vickygoestravelling

my journey to health and well being via exotic destinations


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Israel 3: visiting Bethlehem and the Palestinian Authority

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View from Mount of Olives

My driver G turns up early on my last day, to take me to places that people don’t normally go. He suggests that my itinerary is a bit tame, and says really I should go further afield, to Bethlehem, which lies in the Palestinian Authority, take in some new settlements and see more of the wall. He says it will be more interesting. I say that I defer to his judgment, when I should have said ‘So how much extra with this be?’ After we have agreed on the new itinerary, he says, diffidently, that it will of course cost more. As it turns out, exactly what I have in my wallet. ‘God must have meant for this to happen’ I say to him. He is a Christian Arab as a matter of fact, a Catholic; there are only 10-12,000 in Jerusalem compared to 530,000 Jews and 350,000 Muslims. He says they are having a hard time and are discriminated against by both sides. Continue reading


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Jerusalem: searching the Central Zionist Archives for clues

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The Dome of the Rock from the Mount of Olives

The three days in Tel Aviv fly and I have to move on to Jerusalem. I choose the train, cheap and scenic. Like all Unwins I am horribly early and mooch around waiting. When it comes to board, I am not surprised that no one lifts a finger to help me, despite my limp and large unwieldy case, stuffed with Christmas cake, shortbread and gifts for cousin Helen. The scenery on the trip is pretty, in an arid sort of way, fertile fields, recently tilled, orange groves and vineyards bordered by magenta bougainvillea, giving way to a steep ascent thorugh rugged hills, larches and conifers before levelling out on the Jerusalem plateau. I have arrived! Continue reading


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Tel Aviv: on a mission to unlock the family secrets (1)

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I feel ambivalent about coming to Israel: I would never had considered coming here had I not learned about my Jewish ancestry. As a girl I was an avid boycotter of Jaffa oranges and supporter of Palestinian rights, and closed my mind to it – no doubt out of ignorance as much as anything else. But the discovery of two elderly cousins living in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem respectively has forced the U-turn in order to research my book, and also to reappraise my  opinions with an open mind. I am told Israel is not as one might imagine. So let’s see! Continue reading