Monday, 4 October 2010


AW and banana groves on the circuit of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias).
A mine field sign on the circuit of the Sea of Galilee. I climbed up from the sea to the level of the Golan Heights and saw numerous minefield signs.
Israeli patrol in the Jordan Valley. These soldiers were reservists doing their three week annual stint. Friendly and easy going bunch. This is not always the case with the Israeli military. But lack of friendliness is understandable when the dangers and stresses of their position is considered.
Unusual monument near the Lebanon border.
Winter conditions on the high ground near Jerusalem.
The climb up from the Jordan Valley to Jerusalem.

My Israeli tour of February/March 1988 was a personal ground breaking trip. It was the first time I took my bike by plane. I flew from Gatwick to Tel Aviv with the now defunct Dan Air. I travelled with minimal kit, all my belongings fitting into two rear pannier bags with room to spare. I didnt take a tent.
My first night was spent in Petah Tiqwa youth hostel. The hostel seemed to be a fully functioning billet for the Israeli Defense Force.
Then I travelled up the coast via Haifa to reach the fortified town of Akco. After a night in the House Bekki hostel I travelled further north close to the Lebanon border before turning east to travel to Tiberias. Here I spent two nights and filled a day by cycling the 65km circuit of the Sea of Galilee.
I travelled down the Jordan Valley to meet with a small mountain road that climbed up to Jerusalem. I used a couple of hostels in Jerusalem during my time. I left Jerusalem to travel down to Jericho. In Jericho I stayed at the grandly named Hisham Palace Hotel which later became the base for the PLO' s political efforts to establish autonomy for the Occupied Territories.
I biked down the Israeli side of the Dead Sea to reach Masada-the famous ruins on top of a mountain which was defended to the end by Israelites against the besieging Romans. I camped in the open at the base of the mountain before an early start to climb to the top and explore the ruins.
I made my way to Tel Aviv. The sojourne in Tel Aviv was marked by the annual Perim festival celebrations. There was a grand street caraval to watch. I stayed at the Gordon Hostel which at the time was near the Sheraton Hotel. I doubt if the hostel is still open today. On my trip earlier this year I didnt see the hostel mensioned in the Lonely Planet.
I wanted to make another visit into the West Bank. So I cycled north west to reach Nablus. This trip was at the time of the first intafada and I crossed rock strewn roads and met curt Israeli soldiers on the entry into Nablus, evidence of the tension and political unrest of the time.
I returned to Jerusalem before going to Tel Aviv and making myself ready for the airport. It was while freewheeling down from Jerusalem that my chain sliped of the high ring and jammed between the wheel and the ring. The forward action ripped the derailieur mechanism off, complete with the lug arm. To make this situation worse it was pouring with heavy rain. I could have cried and it fact I probably did. The day was saved by a taxi ride into Tel Aviv where I adapted the bike to be a one speed, thus enabling me to ride to the sirport the following day.
I think I cycled 400 miles during this three week trip.

ARCHAEOLOGY Lecture this evening in town

The evening I will be attending his archaeology lecture in Northwich about the Anglo-Saxon period. Could be interesting.