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Watching The Sunset In Mikhmoret

September 20, 2016

Walking softly on the evening sand.
I can feel the softness of you hand.
I don’t need to try and find the words to say.
Enjoying things that make me feel this way.
The sand feels so loose beneath our feet.
This moment in time makes me feel so complete.
Looking across the water as the sun slowly dips.
Like a huge animal that’s bending down to sip.
I can smell your sweet fragrance with you so near.
The winds faintest of whisper ringing in my ear.
Forever in time, this moment stands still.
Aching to hold you so close, that’s how I feel.
A walk on the beach, hand in hand, like we just met.
There’s just nothing like it, we are sharing the sunset.

-Not for any contest

Asia Blog Uncategorized

My Trip To ‘No Mean’ Nazareth

September 12, 2016

Bus from Jerusalem to Nazareth cost 39NIS and takes just under 2 hours.

Nazareth. Open for business?

Nazareth, started as a little Jewish town around 2,000 years prior has spread its name far and wide as religion and skeptics alike desire to see the spot where the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ had lived, though to me, this mainstream holy city brough a new type of enlightening to mind.

It’s not that Nazareth is empty. It is closed, look at my pics! This beautiful forgotten city in the lower Galilee is practically a ghost town situated in the heart of a valley encompassed by mountains that surround a few of the most vital Christian houses of worship on the planet. Did I feel an otherworldly or blessed atmosphere? No. Did I feel as though I walking in a trance through a city rich in holy history. No. This is the city where, as indicated by popular custom, the blessed messenger Gabriel told Mary that she would conceive by the force of the Holy Spirit, and the spot where Jesus spent his adolescence and youth. Yet, it is an epic fail – empty and deserted it is so hard to believe that Nazareth, the biggest Arab city in Israel, has around 30 houses of worship and religious communities, and in addition mosques and antiquated synagogues is dead. I figured everybody was probably in Tel Aviv – the alternative city where (almost) anything goes.

nazareth

If I told you Mary had 7 kids and remained a virgin who would you trust?

Some confusion as to Marys Grotto where the angel Gabriel announced the divine pregnancy!

Some confusion as to Marys Grotto where the angel Gabriel announced the divine pregnancy!

I took a visit to the Church of Annunciation and stood outside Joseph and Mary’s home and just as I was about to sneak in for a closer look when I had a moment of truth. I suddenly converted my thoughts. I finally got it. Defined by her virginity, lauded for limitless humility and submission, Mary is the baddest bitch that ever lived. Stories have successfully convinced people who, while a virgin she and gave birth to Jesus. Whatsmore, she still remains a virgin even though the gospels clearly stated that Jesus had four brothers and two (unnamed) sisters the theologians of Christ were disposed to argue that the virgin “purity” of their goddess was not to be compromised: she had, they insisted, remained a virgin throughout the whole birthing process.

Mark Twain — ‘It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.’

Jesus of where?!

Food for thought

When we look for historical confirmation that Nazareth is the hometown of a god – …OMG! – no source confirms that the place even existed in the 1st century AD. What the devil is going on?!? The expression ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ is actually a bad translation of the original Greek ‘Jesous o Nazoraios’. More accurately, we should speak of ‘Jesus the Nazarene’ where Nazarene has a meaning quite unrelated to a place-name. What we do know is that ‘Nazarene’ (or ‘Nazorean’) was originally the name of an early Jewish-Christian sect – a faction, or off-shoot, of the Essenes. They had no particular relation to a city of Nazareth. The root of their name may have been ‘Truth’ or it may have been the Hebrew noun ‘netser’ (‘netzor’), meaning ‘branch’ or ‘flower.

• Nazareth is not mentioned even once in the entire Old Testament. The Book of Joshua (19.10,16) – in what it claims is the process of settlement by the tribe of Zebulon in the area – records twelve towns and six villages and yet omits any ‘Nazareth’ from its list.

• The Talmud, although it names 63 Galilean towns, knows nothing of Nazareth, nor does early rabbinic literature.

St Paul knows nothing of ‘Nazareth’. Rabbi Solly’s epistles (real and fake) mention Jesus 221 times, Nazareth not at all.

• No ancient historian or geographer mentions Nazareth. It is first noted at the beginning of the 4th century.

 

Photos of the Empty Streets Of Nazareth

Nazareth

Empty Streets Of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Asia Blog

My Half Day Trip To Bethlehem

September 7, 2016

And so to Bethlehem. I didn’t really want to go to Bethlehem. It was Saturday (Shabat) and on Shabat you’re not suppose to do anything. But I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself if I didn’t go to Bethlehem. If not for me, for my grandmother.

My (Catholic) grandmother is going to LOVE me

The journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem is about 20minutes and costs 6NIS one way and the bus passes a check point as you enter Palestinian territory where soldiers get on and check passports and ID cards. I’d like to describe Bethlehem as a holy sacred city – quiet and peaceful where people sit and pray all day. But I can’t. I honestly didn’t expect it to be an Arabic city, with market stalls and crowded streets, it is really not what I expected. Yes, during my visit to the city where Jesus was born I entered one of the oldest churches in the world; the Church of Nativity, I discovered the Milk Grotto and learned of its history and origins, strolled through the Shepherd’s fields and walked through the old city of Bethlehem. Oh and I even snuck into the cemetery on the top of the town, it gives a beautiful view of Bethlehem. I was totally alone, with these beautifully laid out graves and tombstones. It was strangely the most beautiful moment I’d had that day – being in a cemetery… though I was a bit scared that I’d get locked in and left after 20minutes.

Well, that’s pretty much it I’m afraid. I had another walk around the market before I returned back to Jerusalem and went drinking with German and Australian tourists I met. We met up in the streets of Jerusalem and drank on the inactive (electricity doesnt run on Shabat) fountains, we even came up with a phrase for vaginal piercings ‘perfect pierced pussy’ a.k.a. Tripple P. Used in a sentence it would be ‘Hey, you know I have a tripple P? or I want to change my Tripple P soon’

For me, the sacred town of Bethlehem is just a small crowded Arabic town. Yeah, it’s nice, its pretty, it has churches, it has an old city… I can think of one word to describe Bethlehem it would be humdrum, which means boring. Typical Arabic attitudes, people and atmosphere. It is not at all the Bethlehem that my Catholic grandmother raves about when she recites stories about Jesus. She’d be shocked if she came with me and I’m certainly glad she didn’t, she’d be disappointed – worse of all, loose a bit of faith.DSCN0630 DSCN0627 DSCN0625 DSCN0615 DSCN0610

DSCN0605 DSCN0610 DSCN0605 DSCN0604

Asia Blog

My Holy Trip To Jerusalem

August 31, 2016

One of the best aspects of traveling, is the opportunity to experience the vibrancy and diversity of local religions, traditions and cultures. Jerusalem provides many such opportunities.

Craaaazy, loud and rude!

The zen state of mind I reached in Mitzpe Ramon vanished the moment I stepped off the bus and into the holy city they call Jerusalem. Jerusalem is crowded and the traffic is impossible but in a strange way that’s part of the excitement. Jerusalem is the only city I can say about that, apart from New York. In fact, the New York Jewish neighbourhoods is just what Jerusalem reminded me of – it had the same noise, honking, chatter, the same buzz of energy.

streets of Jerusalem

streets of Jerusalem

Jerusalem, the holiest city in the world has over the centuries switched hands as frequently as one changed their underwear. Since 4500 BC to now (2016) Jerusalem has switched hands 20 times and the last real Jewish rulering was in The Hasmonean dynasty in 165BC-37BC. Jerusalem has seen many different shades and religions through the years which is why it is no surprise that today Jerusalem’s Old City is split into Jewish Quarter, Muslim Quarter, Christian Quarter and the Armenian Quarter; and surprise surprise, there is still a dispute over Temple Mount. Yet the amazing thing is that the amidst the disputes and conflict the city still thrives.

DSCN0459

Aside from the Old City, Jerusalem city centre has a different flavor entirely. While Jerusalem isn’t architecturally interesting it is historically fascinating and Jerusalem is decidedly hip, with pricey boutiques, swanky nightspots, and rising rents. The bread bakeries, falafel shops, fresh fruit stalls, and produce vendors will send your senses reeling. The fabulous Mahane Yehuda Market  offers the freshest produce, ingredients, and incredible falafel. At every turn off Jaffa  Street you can find live music, pantomines and performances being played out.

Jewish people are rude.

Don’t expect to be drawn to the conviviality, warmth and exuberance of the neighborhood locals… it’s nothing personal but they won’t make you feel like part of the family – that’s just how it is. A Jewish in Jerusalem has less manners than a baboon – and that’s insulting the baboon. Most locals I encountered did not have any sense of respect and everyone is pretty much out for themselves and don’t care how it affects other people’s lives. So it’s normal to be not so courteous and barge your way into a line, just remember, before you get angry that it’s nothing personal – it is just how it is.

Love Shuk

DSCN0514

I wandered through the narrow central market isle, dumbfounded at the scale of the place. Locals and tourists alike stream into big, bustling Mahane Yehuda Market where more than 250 vendors sell fresh fruits and vegetables to customers yelling out their orders wildly like lunatics. The combination of old tradition and modern flare is the most unique aspect about the market. Stalls and shops which are traditional and modern stand meters apart, both styles adding their own vigor to the atmosphere. Recent additions to the market’s stalls include an espresso bar, “hip jewelry” stores, and designer clothing “boutiques. At night, the open-air Mahane Yehuda Market closes the fruit and veg stalls and transforms into a vibrant nightlife spot with speciality bars, restaurants, live music and singers and becomes a place for people to gather, drink, dance and converse over loud music. Day and  night, this is my favourite place to be in Jerusalem.

jerusalem night

A Walk Through The Most Fanatic Jewish Orthodox Neighbourhood

luckily, nobody threw any stones, nappies or spat at me!

Mea Shearim - ultra orthodox Jewish neighborhood jerusalem (23)

warning in the street

Guided by a local I walked through the most fanatic Jewish Orthodox neighbourhood in the world, Mea Shearim. Very few people go here and it is a rare opportunity to take a peak inside ultra-Orthodox life.

Established in 1874, Mea Shearim is an insulated neighbourhood in the heart of Jerusalem. It is one of the first neighbourhoods out of the old city which makes it one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the new city, from the modern age. This is an ultra-orthodox neighbourhood occupied by the Haredi Jews. The term Haredi means I fear the meaning of God. With its overwhelmingly Haredi population, the streets retain the flavor of an East European Life back in the 19th century which revolves around strict adherence to Jewish law, prayer, and the study of Jewish texts. Traditions in dress may include black frock coats and black or fur-trimmed hats for men and long-sleeved, modest clothing for women. “Modesty” posters in Hebrew and English are hung at every entrance to Mea Shearim. When visiting the neighborhood, women and girls are asked to wear what is deemed to be modest dress (knee-length skirts or longer, no plunging necklines or midriff tops, no sleeveless blouses or bare shoulders) and tourists are requested not to arrive in large, conspicuous groups. During the Shabbat (from sunset Friday until it is completely dark on Saturday night), visitors should refrain from smoking, photography, driving or use of mobile phones. When entering synagogues, men should cover their heads.

road in Mea Shearim

side road in Mea Shearim- Jewish man bows his head to look away from me.

The walk itself was tense, it kind of looked like I was walking through an Eastern European ghetto. The streets were tightly packed, dark and narrow, blocking out all sunlight which gives it a very gloomy depressing vibe. Nothing is affluent and certainly not modern, it just looks run-down. As I looked around, I was constantly waiting for something to happen – I’d heard so many stories about stone throwing and people being ran out. My heart was constantly beating faster than usual and I had a eery feeling that I was in the wrong place – at the wrong time. Actually, there was no right time for someone like me to be there. I was uncomfortable and very aware that I was wearing a t-shirt and trousers. Due to my severe immodesty men immediately looked away from me and the women too. True, they choose to be the way they are and I can’t apologise for who I am, but I felt guilty being there and although nobody threw things at me or told me to leave, my heart rate returned to normal once the walk was over and I was back in the open air of Jerusalem city.
(It struck me as bizarre that the atmosphere in Mea Shearim contrasts sharply with the surrounding modernity of Jerusalem center)

The Holiest Day of My Life

Friday at the Western Wall. WOAHHHH!!!!!

If you are in Jerusalem on Friday night – go to the Western Wall and observe, or take part in the recitation of special Friday evening prayers known as Kabbalat Shabbat, the joyous Jewish ritual of welcoming the Sabbath. These prayers have been recited by Jews around the world for centuries, and consist of silent prayers, singing, and spontaneous dancing.

It really just looks like a big holy party. The men and women are seperated by a wall and on both sides people are dancing, singing, chanting and praying.

isr_western-wall_61614_539_332_c1Shabbat at the Western Wall is often described as a magical experience. At sunset on Friday, thousands of Jews gather at the Western Wall to welcome the Sabbath. Soldiers in uniform with rifles on their backs dance with men in long black coats and teenagers with backpacks. The divisions of Israeli society are not as polarizing here, where Jews of all beliefs and backgrounds join together in joy and prayer.

Placing my note to G-D in the Western WallPrayer_Papers_in_the_Western_Wall

During the celebration I squeezed my way through the busy crowd to the front of the Western Wall and took the chance to put my note ‘to God’

Jerusalem City By Day

I went on a walking tour by Sandeman Tour Group which left from Jaffa Gate and was led by Emmanuel, a half Israeli half Manchester guy.jerusalem golden dome

To step through Jaffa Gate is to be lost at once in a random, seemingly endless warren of rank, alleyways, narrow passageways wandering between rows of old, sand-coloured walls. We started at the Tower of David which was naturally impressive, but I confess that all the history facts were largely wasted on me after I learned that the story didn’t entirely make sense.

We toured all four Old City quarters: Jewish, Muslim, Christian & Armenian and got incredible views of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Dome of the Rock, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Mount of Olives. We explored Hurva (Ruined) Synagogue, David’s Citadel, Roman Cardo Maximus and the Amazing (Arab) Suq – Covered markets

Arab Market in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City is an extraordinary place – crowded, noisy, extremely colourful – Arab Quarter Jerusalemwith individual, open-sided stalls specializing in fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, clothes, spices and other commodities. Every stall was a picture of abundance and sumptuousness, every nut and tomato and spice more neatly arranged and more richly coloured than any I had seen before anywhere. It seemed impossible that one person could agree to buy just one thing. There was plenty. Beyond the main food stalls was a sort of bazaar of dark stalls containing everything from cloth to small electrical items. I noticed men selling small ornaments – batteries, torches, plastic wallets, key rings, playing cards… Arabs know how to run markets.

Emmanuel, the tour guide, gave us (my fellow group members) what can only be called an exhaustive tour. There wasnt an alcove or pediment to which we weren’t given a full history, not a pit or dwelling whose excavated contents werent thoroughly described. We left packed with knowledge and admiration, and ready for a very large meal. Falafel, humus and pita.

 

Asia Blog

My Hike Trip To Mitzpe Ramon

August 28, 2016

On the edge of the Ramon crater, at a height of some 300 meters above it, sits the town of Mitzpe Ramon. This pleasant, quiet town, built in the landscape of the largest of the Negev craters, between paths and cliffs, mountains and springs, has recently become a thriving little tourism town. Mitzpe Ramon was founded in 1951 and it even has Israels most expensive hotel which is £700 per night. 

From Eilat, the bus ride to Mitzpe Ramon gives you a beauitful glimse into the Negev Desert as it winds its way up to Mitzpe Ramon and it only cost 39ILS. Mitzpe Ramon is a peculiar little town. It is home to a hippy community that sits on the east of the town which is home to organic food shops, art galleries, a bakery, a jazz bar and various cafes and restaurants. There is also a spice quarter where you can find all kinds of exciting spices

If you go to Mitzpe Ramon you are bound to do at least one hike trail. There are several hikes you can take around Mitzpe Ramon. I buddied up with an English girl from Essex I’d met at The Green Backpackers Hostel in Mitzpe Ramon and we embarked on a sunrise trail at 5am and ended our trail around 8am. We hitch hiked back to The Green Backpackers. Short and sweet, it was one of the best trails I’d been on for a very long time.

Not everybody can handle the serenity of desert life. It is quiet and there is not much to do. Hike, relax, cook, socialize, build… If you have a lot on your mind, you should consider going to the desert, just for a few days to realign your thoughts. It can be scary where your mind can lead, but it is well worth the clarity. My mornings were spent either meditating or hiking and my days were spent at The Green Backpackers or walking around the town.

 

mitzpe ramon 8  mitzpe ramon 2

mitzpe ramon 7

mitzpe1

mitzpe ramon shop

artsy shop in Mitzpe Ramon

mitzpe ramon 5

art on the wall in hippy part of Mitzpe

mitzpe 9

mitzpe ramon town

Asia Blog Israel

My Trip To Eilat

August 27, 2016

They say that all the crazy people all move to Jerusalem and the crazier people move to Eilat.

Eilat lays awkwardly in the crack between the borders of Egypt and Jordan. It is Israels southernmost spot and it looks as though it has squeezed itself in between and made just enough space to form a city.

I walked the border from Taba, Egypt to Eilat, Israel stress free almost as though I was in a rush. For information about crossing the border from Egypt to Israel please click here. I was in a rush to leave Egypt – putting it nicely, I’d had enough of Egypt and needed a change of mentality.

The moment I cross the border from Taba to Eilat, into Israel I felt welcome.

The border is on the coast and I immediately saw people young and old, shirtless and in bikinis enjoying the beach and the water. I walked along into Eilat on the border road and passed men and women with dreadlocks, sides of their heads shaven, piercings and tattoos. It was a mixed bag of people. Multicultural too. The type you see in places like Berlin, London or Barcelona. For a few moments I stood stunned. How was it that 10 meters away in Egypt things were so so different. Eilat and its people symbolized everything that Egypt didn’t. The people expressed their individuality freely through their style, I saw alternative, hippy, nerdy, retro, emo, diva and boy next door all in one. I didn’t even stand out… Unlike in Egypt, nobody acknowledged me as different. In fact, i blended in so much that until I spoke English, everyone assumed I was from Israel.

Eilat is small so you can walk from one end to the other in a day.

The strange thing about it is that there is an airport right in the center of the city. Unlike most airports which are situated in a vast, quiet location close (rarely inside) the city, Eilat airport is a part of the city’s infrastructure. It neighbors hotels, shopping centers, canyons the beach, bars, schools, houses. This means that you can can look above and see several planes landing and departing in a day. It must be the tightest place to land ever. I am surprised that there are no accidents. Another strange thing about Eilat is that they have no traffic lights. The took them all out and replaced them with mini roundabouts. – another strange thing about Eilat is that the addresses are called only by their numbers. For example; 113 or 467 and not 113 fungi road.

Eilat city is a little gem.

The secret of this little city’s charm is its special location in the northern end of the Bay of Eilat. The combination of a hot climate, a tropical sea and a breathtaking background of wild, bare granite mountains has turned it into a tourist gem all the year round. It has sparks of magic everywhere. I was happy to spend 90% of my time there on the beach relaxing and snorkelling and meeting the fish of the Red Sea. A snug little town by the Red Sea, with perfect weather all year round, beautiful views, clean environment that is so important these days. It may be because I’d just come from Egypt, but I was really pleased to be in Eilat. I was 100% happy… The strains of being in a closed society left me and I was comfortable.

Cool things to do in Eilat

Ice Mall & Park

Eilat Mountains

Beaches; Dekel Beach, Princess Beach, Mosh’s Beach

Red Sea parasailing

Camel Ranch

Rope Park

Links:

Taba to Eilat Border

 

 

Africa Blog Uncategorized

Crossing the Taba, Egypt to Eilat, Israel land Border on foot

August 27, 2016

Since the 2014 Taba bus bombing on a tourist coach, killing 4 – foreigners are crossing the EgyptIsrael border less and less

It took about 20 minutes to cross the border from Taba to Eilat and I didn’t pay anything and it was a breeze compared to the nightmare border crossing I did on Africa’s most corrupt border from Senegal to Mauritania.

How to cross the border from Taba to Eilat on foot

  1. Take the bus from Sharm or Dahab or Neweibaa to the Taba / Eilat border
  2. Pass security checks from Egyptian Officials (quick and easy but you might have to pay a fee)
  3. Get your exit stamp in the Egyptian Immigration office and leave the Taba office
  4. Walk to the Eilat border office
  5. Pass security checks (usually female officials)
  6. Enter the immigration office to scan your bags
  7. Fill out immigration forms to get your passport stamped
  8. Exit the Eilat immigration office

You might get pulled out of the immigration line like I did, but the questioning is fairly straightforward. “what are you doing” “why were you in Egypt” “how long do you plan to stay”

I took the bus from Sharm to Taba which left at 9am from Sharm bus station. The journey should have been 4 hours but the police patrol along the way made it about 5 hours. This is important to account for if you are on a time limit. The bus passes through Dahab and Neweibaa.

From Taba I took a micro bus to the Taba – Eilat border crossing for 10 EG£

My Experience Crossing the Taba to Eilat Border on foot

Crossing the border from Taba

On the Egyptian you cross through about 4 checks (guys sitting down in chairs outside) and the official crossing inside the ‘office’ where you complete an exit form.
Fees: You must pay 2EG£ exit fee to leave Egypt which I didn’t pay… If you’re lucky, like me you can say that you don’t have any money.

Crossing the border to Eilat

Apart from a Kenyan holy pilgrimage group of people aged 60+, I was the only foreigner crossing the border from Egypt into Israel.
There are 4 border control check points you must pass to get into Eilat.
1st: The lady asked me the basic questions; why are you coming to Israel? etc…
2nd: Baggage scan
3rd: As I was waiting in the line for my visa a young border official stormed out her office and demanded an old Kenyan man who was on the holy pilgrimage (he was wearing a t-shirt ‘holy pilgrimage tours’) come with her. In her office, she probably asked him a few questions and I saw him leave happily, join his group and they disappeared on their holy way, out the doors and into Israel.
The lady stormed back out and looked directly at me. ‘Are you alone? Come with me!’
If there is anything that I am not good at.. It is interrogation.

The immigration officer asked me…

What are you doing in Israel? Where are you staying? What did you do in Egypt? Where did you go in Egypt? Where are your parents from? How much money do you have / Do you have a bank card? Are you a student or work?

I was foolishly, nervously smiling and even laughing throughout our exchange, I’m bad with confrontation. I kept telling her that she can check the information she was asking me for. For example; I showed her my two bank cards, one which is a business banking card and one my personal banking card. I played her voice notes on whatsapp of my Israeli friends giving me directions from the border and she totally totally relaxed. Then we became friends the  conversation totally changed, it even became silly. She started to smile and told me that she wants to go to London. I told her that I live alone in the city center and she is more than welcome to stay with me… The conversation was friendly and I felt like if I asked her for her number, she would have happily given it. Anyway, she gave me my paper visa and I was on my way to the 4th check point which was outside her office.

4th: Final visa check. The lady who ‘interrogated’ me, came out with me and this one was swift. A glance at the paper visa and my passport and… I walked out into Israel!

Fees: I paid no fees to enter Israel, and none to exit Egypt (i hold a British passport)

What not to say to Israeli border officials

All young people are interrogated at the border because of various reasons; either they look suspicious or they plan to volunteer in Israel for some months. You are not allowed to volunteer in Israel due to tax reasons. This is why Israeli border officials often target young backpackers for interrogation. Do not say you are coming to volunteer, this includes in hostels or on organic farms. I learned this from travelling volunteers I met along the way. To guarantee your entry into Israel say that you are travelling around Israel, learning about the vibe/culture, hiking etc.. It is better for you, and ensures that the place you are actually volunteering at does not get into trouble.

Egypt & Israel; the immediate difference

It is shocking that the 10m border between Egypt and Israel can make SUCH a difference!

The difference between Israel and Egypt hits you as soon as you cross the border, you go from covered up women to bikini’s and nudes everywhere. It’s insane

This picture is what you see when you cross the border to Eilat, this is totally different to the conservative, religious ways of Egypt. I had to pinch myself to make sure that it wasn’t a dream because it was unreal!

As soon as I stepped out into Israel I was stunned with surprised. The border is on the beach so I immediately saw many people on the beach side in Eilat camping, snorkeling, drinking, smoking, naked, dancing and enjoying. I felt I stepped directly into a whole different world. It was so free; nobody was swimming with clothes, couples were kissing and hugging each other, the people had alternative styles you’d associate with Berlin, Barcelona or London.
It was amazing. I was so impressed. On first sight I was happy to be in Israel!

COMPARISON:
My first 5minutes into Egypt I was scammed immediately!
My first 1 minute into Israel was AMAZING. I walked into an awesome open environment

View My Trip To Eilat

Blog Europe Travel

Most Cheapest vs Most Expensive City In Europe

August 24, 2016

What is the cheapest city to live in Europe?

Chişinău, Moldova is the cheapest city in Europe to live

What is the most expensive city to live in Europe?

Zurich, Switzerland is the most expensive city in Europe to live

How does the cheapest city in Europe compare with the most expensive city in Europe?

TOTAL 81% difference

Let’s take a closer look the cost of living between the cheapest city in Europe and the most expensive city in Europe

Chişinău (Moldova)

FOOD MDL GBP EUR USD
Basic
lunchtime menu including a drink in the business district
57 Leu £2.24 € 2.60 $2.90
Bread
for 2 people for 1 day
4.63 Leu £0.18 € 0.21 $0.24
HOUSING MDL GBP EUR USD
Monthly rent for 85 m2 900 Sqft furnished accommodation in NORMAL area 5,780 Leu £227 € 263 $294
Utilities 1 month heating, electricity, gas… for 2 people in 85m2 flat 1,528 Leu £60 € 70 $78
TRANSPORT MDL GBP EUR USD
1 liter 1/4 gallon of gas 18 Leu £0.71 € 0.82 $0.91
Monthly ticket public transport 193 Leu £8 € 9 $10
Taxi trip on a business day, basic tariff, 8 km. 5 miles 51 Leu £2.00 € 2.32 $2.59
PERSONAL CARE MDL GBP EUR USD
Short visit to private Doctor 15minutes 192 Leu £8 € 9 $10
1 box of 32 tampons Tampax, OB, … 59 Leu £2.32 € 2.69 $3.01
Deodorant, roll on 50ml ~ 1.5 oz. 55 Leu £2.16 € 2.50 $2.80
Hair shampoo 2 in 1 400 ml ~ 12 oz. 59 Leu £2.34 € 2.71 $3.03
4 rolls of toilet paper 30 Leu £1.19 € 1.38 $1.54
Tube
of toothpaste
34 Leu £1.35 € 1.57 $1.75
ENTERTAINMENT MDL GBP EUR USD
Basic dinner out for two in neighborhood pub 282 Leu £11 € 13 $14
2 tickets to the movies 178 Leu £7 € 8 $9
1 cocktail drink in downtown club 75 Leu £2.94 € 3.40 $3.80
Coffee 28 Leu £1.11 € 1.28 $1.43
1 beer in neighbourhood pub 500ml or
1pt.
24 Leu £0.96 € 1.11 $1.24
1 month of gym membership in business
district
806 Leu £32 € 37 $41

chisinau-moldova

Zurich (Switzerland)

FOOD CHF GBP EUR USD
Basic lunchtime menu including a drink in the business district CHF 28 £22 € 25 $28
Bread for 2 people for 1 day CHF 2.53 £2.00 € 2.32 $2.59
HOUSING
Monthly rent for 85 m2
900 Sqft furnished
accommodation in NORMAL area
CHF 2,476 £1,963 € 2,272 $2,539
Utilities 1 month heating, electricity, gas
… for 2 people in 85m2 flat
CHF 143 £113 € 131 $147
TRANSPORT CHF GBP EUR USD
1 liter 1/4 gallon of gas CHF 1.48 £1.17 € 1.36 $1.52
Monthly ticket public transport CHF 98 £78 € 90 $101
Taxi trip on a business day, basic tariff, 8 km. 5 miles CHF 34 £27 € 31 $35
PERSONAL CARE CHF GBP EUR USD
Short visit to private Doctor 15 minutes CHF 121 £96 € 111 $124
1 box of 32 tampons Tampax, OB, … CHF 9 £7 € 8 $9
Deodorant, roll on 50ml ~ 1.5 oz. CHF 5.82 £4.62 € 5.34 $5.97
Hair shampoo 2 in 1 400 ml ~ 12 oz. CHF 5.29 £4.20 € 4.86 $5.43
4 rolls of toilet paper CHF 3.03 £2.40 € 2.78 $3.10
Tube of toothpaste CHF 4.02 £3.19 € 3.69 $4.12
ENTERTAINMENT CHF GBP EUR USD
Basic dinner out for two in neighborhood pub CHF 76 £61 € 70 $78
2 tickets to the movies CHF 37 £29 € 34 $38
1 cocktail drink in downtown club CHF 18 £14 € 16 $18
Coffee CHF 5.79 £4.59 € 5.32 $5.94
1 beer in neighbourhood pub 500ml or 1pt. CHF 7 £5.39 € 6 $7
1 month
of gym membership in business district
CHF 115 £91 € 105 $118

 

 Zurich Switzerland 4

Zurich Switzerland 4

Blog Europe Travel

16 Amazing Places in Europe You Need To Visit Once In Your Life

August 23, 2016

Europe is a blast. It is a great example of history upon history. Each place in Europe has changed hands more then a few time and with it, each new tribe adds their own touch to a place.

Here are my top 16 places to visit in Europe once in your life 

River of Flowers, Keukenhof, Holland

Keukenhof Gardens Desktop Background

Melissani Cave, Greece

MELISSANICAVE

Dunnottar Castle, Scotland

United Kingdom, UK, Scotland, Aberdeenshire, Travel Destination, Dunnottar Castle near Stonehaven town

Rocamadour, France

Rocamadour-france

Foss a Sidu, Southern Iceland

Skógafoss

River House, Serbia

A-house-built-on-a-rock-on-the-river-Drina-is-seen-near-the-western-Serbian-town-of-Bajina-Basta

Strokkur, Iceland

Hallstatt, Austria

Hallstatt_300

Bastei Bridge, Elbe Sandstone Mountains, Germany

The Alcazar of Segovia, Spain

Chilchilianne, Rhone Alpes, France

chichilianne

Le Mont – Saint-Michel, France

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Sunset at yacht harbour in Dubrovnik

Albarracin, Aragon, Spain

Aescher, Switzerland

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Hvitserkur, North Iceland

Blog Travel

My AWESOME Trip To Dahab

August 23, 2016

Dahab’s Amazing Vibe

Back in the days of the 1960’s Dahab use to be a hippy haven. People from all of the world travel to Dahab for its relaxed, laid back atmosphere. The tourists and the Mzeina Bedouin tribe reside together in harmony which is very unique as the Egypt have a reputation for their strict, closed cultural values.

For me, Dahab is the best city in Egypt. Normally the presence of tourists is rather off-putting as they often ruin the charm of a place, but the divers, hippies, retirees and backpackers who flock to Dahab add an alluring characteristic. It is the only place in Egypt where I saw a fusion of cultures living as one – without judgement, critique or limitations. That being said, I wasn’t surprised to learn that most people I met extended their stay long term in Dahab or would frequently come back.

Walking the streets of Dahab is calm – unlike most cities in Egypt, it is rare that you are bothered or hassled by the Egyptian merchants. Dahab is so compact and snug it has only a few streets;

Mashraba is very quiet and relaxing with a long beach, nice hotels and some restaurants.
Masbat promenade is the sea front where you will see most tourists enjoying the colourful bazars and restaurants. It is the most picturesque part of Dahab
Eel Garden promenade is starts where Masbat ends. It is sort of the forgotten version of Masbat. It is quieter than the other streets in the centre and has traditional hotels and restaurants. There is also a natural beach after the end of the promenade
Laguna, South of Dahab is the most expensive side of the city. The sandy blue Laguna is absolutely breath-taking. You will find most sea-based activities here.
Assala is the old Bedoiun village of Dahab. Everyone knows each other – it is as though there are only 5 families. Most of the locals live here.
North Dahab (Canyon and Blue Hole) is even more quiet then the rest. It has few shops and few hotels. It is home to the famous Blue Hole and Canyon diving site. This is where I stayed – in one of the few hotels, Canyon Estate.

Dahab means gold in Arabic and points to the golden sand in and around Dahab.

dahab main street

Dahab…

I arrived in Dahab late at night expecting great things. It did, it was a lovely little city, clean and perfect in a cupped hand of Canyon Mountains at the southern end of the 438,000 km² Rea Sea.

Dahab is only a small place, but it boasts 40 diving centres, hundreds of hotels, and over 200 activity opportunities. I stayed at the Canyon Estate 5km from the centre where I stayed in my best room yet, overlooking the Red Sea. It was perfect! For the first time in Egypt, I felt zen.

In the morning I decided to take a swim in the Red Sea to see the coral and fish so I borrowed snorkelling gear from the reception at Canyon Estate. You only need to take one step into the water to see the beauties of the Red Sea. I jumped in and was amazed. But I then it all went wrong.

Pee’ing on myself..

The waves weren’t calm that morning and I found it difficult to retain control of my movement. I decided to swim back to shore but I’d gone too far from my entry point which meant I would have to cut through coral to get back.

During the commotion I forgot how to swim.

My mind wasn’t thinking rationally and I lost all sense of calm. I tried to use the coral to mount myself steady when suddenly felt a sting on my left butt cheek, then another on the inside of my left leg. The painful burning sensation wouldn’t stop and I felt scared of drowning in the Red Sea. Eventually I made it awkwardly onto the rocks and rushed back to the Canyon Estate. After some time, I saw the hideous burn marks on the leg. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Never in my life had I received such a horrible injury. The burns were enough to make a baby cry. They were raised from my skin, thick, ugly and scary.
In truth, I’d never snorkelled alone before. Furthermore, I have never learned how to properly snorkel, only unofficially through friends so I wasn’t prepared for an emergency situation. What was I thinking? I jumped in the water at an unofficial entry point where I was the only person in sight.  And at the Red Sea? Sometimes I question my bravery and the foolish risks I take. I could have drowned or even have been eaten by a shark, strangled by an octopus… The lesson was drilled home when I pee’d on myself to make the burns go down faster.. The whole hotel was giggling about it for a little while.

canyon estate

The blue hole, Dahab

Later that day I met up with my German friend Benedict who was in Dahab taking his Dive Master Course. We, and his fellow divers went to the Blue Hole. Undeterred from what happened earlier (see above), I brought my snorkel gear and made my second attempt snorkelling in the Red Sea, this time from the famous blue hole entry point.

I would like to make a quick comment here; as I entered the blue hole a veiled up Muslim woman said something in Arabic to me, which I can imagine was ‘dirty fucking slut prostitute… Getting into the water half naked for men to see and want’ – well… fuck you too, I’d had enough of that shit already. I wasn’t about to waste a once in a lifetime opportunity again, like in Hurghada.

Snorkelling the blue hole and beyond is fantastic. I stayed underwater a few hours and snorkelled well beyond the basic, or even intermediate zone. Unlike everyone else, I ventured through the Red Sea and away from shore. I am the best swimmer or even the most confident in the water, I was just in constant awe about seeing beautiful sea life. I was in a trance, I even followed them. There were huge fish, small fish, colourful fish and very ugly fish. I even saw an octopus house! It was a splendid time in the water, almost as though the morning affairs never even happened.

Back on shore all the divers were waiting for me. We hopped in the back of the track where I hitched a ride with them to downtown Dahab, stopped for me to quickly grab my guitar.

Hanging out in Dahab

Hanging out with Benedict was good fun. He is a tall, laid back, upcoming house music producer with long wavy hair. We ate falafel, moussaka, baba and foul sandwiches at a local restaurant and strolled along Masbat and Eel Garden.

Music in Dahab

Among many other things, music is a common interest of mine and Benedicts. He plays 10 instruments fluently, is a sound producer and live performer. Wow. His group is rapidly up and coming and I find their most popular song very uplifting. We settled on the sea rocks under the stars and started to play the guitar. I had many questions for him as my guitar playing is not technical. I am a rhythmic player and I want to transition into jazz, so we spoke about intervals, concepts and practice exercises. He is a great teacher, ensuring that I understood everything and questioned me about what I’d learned. After I sang and played the song I made for him in Sharm and I was flattered that he said that he’d want to produce it. Haha. Mixtape coming soon…

falafel