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Egypt, Jordan, Israel – some ramblings

Dear YOU,

I haven’t written a rambling post in a while (uh, ever?) and I’ve been up to a lot in the past few weeks. I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to cover but I’m just going to write write write. And if you like, you can read read read.

Where should I start? How about at the beginning of the month. In Egypt.

Dahab, Egypt

June 1 saw me in Dahab (on the Sinai in Egypt). It was a place I was really looking forward to in Egypt and it was absolutely amazing. It was cheap ($4 dorm rooms; $1 falafel) and fun. I met a lot of really great people and spent most of my days doing nothing. Well, not nothing, but it probably seemed like nothing. I snorkeled (loved it!) and swam and sat around a lot. Ate some good food. But the best part? Met amazing people.

Penguin Hostel, Dahab

Each night I spent sitting at one of the many restaurants along the water. Waves gently crashing against the rock wall. Sitting on a pillow cushion. The stars overhead; slender white candles on the table. Saudia Arabia across the sea—a strange city in the distance. The moon didn’t rise until midnight. Jack Johnson on the stereo.

Mt Sinai sunrise

One of the main reasons I was in Dahab was to climb Mt. Sinai. It’s where Moses received the 10 Commandments and that Friday night (2 July) that I climbed the mountain pretty much marked the beginning of my biblical tour through the Middle East.

On the walk down Mt Sinai

Mt. Sinai was beautiful, did I mention? A three-hour hike up to see the sunrise. Three-thousand steps down to see the Burning Bush in St. Catherine’s Monastery. No joke: a fire extinguisher on the ground nearby.

Petra, Jordan

From the Sinai, I crossed into Jordan (via Israel to avoid the expensive/unreliable ferry service). By this time I was traveling with a large group of friends—all who’d come from Dahab. Being on a well-trodden backpacker trail I ended up running into the same people just about every day or so. I like seeing familiar faces in foreign places.

Petra is cool. Did the night tour (based on a recommendation) and enjoyed it. Great introduction to Petra. Probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much if I did it after the day tour.

Petra is BIG. Lots of hiking. And as I’ve realized, it seems I’m always hiking up a mountain/hill/slope at the very high heat of the day. All the time now.

I would’ve stayed in Jordan a bit longer, but my American caravan of new friends were all headed to Israel so I jumped on the bandwagon. Two days in Jordan and then I was in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, Israel

Left Petra in the morning and we raced three other Americans. We headed to the Aqaba/Eliat border while they were going to do the King Allenby Bridge into the West Bank. Not sure how it worked out but I’m pretty sure I took the easier route. Plus I got to spend an afternoon in Eliat—on the beach, eating ice cream.

Arrived in Jerusalem a week ago today and stayed at a chill hostel. Slept on the roof for cheap. (Actually I’ve been sleeping on various roofs my entire time so far in Israel.) Saw some sights; got lost on a walking tour; wandered around aimlessly; climbed the Mount of Olives (in the heat of the day, of course).

Met up with other friends in Jerusalem who I’d hung out with in Dahab. (Everything goes back to Dahab, yeah?) Had a lot of fun. For a holy city, there is a lot of lively stuff going on. I keep meeting people on their Birthright trips as well. They’re all over the place. Pretty easy to spot, too.

Western Wall, Jerusalem

Loved the Western Wall. For too many reasons I won’t go into. Saw the Dome of the Rock. I like religion. Jerusalem just made me want to know and learn more: about Israel, about religion, about Judaism, about the people here—everything.

Dead Sea, Israel

Took a day trip to the Dead Sea. Floated. I am surprisingly buoyant. Like for reals. I knew that you float in the Dead Sea but you can’t even imagine how easy it is. Totally surprising.

Tel Aviv, Israel

Now I’m in Tel Aviv—hanging out with remnants of my original group that left Dahab over a week ago. I like it here but maybe not as much as I was expecting. Jerusalem is better.

I’ll spend a few days chilling at the beach and figuring out my next steps. I’m not ready to leave Israel but it is expensive here. Can’t stay forever. Currently looking up volunteer and job opportunities. I don’t really want a “backpacker” job but who knows. I just want to be here for a while.

Well. That should hold you over for a bit. Hope you enjoyed it or hated it. I don’t really care. Just needed to get the words down. Words.

  1. Becs says:

    Loved Eliat!

    Did you roll around in Dead Sea Mud? (Is there even any natural stuff left? I felt like I got the last of it when I was there 10 years ago!) I didn't have to wash my hair for days after putting that stuff in!

    Sleeping on roofs sounds awesome, esp. in the SUPER HOT summer!

    Israel will do anything to keep you, so I am sure you'll find something to do:-).

  2. Jeremy says:

    Wow. Glad you climbed Sinai! We did that for sunset and it was amazing. Going down.. not so much though. Beautiful stars there at night as we went right after the Perseids. So many meteors. We went to Nuweiba instead of Dahab though. I kinda wish I could have made it out there and to Sharm el Sheik. We kinda did the peninsula in a short burst and I felt like I needed more time..

    and Petra.. well.. I love that. Was the night tour the music show or something different? I saw the music show Petra by Night there and liked it but hated that no one would be quiet. But you're right, doing it *after* seeing Petra was more of a let down than the other way around

  3. Adam says:

    Ah, what'd you think of Nuweiba? I heard Sharm wasn't that great (too resort-y) but Dahab was just perfect. I could've ended up there forever if I wasn't careful.

    Petra. Yes the night tour was called “Petra by Night” and there was music & tea. It was pretty quiet while we were there but then again it's summertime here and not really tourist season.

  4. Adam says:

    Becs, I want to go back to Eliat! Only had a half-day there. Definitely rolled around in the mud at the Dead Sea, too. There seemed to be more than enough where I was along the coast. Wish I'd put it in my hair, though—didn't think of that!

    And re: Israel will do anything to keep you. I sure hope so! I'm still looking for just the right opportunity.

  5. Adam says:

    Hey Kristen, I've met a lot of solo female travelers in the area, actually. Some came through Syria & Lebanon as well, so I think you'd find it safer and easier than you'd expect. Just a matter of being smart and trusting your instincts.

  6. Adam says:

    Thanks so much, Molly! Glad you liked it.

  7. kirstenalana says:

    Wow. You've gone to some places I don't dare go alone, yet I do really want to travel to them some day. Sooner rather than later in fact. Inspiring to read this!!

  8. Molly says:

    I agree with kristenalana. This was very inspiring. Some of your best writing so far in my humble opinion. Keep it coming.

  9. Jeremy says:

    Nuweiba was alright. I don't know about Dahab, but all I thought of Nuweiba was that it was just a bunch of resorts on the beach. I couldn't complain about ours, it was very, very nice and a much needed break. We were only there for one day which was the disappointing part. I spent pretty much all of it scuba diving so I can't say much for the general area other than that. The only reason I wanted more time was to get out to bigger dive sites near Dahab and up the coast more.

    Glad to hear you got a good group for Petra by Night then. Our group was a bunch of non-English speaking people who did not understand the quiet part. The host guy was clearly disgruntled that people would not stop talking.

  10. Sabina says:

    Oh, I love this post! I'm so glad you're loving Israel!!! I'm interested to see how long you end up staying and what all you do while there. I'll be checking back in…

  11. Sabina says:

    Oh, I love this post! I'm so glad you're loving Israel!!! I'm interested to see how long you end up staying and what all you do while there. I'll be checking back in…

  12. Shany says:

    Tel Aviv is awesome, you just need to find out the right places to hang out (bars, clubs..etc). The beach is also great, though I guess in this time of year there are less visitors than lets say August / September, but either way, enjoy your stay in Tel-Aviv !

  13. Adam says:

    Thanks Sabina! I'm a little interested in all that too :)

  14. Adam says:

    Thanks Shany, I'm liking Tel Aviv more and more. Any suggestions on bars/clubs? I've been hanging out in the Florentine area which has been pretty cool.

  15. After seeing this post, I'm going to try to include Mt. Sinai on my trip! Great post and glad to know it's pretty cheap!

  16. Adam says:

    Ah I just e-mailed you! Mt. Sinai was amazing, and so was Dahab. HIGHLY recommended.

  17. […] Egypt & the Sinai – got stuck in the Sinai […]

  18. […] Sinai peninsula is home to one of my most favorite beach towns of the entire trip: Dahab where I sat and did nothing but talk to other people, read books & watch the moon rise each […]

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