After being in Egypt for nearly 10 months, I am happy to finally move on. I will miss Dahab and all the diving that I became addicted to, but I am glad to be back on the road again.
After many hours on the bus, I arrived in Jerusalem, Israel. The quality of life and a great economy compared to Egypt was immediately obvious, since we weren’t dodging pot-holes, the bus was on time, and the AC actually worked. It was nice to be back to “civilization”.
I wouldn’t have any time to rest though. I am staying at Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem, and they had made a 9 day, tour-packed itinerary for me. They offer many awesome tours around Israel and Jordan, and had found out what ones I was interested in the most. So early the next morning I was off to do a four day “North of Israel Tour”, Jisr Az Zarqa, and the amazingly beautiful Mediterranean coastline, being our final destination for the day.
Our first stop was the ancient Roman port city of Caesaria. I won’t go into too much history here, but I will say that what’s left of the ruins, along with the amazing coastline, is stunning. Things were mostly rebuilt, but sitting on the Mediterranean beaches here was paradise. There wasn’t very many tourists or visitors, and me and my group pretty much just wandered the city alone, taking great photos, checking out Roman ruins, and hanging next to the sea.
After we left to go check into our next hostel, the owners made a quick stop at another beach with a long wall that was also built by the Romans and was used as an aqueduct. The beach was one of the best beaches in the world, not something I expected to see in Israel. We did NOT want to leave.
Eventually we did leave paradise, and head to Jisr az Zarqa (I’ll call it JAZ). Jaz is a weird world of it’s own inside Israel. After the second World War, most all of the Muslim communities were evacuated from the new Israel. All in fact except Jaz. Somehow Jaz stayed around, mainly two families originally, and made sort of their own little community within Israel. After leaving the rich Israeli cities, it felt like I was back in the much more poor Egypt when stepping into Jaz.
Almost segregated by the Israelis, as well as the outside Muslims, Jaz was a world of its own. Until or Hostel, Juhas Guesthouse, came into town, there was absolutely nothing in the city to do with tourism. With the tours and their new guesthouse, we were basically pioneers into Israel’s Muslim village and fishing town. It was like stepping back in time 50 years, and was a great experience. It wont be too long until the tourists discover this place though; not with an amazing Mediterranean coast like this one.
Juha’s Guesthouse doesn’t really need any promotion, as it’s the only guesthouse, hotel, hostel of anything else like it in he whole city, but they treated me so good, and were so awesome, that I thought I should mention them. On the night of our stay (after a city tour ending at the beautiful beaches), they took us down to a awesome stretch of sandy beach and built a bonfire and cooked for us. One of the owner’s wife made an authentic Muslim meal that had all of us in heaven. It was such an awesome atmosphere, and I would love to come again. I think they are doing great things to bring economy to Jaz, and I am anxious to see where it goes!