Then it was time for us to change country – It was border crossing day!
We had read a lot about border crossing from Jordan to Israel, and especially this border; Allenby / King Hussein bridge. We were prepared for long waiting time, chaos, trouble and everything that could happens. And the whole day were set aside to this!
Palestinians traveling abroad must use The Allenby/King Hussein Bridge to exit the Palestinian Authority West Bank region into Jordan and then use the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman to fly abroad, because they are not permitted to use Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv.
In the morning we got picked up at our room and got driven up to the reception, and they ordered a shuttle for us. It had probably gone faster with Taxi, for our driver did not come until an hour later.
We got to the border by taxi around 9.15 am. We filled out a note with name, nationality and passport number, and delivered the note with our passport and the exit fee (we paid 10JOD p.p). You have to leave your passport with them. It’s how they do it, so don’t worry.
We walked outside, paid the bus (7JOD p.p + 1.5 JOD per baggage) and got on. After awhile a man came and gave everybody their passport back, and when the bus was filled up we finally could leave.
A short bus ride took a pretty long time, but we got to the terminal in Israel. Went outside, took our baggage and placed us in line. Our big backpacks had to be send through for a security check and needed a tag. Then it was of to check our passport and they attached a sticker at the back of our passport. So into the terminal for some more queuing before we got to the security control, and our passport were checked again. Then it was of to a new pass check and to get our visas (it’s like a ID-card you have to bring with you, so don’t loose it!). Finally through, four hours after we delivered our passport in Jordan.
We then found our bags before we went out to take a shared taxi in to Jerusalem.
On our way we had to pass a control where they checked our passport/visa.
We got of the taxi and took a new one to our hotel; Prima Royale.
We waited for an hour for our room to get ready so we could leave our luggage before we went out to explore Jerusalem.
We took a cab to the “Old Town”, wandered around, and we were not alone! So many people… But what could we expect? It was Easter and we were in Jerusalem.
We saw the Wailing Wall, but didn’t go the whole way down to it. So crowded!
Shtreimel: A fur hat worn by many married haredi Jewish men, particularly members of Hasidic groups, on Shabbat and Jewish holidays and other festive occasions. In Jerusalem, the shtreimel is also worn by “Yerushalmi”Jews. The shtreimel is generally worn only after marriage, except in some Yerushalmi communities, where boys wear it from the age of bar mitzvah.
We looked, took some photos, ate a simple dinner, drank some tea, bought some candy and then went back to the hotel. We where so tired!
The next day we took a taxi to the Arabic bus station, and got on bus number 21 to Bethlehem (cost 8ILS p.p.).
10 ILS = ca 2,9 USD
When we got to the bus stop in Bethlehem the taxi drivers stood ready. They were so uncomfortable ongoing, but fortunately a Italian guy asked if we wanted to share a taxi. And thank God for that, because we were almost scammed. A taxi driver asked for 80 ILS to drive us, but the Italian guy had a offer on 20ILS, so we went with him. So much hassle, so unpleasant, but we got to The Church of the Nativity, the birthplace of Christ. You’ll find the exact spot down in a grotto. A fourteen-point silver star embedded in white marble indicates the birthplace of Christ, and fifteen lamps burn around the spot.
When we got back up, we went outside and up to a street with shops where we bought some souvenirs.
Then it was time for a new challenge: Get a taxi driver without getting “robbed”. We just wanted to go back to the bus, but after a long discussion with the driver we said okay to see the wall before he drove us back.
The Israeli West Bank barrier is a security and separation barrier under construction by the State of Israel along and within the West Bank.
He showed us the wall and some of the most famous artworks on it. We took pictures, and then he wanted to drive us to the check point to get on another bus. But now we said NO, and he let us off on the bus stop we want to get off! On the bus ride back our bus was controlled on the border between Palestine and Israel, and we had to show them our passport/visa.
The Palestinian territory wasn’t the best experience. We felt that everyone we met wanted to get as much money from us as they could. And they was too ongoing and made us feel like we were the ones who were rude.
I don’t know if it’s true, but the taxi driver told us that lots of tourists are coming to their country and want to go to one specific place (as we did), and they do not make money on that. But, on the other hand, the aggressive way dosn’t work! That only makes us feel unwelcome…
Back to Jerusalem
Back in Jerusalem we walked around, and wanted to check out the old market, but it was chaos! It was so crowded because of the pilgrimage.
We watched for awhile, but we got enough and went back to the hotel to pick up our baggage before we leaved Jerusalem behind and went to Tel Aviv (the drive cost us 410ILS (almost 120USD) for our last night in Israel: TLV88.
It wasn’t too much to do in the area except from the beach (as we know). So we jumped in our swimwear and went down to the beach for a swim and some sunbathing 🙂
In the evening we found a restaurant with a nice view over the sea and the beautiful sunset – So romantic! But it took like forever to order. And when we wanted some dessert we waited for almost TWO!!! hours to order. That isn’t OK! But the food tasted good..
We got chicken sandwiches, salad, Coke, beer, Creme Brulee and a chocolate cake for 233NIS (almost 70USD) .