When my friend and I planned on going to the Middle East, our original itinerary only involved Jordan and Egypt. As you learned from my previous post, we had a chance to explore Dubai for a day thanks to a long layover. Yet again our wanderlust kicked in when we found out we can actually cross the border to Israel and spend a day in Jerusalem.
Crossing the border from Jordan is a complicated process as compared to overland crossing from the US to Canada or Mexico. From the Jordan border, we have to check in, pay the border fee, leave our passport with the agents, board a “border” bus, pay for the seat and the luggage while on the bus, all before receiving our passports back. By the time we reach the Israel border, the process is more like arriving at the airport before crossing immigration, although stricter. It is good to know how the whole process works beforehand, as I would be terrified leaving my passport with someone else, even for just a few minutes.
What made the whole experience more out of the ordinary was when there was a man who boarded our bus after we have gone through the Jordan border. This man was a few feet away from me when were lined up at the Israel immigration checkpoint. When it was his turn, I heard the immigration officer raised his voice, asking him questions if he had boarded the bus where everyone else boarded. I don’t remember what happened next after he was approached by another immigration agent. A few minutes later, we found out that he went missing and was asking a group of people in a tour group if they have seen him.
After this experience, we met our guide right outside the immigration border building. We went straight to Mount of Olives where the photo above was taken. I knew it was going to be a little cold, but I wasn’t prepared for the winds. The driver then took us to the Old City, where we get to explore historical biblical sites. I don’t consider myself a very religious person, but walking around the streets I have only heard and read from school made it fascinating.
We wanted to end our tour quicker because even if it was a private tour, as we didn’t really like our guide. We felt being rushed, and pretty soon felt that we’d rather explore it on our own time, so we had him finish his tour and dropped us off at our hotel. After resting and freshening up, we headed back out and walked around on our own. This was when we began to appreciate Jerusalem more. The contrast between the Old City and the New City made it more interesting. Truthfully, it was a pleasant surprise. We liked Jerusalem so much that when people asked us what part of the trip was our favorite, our first answer is Jerusalem.
Hello everyone, a quick shout out to all of you! By the time you’re reading this, I will be on my way to Iceland! Don’t forget to follow along my Instagram stories, and I will update it as much as I can! Happy Tuesday!
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