Breads and spreads ~~ January 3, 2018

On the plane from Amman to Paris. About to take off. Images, thoughts, impressions, and emotions about our month in Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan are a swirling kaleidoscope in my head. This has been one of those change-the-way-you-see-the-world trips. It will take me some time to process it. But mostly, in this moment, I am…

Time Travel ~~ January 1, 2018

Yesterday we said goodbye to Maria Gadnaor, a joyful, funny, sprite of a travel companion. We enjoyed her company so much. She saw us from Eilat, through Petra (Big and Little), to the place where John baptized Jesus and set the forces of Christianity in motion. The baptismal site is such a poignant place. There…

Makdous Fatteh ~~ December 30, 2017

So, I spent yesterday leaning on a cane as we hiked around and I got carsick descending into a valley where the rest went hiking in a creek. Still, it was a lovely day. The cane got me through Little Petra which was really lovely, even if it wasn’t big Petra. The natural rock formations…

Wadi Rum (The Valley of the Moon) ~~ December 28, 2017

Today was our visit to the ancient city of Petra, and I am sorry to say that I have nothing to say about it since I was laid up in a hotel room with a dodgy knee. [Gorgeous pictures of Petra, taken by Gale: The fall I took skidding in the sand of the Timna…

Rocking the Desert ~~ December 27, 2017

Amir is in Morocco by now, starting another travel adventure with another client. Besides guiding, he is developing a business as an adventure concierge, an expert and natural travel companion who explores new places at your side while somehow making the connections and smoothing the pathways so that you don’t have to. His natural talent…

The hopes and fears ~~ December 24, 2017

Waking up in Bethlehem the day before Christmas Eve. I don’t think I’ve been in a sadder place. It’s Palestinian territory, landlocked in the West Bank, surrounded by walls designed by Israelis to keep terror and violence where they belong, which, they are determined, will not be in Israel. The day before, we arrived shortly…

Deep thoughts and full stomachs ~~ December 22, 2017

A few days ago we were en route to Jerusalem from a Druze village in the north, tight against the Syrian border. There was bloody fighting here in 1973, a surprise attack on the Israelis from Syria on Yom Kippur. The Israelis were apparently caught unawares and as a consequence were fighting for their survival….

Knafeh ~~ December 20, 2017

Another day of over-eating. It was also a day in Old Jerusalem, and I’ll have more to say about that later as it sinks in. But right now my mind is focused on something blessedly more simple: knafeh. Knafeh (there are probably a dozen ways to spell it and almost as many to make it)…

Happiness in the Golan Heights ~~ December 20, 2017

(Still running a few days behind ~~ writing about 12/18 here) After we left Tzvat on Monday afternoon, we drove to the Golan Heights. A disconcerting length of the drive was within sight of Lebanon, clearly visible across a forbidding and impregnable border. When we got to the village where we were having dinner with…