4 days in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Beach

Tel Aviv was our last stop of our 2.5 month Middle Eastern tour. We wanted to save the best for last and that we did. Tel Aviv is considered one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the world. Titled the ‘Mediterranean Capital of Cool’ by the New York Times, this colorful and fun city combines sandy beaches with a buzzing cultural scene, incredible food (many many options for vegans), UNESCO recognized architecture, and a surprisingly international outlook. 

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Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee

Tabgha – Peacock Mosaic

Travelling through Israel we often found ourselves near many Bible Tour Buses – mostly Christians finding holy places from the New Testament. As I have mentioned in previous posts, we are not very religious people – we identify as spiritual people who believe in the “live and let live” philosophy of life. With that said, we try to balance our review of holy places from all perspectives and religions.

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Petra, magnificent Petra!

Treasury  – Sunrise

We decided to get up at 5 am and make it down to the Petra visitor center for 6 am when it opens.  There is a small but very informative museum there (free) which we visited the night before.  We wanted to stake everything out to be fully ready for our big Petra day – something that we have been looking forward to for a really long time.  We had pre-purchased the basic Jordan Pass (prior to entering Jordan) which covers most tourist attractions and the Jordan entry visa +1 day in Petra.  There is an option to add to your 1 day in Petra and purchase an extra day for $5/day up to 2 extra days.

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Amman, Ajloun and Jerash

Jerash

Arriving in Amman after a month in Egypt was a refreshing start.  We rented a car and were on our way to the Holiday Inn Express where we recuperated from the pollution and craziness of Cairo.   We arrived with our Jordan Pass in hand – which we highly recommend purchasing prior to entering Jordan as part of it’s fee is the Jordan entry visa.  You have a choice of 1 – 3 days in Petra and the pass covers most sights including the entry fee to Wadi Rum.  All the sights that we visited were part of the Jordan Pass except for a few churches in Madaba and Mt. Nebo.  

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Egypt – Final thoughts

Cairo Museum

After 4 days in Hurghada we were ready to head back to Cairo to finish our 30 day stay in Egypt.  We arranged for a car through Emo Travel and unlike our first great experience with them had a horrible one this time around. Our pick up was supposed to be at 12:00 pm – when the car didn’t show up by 12:15 pm we called and got a few different excuses as the time passed.  Our driver didn’t arrive for another 1.5 hours.  Continue reading “Egypt – Final thoughts”

Abu Simbel

Ramses II Temple at Abu Simbel

From Aswan we arranged for a car to take us the 3.5 hours to Abu Simbel and back the following day (unfortunately the train doesn’t go past Aswan).  Our driver was a young Nubian who introduced us to Nubian music (which is great) and dazzled us with his uncanny ability to drive 170 km an hour on turns while eating sunflower seeds.  We watched mirages in the desert unfold before us until we swiftly arrived in Abu Simbel.   Continue reading “Abu Simbel”

A cruise on the Nile – Luxor to Aswan

Aswan – Felucca sail on the Nile

After reading many blogs and itineraries for Egypt it was clear that our trip would not be complete without a cruise on the Nile.  The most recommended re-seller of these types of cruises is viator.com  – the 5 day/4 night one from Luxor to Aswan.  In reality it is 4 days/4 nights.  Naively I thought of a small felluca boat taking us from Luxor to Aswan – was I ever wrong!   Continue reading “A cruise on the Nile – Luxor to Aswan”