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AKKO: Experiencing an Ancient City from the Crusaders

AKKO: Experiencing an Ancient City from the Crusaders

Akko is one of those very ancient cities which was in existence for more than 4,000 years. It became a Crusader and also an Ottoman city. Besieged and invaded by many, it has an amazing history.
Apostles Peter and Paul also stayed in Akko.
Today, the population in Old Akko is predominantly Arab, and the Jews made their section in a newer part of the city outside of the walled area ( Al-Jazzar)

We stayed in the Old City and experienced Akko with an Arabic flavour. Staying in a "luxury flat" named "Zarqa",

our large place was fit for a prince or princess, with a room dedicated to our own hot tub, and modern showers.

Great detail of attention was given to make our stay comfortable. Abdullah was our gracious host and was very attentive to us the whole time we stayed there. We had our breakfast brought up to our room. 

It was fun to wander around the narrow streets and back ways around the old city.

One would imagine if the walls and streets could talk what stories would told!


Most hours of the day, one could see cars passing by with virile Arab guys who were cruising around driving  up and down the streets, and along the seaside drive. At night the cars would drive slowly around, with hunky Arab men, making me wonder if what fun activities they were in search of!  

The Templar during the Crusaders eras built a secret tunnel under the city to assist European pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, protecting them from hostile Muslims. This was discovered very recently!

I found the feeling in Akko to be fun and feel very happy that we paid a visit to that once important and historic city.

Experiencing Nazareth in Modern Times

Experiencing Nazareth in Modern Times

Nazareth is the famous city where Jesus Christ grew up, and where Mary and Joseph settled after leaving Egypt. This was over 2,000 years ago. Today Nazareth would probably be unrecognisable to any of those people, as Nazareth is a modern place with only a few excavations which depict what a dwelling would have been during that time many centuries ago. 
Almost all of the places which even depict a landmark where some important event happened, there is a very modern building ( perhaps built around 1969, etc) in the location, or the original spot is several layers deep under the ground.

Some of our photos which capture today's modern Nazareth.

Mary's Well: This seems to be the location even long ago, but the structure is refurbished and many modern buildings surround it.

As we were wandering down some narrow streets, we spied a small shop with a nice Arab man, who owns the shop. We smiled at him as he was standing in the doorway. According to the Arab tradition, he offered us some coffee, which we accepted. We were delighted that it was the traditional Arab coffee with cardamom. We had a small chat with him about his life, about his little shop and after finishing our coffee we went more on our way. Most of Nazareth is Arab. There is a large mosque which is right on the path of the "pilgrim path" on the street which we were walking on.
We also spotted a lot of "eye candy" everywhere too!

Nazareth is a place if one is looking for a guest house or a restaurant, to say that you were in Nazareth.

It was fun to be in a famous and historic town like this one.

ISRAEL: Our First Tel-Aviv Experience

ISRAEL:  Our First Tel-Aviv Experience

I am a seasoned traveller around the Middle East, visiting all the surrounding countries, and almost all of the Arab countries and Iran, a new passport gave me the opportunity to make visit to a place whose politics and human rights did not really coincide with my conscience. 
I decided to be non-political as possible as this trip would be work related, and personal development for our vocational training.

I must say that my horizons have broadened a bit more now, and I have had good experiences from this first trip.

Tel Aviv was the introductory city for my Israeli experience. A youthful, lively, progressive city which, I am proud to say, is now on my list of favourite cities in the world!

We took nice walks along the sea, as well as through neighbourhoods which I greatly enjoyed. Far from what the media says about this city with all the terrorist bombs, violent demonstrations and it's history with people who share the land, I found Tel Aviv safe and friendly.

We enjoyed walking on the  lively public beach walkways, going on the beaches, watching people, and a leisurely walk to the old city of Jaffa.

people were kind and friendly. So many of the guys in Israel are attractive and handsome!

 Wonderful dinner on beach restaurants, where we can enjoy our meal on the beach with our feet in the sand! perfect!

Tel Aviv is very cosmopolitan and progressive. We were actually cruised by some guys along the sea on our way to Jaffa Old city.

It was fun to wander around Old Jaffa and experience Israel with an Arab flavour. I spoke Arabic to the very gracious and kind guys who served our table at local restaurants in Jaffa.

We have some Israeli friends whom we made on Facebook. We told them we were coming to Tel-Aviv, and they kindly invited us over to their flat for a home cooked dinner, some wine and some conversation. 
We rented a bicycle and biked our way from the hotel through different neighbourhoods on the bike paths to their flat. I really enjoyed that mode of transportation instead of a taxi or by bus.

The dinner our friends made was familiar and nostalgic to me as my ancestral heritage comes from the same area their grandparents did, but I am not Jewish.
We were amazed with Israeli wine! 

Since this was only our initial visit to Tel Aviv, there are so many different places to experience, explore and more fun people to interact with, we will undoubtedly return to the "White City" in the Middle East in the near future. 

ISRAEL: A Half Day Soak in the Dead Sea and Masada Visit

ISRAEL: A Half Day Soak in the Dead Sea and Masada Visit

We took a half day tour from Jerusalem to see the Masada Fortress and to soak in the famous Dead Sea. 
It was fun to hear about the Dead Sea not being a sea but a lake, and that the lake is dying and not yet dead.
We met an Indian man on the trip and we together enjoyed the experience for that day.
We saw people from all over the world there, all making their pilgrimage to the ritual of soaking and feeling good.

The water feels like a brine which one would use to make pickles. The salt content is very high and if a drop of the water falls in your eye it burns, and wiping it away with wet salty hands only adds to it.

 Floating was effortless and fun. I was not able to sink lower and further out one floats the deeper it gets but no worries of sinking.

The mud from the bottom which is scooped up with your hands is fun to play with and feels like a nice face wash. My skin and my joints were rejuvenated for the rest of the day!
I definitely want to return and soak some more in this novel giant pool of prehistoric wonder.

Masada was originally a weekend get away for King Harrod. He felt the happiest when he was at this place more than 2000 years ago. It was destroyed a few times in this typical Middle Eastern region's history, but glad to see some ruins to show it's legacy.

Some remains of the Roman camp which they used to plot their invasion of the fortress.

MALLORCA, Spain: The Low Season Experience on Mallorca

Visiting Mallorca: The Low Season Experience
Places like Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza for us seem to be when imagined are sunny holiday islands where there there are endless beaches.

I was very pleasantly surprised to experience Mallorca and the diversity the island has!

Palma de Mallorca, at least the area of the city we stayed in gave me vibes and nostalgic feelings of Beirut Lebanon at times, and also reminded me of Italian towns and of  places in North Africa.
The old section of Palma de Mallorca has wonderful back streets which feels like the Crusaders were still going through the area. 
I could imagine a celebrity like Sophia Loren appear out of some of the villas near the sea side area, with the private yachts and restaurants.

In the old sector of Palma de Mallorca, we went to a wonderful restaurant in a cozy backstreet area. The owner was Italian, and served Italian food which he cooks himself. The atmosphere was homey and happy. There was a lot of laughter among the other patrons also enjoying with us.
 The owner took us back into the wine cellar, which really smelled like a real wine cellar and had many kinds of wine. It was an enjoyable evening.

We had a nice hot tub in our hotel room which we used whenever we were in the room. We had a robe, slippers, and were even given as a gift a bottle of champagne! 

I was enjoying early already

The rooftop view from our hotel. The eternity pool was not heated so it was waiting for summer patrons.

We were surprised to find great chocolate cake at a McCafe in Palma de Mallorca!

Pride is taken in local varieties of jambon 

We rented a car and travelled around beautiful mountainous villages on Mallorca's Serra Tramuntana.

Exploring an old ruin of a tower.

Deia:  We were charmed by experiencing this mountain town during low season. Only one restaurant was open as most of the town was closed for the season. The colours of the buildings together with the misty fog and waterfall made me reminiscent of some towns in Nepal I wandered through.

We greatly enjoyed our initial experience in Mallorca, and want to experience more of the island, especially the other side of the island which was closed for the season when we were there.