Part IV - Monastery in the desert, microbrewery & wall of shame

September 25, 2018

During the last 3 days of our stay in Israel, we left Jerusalem behind and went on day-trips with our friend T. to places off the beaten track, deep in the Palestinian Territories.

To begin with, Day 5 with an impressive desert canyon, a beer tasting with a nice Palestinian family, street-art on the Apartheid Wall and the old town of Bethlehem

Mar Saba is an Eastern Orthodox Christian monastery overlooking the Kidron Valley. Amidst an impressive canyon in the desert, the whole area is just fantastic, almost surreal. Only negative point: The river below is really dirty, draining all the garbage of Jerusalem. A pity in such a beautiful place!

Our next stage is Beit Sahour, a town near Bethlehem. On a wall besides a car workshop lies The Protester Throwing Flowers, a famous graffiti by the anonymous street artist Banksy. Then, we go to the nearby Singer Café, a very nice place, decorated with antique Singer sewing machines.

 

Not far from there, we visit then a Palestinian friend of T., owner of a beer microbrewery, Wise Men Choice Beer. We taste all his wonderful craft-beers and have lunch with his very nice family. We eat a Maqluba, a traditional Palestinian dish. It's very good, but after the beer tasting and 2 plates of Maqluba, I need to take a nap!

 

Replete & happy, we drive to the next famous Banksy graffiti, the Armored Dove of Peace and arrive then to our next destination, the Apartheid Wall.

This time, we can see it very close and go for a walk along a part of it, full of graffitis. Just like the Berlin Wall, it's cutting the West Bank in halves, over a length of 800 km. It's responsible for one of the major problems for the creation of Palestinian State, the fragmentation of the land. From the Israeli point of view, the main purpose of this wall is to protect the settlers from the "Palestinian terrorists".


But, who are the real terrorists? The Palestinians or the fanatic settlers who are stealing piece after piece the land of the Palestinian with the assent of the Israeli government?

The art of Banksy can be seen everywhere along the wall and the street artist even financed the Walled Off Hotel, a place dedicated to the Wall and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Very interesting, a mix of art gallery and a fully functioning hotel with every room facing the Wall. Here a selection of my pictures of the Wall and the surroundings.

Then, we leave this very depressing but exciting place behind. It's getting late and we have still a site to visit, the Church of the Nativity in the center of Bethlehem. Sadly, it's already closed. Instead of visiting the alleged birthplace of Jesus, we stroll around the old town, not so big and lively as in Jerusalem but still interesting.

 

Today was really great, a kaleidoscope of impressions between wide nature, contact with people and the effects of stupid politic and pseudo-religious greed!

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