So many questions come to mind when we talk about Israel, birth place for so many civilisations, where one can explore the millenaries accompanied with Abraham, Moise, David, Salomon, Herod, the Christ, Suleiman The Magnificent and even Napoleon. A theatre room where bible and history act every day – covered in myths and legends -arousing the curiosity of many. From the door of Jaffa to Jerusalem, the transit between one area to another is easy, except for the mosque esplanade entirely safeguarded. A Rabin dressed with his hat come out of a Yeshiva, a Christian pilgrim goes down the Via Dolorosa, a veiled woman crosses the colonnades of the old Cardo and an orthodox priest prays in front of the Holy Sepulchre. Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Protestant, each group has his own interpretation of the place. Whilst the Makhane Yeduda’s markets sells its dried fruits, Halva and Houmus, the crowd hurry near the mysterious Western Wall who hides for its majority under the old town, through an underground tunnel with priceless archaeological remains. Later in the day, the consuming visit of the Holocaust museum escorted by an expert of the Shoah, finished in a prism of light, beacon of hope. We leave Jerusalem, and head towards the Judean desert, where the inimitable pizza cook Moshe, opened his hut facing the arid landscape, to offer the best wood fire pizzas. A bit further, on the shore of the Dead Sea, we take our first bath in the salt sea before moving towards the eroded meanders of the Negev desert. Then we drive to the north of Israel, all the way to Haifa and the Mont Carmel Valleys, through the Annunciation basilica in Nazareth. After the ramparts of Akko, reminiscence of the Crusades, we arrive in Safed in Galilee and climb up the stone stairways towards medieval synagogues, surrounded by art galleries. Further down, between the gigantic Lake Tiberias and the Mount of Beatitudes, the flourishing valley dotted with kibbutzim is a witness of the birth of Christianity. Last stop is in the hectic city of Tel Aviv which we will cross by bike from the Port of Jaffa. Yafo, a place once full of sand dunes where the pioneers decided to settle is, today, built with long fortifications, a lot of them hosting art galleries and flowered houses. On the Boulevard Rothschild, there is a surprising mix of high rises and Bauhaus style building, which explains the name of “White House” given to Tel Aviv during the 30s. The city, renowned for its festive atmosphere, which also rimes with culture, is home to the Diaspora Museum and the Contemporary Art Museum presenting some impressive pieces. A helicopter flight from Herzliyya, a smart suburb in Tel Aviv, will finish off our trip with a last dip in biblical ground.
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