Trip to a land of hope

I got to spend 4 days in Palestine exploring some of the places my family has lived and some other places they haven’t. I went with my uncle, who is visiting from the US, and my dad. We left on a Thursday and got back on a Sunday…and visited 8 cities in 4 days. It was busy!

We faced some problems getting across the Israeli side, as usual. They held my passport for an hour and half, asked me some questions and then stamped my passport. Why? because they like to make things difficult…discourage people from visiting. I was not deterred…I plan on going as many times as possible.

We spent the first night in Jerusalem…went to Al-Aqsa and prayed…because 500

raka’a’s in 1…is no joke! After praying, we got to explore the old city a bit. I love the old city. It transports you to another time and place. I love the nooks and crannies, the small hole in the wall shops, street vendors and the fact that everyone says Salaams to you and everyone else on the street. There is this underlying tension in the air that people just generally ignore or just choose to not notice. It’s hard not to notice the IDF soldiers with machine guns walking around you. Sometimes stopping you randomly while asking you to recite part of the Quran to make sure you are Muslim…but people just ignore that part.

I love the Islamic art and the simple beauty of it.

People sit in these windows and read Quran, it’s such a cool sight.

I could talk all day about Jerusalem and all the things that I did, ate and saw there but I went to other places as well!

The same day we went to Ramallah, got to see some sites there as well!

Like where Yaser Arafat was buried….Allah Yerhamou (May All forgive him, rough translation)

It was a pretty big place, very well-kept. Guards always there.

The next day, we set off to Ramalla, Lod, Yafo, Haifa, Akka and Nazareth.

It was really cool to see the place where my ancestors are from. My grandparents didn’t live there, they lived in Nablus and Hebron. Of course, I didn’t get to see my town because it’s no longer there. Gone in 1948, along with many other things, people and places.

I didn’t really take pictures in Ramalla and Lod because we didn’t stop…it was more of a drive through.

I did take pictures in Yafo, the first stop on our tour for the day.

There is a Masjid, by the sea! How cool is that? but look at that water…it was sooo soothing, just to sit there and enjoy the crashing of the waves.

This was on the beach…I thought it was symbolic and spoke a lot.

After Yafo, we went through Tel Aviv but didn’t stop. Our next stop was Haifa and I loved Haifa! It was pretty πŸ™‚

This is the Baha’i gardens…in Haifa. They are mirror gardens. There are 3 different entrances. We only went to the first one…because the second one, was accessed through another street and so on and so on.

After Haifa, we went to Akka…it was another amazing place.We got to see the old Akka wall.

After Akka, we went to Nazerath…but I didn’t get any pictures there because it was dark and we couldn’t find the Church…We did stumble upon a wedding….which was cool πŸ™‚

We spent the last day in Jerusalem. I love the old city, it’s such a magical place.

We had a good time, ate lots of yummy food and saw some awesome sights. I was very tired by the end of it all….we did tons of walking, but it was an amazing trip.

Renewed spirits and hope.

From the guy who gave up hisΒ  new shipment pomegranate to fight settlers to the person who has lived all his life in the Old city, you give me hope.

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6 thoughts on “Trip to a land of hope

  1. That was lovely.
    I didn’t understand the part of IDF soldiers asking people to recite Quran to make sure they are Muslims. Why?
    The picture of the masjid by the sea is breathtaking. You prayed in Al-Aqsa? Lucky you πŸ™‚ May Allah accept your prayer.

    1. Oh, that. Well, here is the story. To get into the old city you pass through huge doors that are open at all times, to actually get into Masjid Al-Aqsa you have to go through another set of doors. On the outside of the doors there are IDF soldiers and on the inside there are Palestinian Guards. As we were walking to get in, the IDF dude stopped us and said, we just want to make sure that you are Muslim because we want to keep the Masjid safe…blah blah blah. So, they asked us to recite a surah or 2 then proceeded to ask the Palestinian guard to “check us out”. It was an interesting experience.

      Yes, I did.

      Ameen and same to you!

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