Recently back from 3 month Middle East Trip

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May 9th, 2001, 12:29 PM
  #1
jade
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Recently back from 3 month Middle East Trip

My husband and I traveled through Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel & Egypt from late October 2000 to late January 2001. I am happy to help answer questions about traveling to these countries. Please email [email protected].
 
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May 10th, 2001, 05:26 AM
  #2
PatriciaV2
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Jade,

I would be very interested in hearing about your trip. I am considering a tour through some of these countries myself. Did you go by tour or independently? What was it like? What were some of your fav high points?

Thanks for your help,
Patricia
 
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May 10th, 2001, 06:41 AM
  #3
PatriciaV2
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For some reason, I don't think my message has posted correctly. I'm going to try one more time.
Jade,

I would interested in hearing about your favorite places and things to do and see in these countries? Also, what is transportation like?

Thanks again for your help,
Patricia
 
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May 10th, 2001, 11:52 AM
  #4
tom o
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I too would be interested in hearing high points--particularly about how to visit the desert south of petra
 
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May 11th, 2001, 10:33 AM
  #5
jade
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We toured these countries independently and hired guides/drivers for day trips as necessary. We also arranged a 3 day Nile cruise once we arrived in Cairo.
Highlights include: Cappadocia in Turkey; in Syria, St. Simeon, the souk in Aleppo, the Krak de Chavalier, Ummayad Mosque in Damascus; Jerash, Petra, and Wadi Rum in Jordan; Baalbeck in Lebanon; Jerusalem; the Sinai, Siwa Oasis, Nefertari's Tomb, Abu Simbel, sailing on a felucca in Aswan, the pyramids at Giza in Egypt. The trip was a wonderful mix of historic sites (Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Crusader, etc.) and natural beauty. Transportation is very convenient in the smaller countries as it is often just a few hours to your next destination.

Tom, we arranged a day trip to Wadi Rum (south of Petra) from Aqaba through Peaceway Tours. Beautiful scenery, nothing like the silence in the desert. It was December and very cold at night, so we opted not to camp, but I understand that can be very nice.
 
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May 13th, 2001, 03:02 PM
  #6
PatriciaV2
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Jade,

It sounds like you had a lovely time. I have often dreamed of travelling to these countries and to see the desert. Was this your first trip?

Also, you said travelling is easy between these countries, what kind of transportation options are mostly available to one doing this kind of trip?

Did you have any unplanned events occur that you wouldn't mind sharing and giving your advice on?

Much thanks for sharing your travel adventures,

Patricia
 
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May 14th, 2001, 09:50 AM
  #7
kate
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Jade:
I have to ask -- how did you feel about security? We may go to Israel in October and are especially sensitive because we have 2 small children. Any advice, assessment, observation would be appreciated.
Thanks,
kate
 
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May 15th, 2001, 06:19 PM
  #8
Eli
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Is there any easy/fast/inexpensive way to travel from Israel to Turkey? Do you have to go through Cyprus? I've looked into flights and although they are short they are extremely expensive. I believe it is possible to take a ferry to Haifa and then another ferry to Turkey but then I read about how you can't go to Turkey from Cyprus unless you came from there. Any feedback would be extremely helpful.

Thank you,
Eli
 
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May 17th, 2001, 10:11 AM
  #9
jade
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Patricia,

This was our first trip to the region except for Turkey. We mostly traveled by bus. The border crossings were quite straightforward, the bus would wait till all the passengers cleared immigration. Antakya - Aleppo, Damascus - Beirut, Damascus - Amman all direct buses; took cab in Aqaba to border, got a ride on Israeli side to downtown Eilat from a Swiss couple; cab to border in Eilat, minibus to Sharm el Sheikh.

Everything went pretty smoothly, including our staying healthy. We did not plan more than a few days in advance and moved on when we felt like it.

Kate, we have a relative who is posted in Jerusalem as a journalist so we had pretty good information about the security situation in Israel. We did take a public bus from Eilat to Jerusalem that went north along the Dead Sea then west through the West Bank. In hindsight, we would not have taken this bus had we known the route. We did rent a car to tour around the Galilee, Golan, Tsfat, Acre, etc. and avoided driving through any part of the West Bank. I did get the feeling, however mostly in Jerusalem, that while the chances were slim that anything would happen to us, we could be in teh wrong place at the wrong time.

In Jerusalem, I would avoid the Old City on Friday as there were protests and occasional violence after the Muslim mid-day prayers. The only site that was closed to visitors was the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. Also part of the ramparts walk was closed.

We found Israel to be fascinating and felt very welcome. There were so few visitors in December and we were able to enjoy so many sites to ourselves. October is 5 months from now, hopefully it will be a more positive environment.
 
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