and many enjoying the beautiful sunset. Just imagine the promenade in Miami and that amount of people…. We definitely stood out.

      After volleyball we went back to bethel Apts and had another meal and a couple more joined the party.

      We didn’t feel like driving back to Haifa from Tel Aviv (1.5 hours) so the English Circuit overseer (when we were here they were the Hebrew Circuit overseer) offered to put us up for the night. We spent some time with them catching up although we have never really been that close in the past. But, they have a cute cute bunny (yes, the COs here can have animals!).

      Now it’s sleep time. For another day tomorrow spending time with our friends in the center of Israel rather then up north where we used to live. Chat soon

      PS. We’re not posting names and photos of these couples as there could be some complications. But just know. Everyone of these dear brothers and sisters are amazing individuals!
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    • Day 7

      1.5 hours of this?? 😬 👃 💩 🤢 🤮

      September 2 in Israel ⋅ ⛅ 79 °F

      No, this is not overreacting…. Genuinely someone pooped their pants on this bus. Now we have to sit in the smell all the way to the airport. 😱
      Funny thing is, no one around us is plugging their nose or even reacting to the small of rotting mushrooms, bat poop, dead fish emulsion, and sick breath circulating every particle of air on the bus.

      PS. Getting to the bus was a fun adventure at 11:30 pm. First, a bus that’s going all the way to the center of the country doesn’t actually enter into the bus depot where we went for our tickets and where every other bus stops.
      Second, there was no one at the ticket counter, as it’s 11:15 pm so you need to use the automated screens that hardly work and are not even coherent. (Our bus arrivés in 8 minutes)

      Third, we ask one of the only 3 people (the security officer that allows access to the depot) in the full apocalyptic bus dept…

      “Slikhah (excuse me) how do you get to the bus loading zone for bus 905 to the airport.”

      “Oh”, said the sr. “Not here, AT THE BUS DEPOT…that bus stops at the TRAIN STATION. 😑 Go back through the bus depot and go down the stairs and cross under the highway via the tunnel. Then when you pop out the other side, you will see the bus stop!”


      ….Not thanks. As we approached the stairs, we saw it was roped off. So we ducked under the rope and went down the stairs into the scary indoor tunnel to come to the other side with doors that are not only locked but chained shut. (Our bus arrives in 4 minutes) So, back through the tunnel that smells like a NYC subway (pee pee). A smell that I’d prefer much more then the smell we’re experiencing right now. The smell that has my nose under my shirt as I type this.

      Fourth, we got to our bus stop late and may have to wait another hour for the next bus. But thankfully the bus was also late. Probably cuz somebody pooped their pants 🤣

      That’s all for now! Smell you later.
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    • Day 2

      Ben Gurion International Airport

      January 17 in Israel ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

      As we passed through immigration in TelAviv we walked passed the world's largest indoor mezuzah. A mezuzah is a piece of parchment containing passages from the Torah and is attached to the doorpost of observant Jewish homes to fulfill the commandment in Deuteronomy 6:9, "write the words of God on the gates and doorposts of your house."

      This airport mezuzah is a way to make all of Israel a home, and the airport its doorway.
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    • Day 14

      Final Day and Goodbye

      March 16 in Israel

      For our final day, the rains finally subsided, and we were able to revisit the old fishing village we couldn't get to yesterday. It was overpopulated with tourists, of course, but still neat to see and remember Jesus words when Capernaum decided they wanted nothing to do with their Messiah. We tried taking a different trail to walk along the sea of Galilee and ended up at an old (but still used) church with immaculately cared for grounds and birds. It was so beautiful and peaceful!
      Talia was able to fill her bucket list item of finding wild parrots!! She was overjoyed!
      Next, we went to fulfill Jesse's bucket list item - to swim in the Jordan! The Jordan River is where Jesus was baptized but, of course, we chose not to go to the actual site where they claim Jesus was baptized and went to the riverside in all the dirt, mud and random non-religious people walking and canoeing by. As I think back, this is probably similar to how Jesus saw it. Imagine seeing the heavens opening up in that place!!!
      Next, we made our way to Tel Aviv. We tried to stop and see the ruins of Ceserea, but it was closed.... next time, maybe :)
      We went straight for the beach to see the Mediterranean up close and enjoy a sunset experience. It was a very busy beach with surfers and beach walkers.
      The next morning, we boarded our flight for home!
      Overall - I'm so thrilled for all we saw, learned, and experienced, but I could've spent at least a week or a month in each location to really take it in and understand more about the biblical implications of this place. I can't wait to come back to Israel 🇮🇱
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    • Day 45

      Iceland to Israel

      June 10 in Israel ⋅ ☁️ 28 °C

      Our journey from Reykjavik to Jerusalem was tolerable.
      Alarm at 5am, out into the morning drizzle, refuel the car and then a 40 minute drive to Keflavík airport, return the car, wait for shuttle to airport proper, spend the last of the bit of Icelandic Kroners.
      The flight to Helsinki was pleasant enough with the whole row to ourselves. A few glimpses of Iceland and its snow capped peaks was seen through the cloud.
      By the time we had reached the Norwegian coastline the weather had cleared to a fine day and it was interesting to see the thousands of fjords and lakes in central Norway transition to more forests and farmland as we passed over Sweden.
      We had a few hours to kill at Helsinki airport before our next flight to Ben Gurion so we utilised the Priority Pass lounge to get some food, drink and Wifi as none of this is provided enroute for either leg. It seems Finnair are just as stingy as British Airways.

      I was thankful for noise cancelling headsets to drown out the endlessly repeating ‘Baby Shark’ song coming from the tablet of the child in front, but the headsets were doing nothing to dampen the thuds from the seat-kicking child behind. Thankfully it was only 4.5 hours and we kept busy with writing, reading etc as well as a little shuteye as circumstances would allow.
      The route did of course keep us well clear of Ukrainian airspace- see the screenshots showing that nothing flies that route.
      The lights of Cyprus were visible off to the left as we commenced our descent and we landed at about 11.35pm.
      Electronic passport processing made entry a breeze with the little blue Visa printed out and no questions asked about ‘why don’t you want your passport stamped’ as happened in the past.
      Outside into the humidity and negotiations / wrangling with a taxi driver got him down from ILS 400 to 275 for the fare into Jerusalem.
      All went smoothly, access to apartment just next to Ben Yehuda street gained 1.45hrs after landing- pretty good all things considered.
      It’s nice being ‘back home’.
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    • Day 144

      Sittin' on the dock of the bay

      May 24, 2022 in Israel ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

      Wastin' Time. Not really, I actually wrapped up another article, on Israel, and cleaned up a few things for future travel. But I have been spending a lot of time just hanging out. Waiting 7 hours here at the airport, for a 2 hour flight to Athens. I will then have a 10 hour layover waiting for a 1 hour flight to Corfu. I'm not complaining though, life is grand.Read more

    • Day 98

      We’ll always have Crete

      July 16 in Israel ⋅ ☀️ 93 °F

      It’s July and Athena/Piraeus Greece is the end of the bike trail that started early April in Malaga, Spain. Leaving Crete I rolled the bike onto a ferry from Heraklion, Crete to Piraeus, Greece. That’s the port for Athens. Many vessel types at port. All kinds vehicles and passenger groups clot up on the pier then pack into the boats. Ferries back into the dock coming in from sea, the stern of the ferry will open up where cars, trucks and people pour out and scatter like sow bugs from under a wood pile.

      The sun is always intense. It’s a given there won’t be rain, maybe never. Tourists like me will hide from around noon to 5:00. After dark the restaurants are busy and people crowd the streets through the night. A few days later I boxed the bike and we flew from Athens to Ben Gurion on El Al airlines. Security being their speciality.

      I’m working to understand Celsius. I’ve only ever lived with Freedom units - miles, AM/PM and Fahrenheit. It seems like the rest of the world has moved on, even the Brits are eyeing the door. Celsius to Fahrenheit, double it, add 32. 24hrs to 12 hrs, just subtract 2, you’ll see it. 100 kilometers is 60 miles, 60 mph is 100 kph.

      I pedaled from Tel Aviv to Caesarea a tough 45 miles sometimes pushing the rig through wadi, sinking in fine henna colored dust and over busted concrete and rock. Too much, the heat! Caesarea was the French Riviera of its day for the Roman upper crust. Here being what is now called The Levant. It must have been a rock’n good time. Plenty of water in the aqueducts (water is always the limiting factor), an amphitheater (still in use, but not pictured) and the beach, baby!

      Up near Caesarea, I stayed a couple of days in a hut in a lot in an unfinished neighborhood. There was Wi-Fi and all conveniences if a bit rustic. Look closely, the Van Gogh is tile work an artist just put out for people to see. Israel can be brilliant.

      After three nights it was time again to move on. Up at 04:30, the sky was lightening from india ink to cloudless pale blue. I pedaled back to Tel Aviv on the highway. I didn’t care about safety, I had to outrun the heat. I tied an Israeli flag I found around me and made it, no worries. A tel, as in Tel Aviv, is Hebrew for a built up hill, layer by layer, by successive occupation. Great for archaeology.

      Navigated directly to the enormous Abraham Hostel in Tel Aviv. Named Abraham I presume because he and Sarah are the singular founders of three major religions, Christianity, Islam, Judaism. Nobody is excluded. See the rooftop garden where your doobie won’t stink everything up. Also see the guy in the hat. My ear caught his English pronunciation for the words dahntahn, pahnd and shahr. You guessed it. Jackson lives four miles from where I grew up in Pixburgh. Always happens.

      Don’t want to ignore my mate from Wales, Steve. Also a Sar-El like me who will volunteer a week and tour Israel the rest. Good times meeting people at the hostel. Old guys sticking together, we who were born before color tv.
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    • Day 1

      Aangekomen in Israël

      August 16 in Israel ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

      Waanzin vluchtje gehad (behalve Arthur = uber slecht gezet), eerste indruk was vaag… het ks hier de gewoonte na het plassen de edele delen voor de spiegel (jaja waar wij onze handen wassen) te inspecteren! Ook hebben we jammer genoeg geen stempel voor ons paspoort gekregen, wel een groen kaartje.
      We leven wel.
      De schapen
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    • Day 46

      Transfer to Israel

      November 15, 2019 in Israel ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      Today we were up early and driven to the border between Jordan and Israel, a very wide strip. Coming into Israel, the workers wanted money to get us through more quickly. When in Tel Aviv, we went for a walk along the Mediterranean Sea. The sand is fine and white, with many people on the beach: walking, jogging; playing frisbee, a Brazilian game with two people hitting a small ball back and forth with wooden paddles, beach volleyball, and a similar game to beach volleyball where you can hit the ball with your head, chest or feet only, which was very entertaining. There were many people swimming, surfing, SUP-ing and kayaking. There was a pedestrian wide sidewalk beside the beach, plus a wide and highly used lane beside the road for bicycles and the many electric scooters. Tel Aviv seems to be a very healthy city for people to live. At 6pm we met the 3 new people in our group and Zo, our new CEO.Read more

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Central District, המרכז, Sentral-Israel

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