Thursday, June 29

The Scenic Route

Lately I've been hearing a lot of great things about Beirut from an ex-perpetual refugee and a truly free cedar, I'm thinking of going up there for a long weekend. We'll see how it works out.

(Note: If you check only one link from this whole post... Take the scenic route)

I'm getting tired of airplanes and airports… so these are the 3 popular options to get from Tel Aviv to Beirut by land:

1) The fast and easy way:

The Pilgrim Express, often referred to as the Jerusalem-Beirut Express even though there is one stop at Galilee Station for people who want to visit Nazareth or The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). The Express is actually one of the worlds most advanced Maglev trains and was a joint venture funded by various Christian organizations and the joint Israeli/Palestinian tourism offices.

A regular ticket is quite expensive, but discounts are available via various churches worldwide.

Since the reforms, Beirut is becoming one of the leading international travel hubs (The gateway to the Gulf as some people like to call it) . Many Europeans planning their trip to the Holy Land opt to land in Lebanon with their church sponsered roundtrip Pilgrim Express tickets.

2) The slow and cheap way:

For those who find going east to Jerusalem in order to go north to Beirut sort of a hassle. It's quite easy to get to the border on the cheap old Israrail, swap trains to newer Lebanese Railway at the Nikra/Naqura station, and onwards towards Beirut.

3) The independent and fun way (my favorite option):

While the Lebanese government and Green Line are trying to reduce the number of private cars and get more people on public transportation, being better for the environment, the economy and even culturally.

As a tourist I highly recommend driving up!

Rent a car, or take your own... take the scenic route!

And to think, all this was once considered just a dream

Thursday, June 22


I've been busy the past couple of weeks and got behind updating. I'm pretty surprised with all the feedback, and I promise to try and research and incorporate as much as I can from your comments and ideas. Answering questions or just flowing with subjects that come up. Note, I'd also be especially happy with any pictures you have from the future… Blogs are quite interactive in 2046, with web 12.0 technology.

Back to the future now, tonight Palestine is playing Montenegro in the final game of group E. Palestine actually have a chance of making it to the next round but it also depends on the Italy vs. Canada game.

I'm more of a basketball fan, but once every 4 years, like many others who ignore soccer most of their existence, once every 4 years that bug we call Mondial (World Cup) bites me. Since I honestly don't know much about the sport, and there is more to it than just kicking a ball around, I try to make sure to watch the games with a good friend who likes to comment here and there and in a pub with a lively crowd.

For personal reasons I'm an Argentina fan, which works out fine since they are a great team! But this year since Palestine qualified, I am intensely involved with their future as well (Like most of the rest of Israel). Just as I try to be in an English Pub for any England game I watch, and a "Russian" restaurant if I catch any former "Soviet" teams playing, I make sure to catch all Palestine's games at "Fadi's" my favorite sports pub in Bethlehem.

And you thought you could escape World Cup Fever!

Friday, June 2

Modern Traveller

Last week when in Gaza City I took some personal time to check out the Al- Mashtal Hotel and the Newer Gaza Club Med. My cousins are coming in from Europe next week, and as they are flying into Gaza Airport with Air Salam (A budget airline). I thought I might greet them in Gaza and we could spend Shavuot together at the beach. I haven't been to the airport in Gaza since I flew with Palestinian Airlines to Dubai last year and the renovations are supposedly amazing.

I spend way too much time in airports, most people hate them but I find them comforting in a way, you always know more or less what to expect in a modern airport, food, gift-shops, VIP lounges for those who have enough miles or membership.

I also love flights, most people who fly a lot will tell you how much they hate them, but I truly enjoy everything about flying, from the little trays of compartmentalized food to the smell of a different country when landing. I get a lot of internet tasks done while on flights and sometimes indulge myself in the gaming console (since I don't have one at home). Israir's direct flight to Melbourne on the Boeing 777-200LR was an especially good flight as I won 2000$ playing in-flight poker.