Kosher highway code & Middle east motorcycling expedition

Walking past an ultra orthodox neighbourhood, sometimes I see these signs a little different from other parts of town.

Driving is forbidden by religious Jews on Shabbat or on holidays, for everyone else secular Israelis, Arabs or foreigners should not drive past these signs in these neighbourhoods on those days as deemed to be highly disrespectful to this community, these signs are a reminder you are entering a religious area.

On the way home from work I saw these large high end looking motorcycles, four of them, Harley Davidsons and BMWs, just round the corner from Zion Square, where Ben Yehuda Street meets Jaffa Street.   The owners are nowhere to be seen, but the bikes have been here two days now, the plates on the bikes are foreign.   On closer inspection, they have come from Bulgaria.  Zoom on the fuel tank for their tour.  Going into Damascus, Syria, then through Israel and Egypt sounds like a nightmare to plan for your visa application though!

There isn’t a web site mentioned, a quick search with Google shows nothing, if this is your club, or you know who is doing this trip, please comment or add a link 🙂



Galilee road trip part 2 : setting up camp

Parts 1 2 3 – more soon…

Sometimes known as Lake Tiberias, Lake Kinneret, but its probably best known to most people as the Sea of Galilee.

After some driving around and exploring on foot on some picnic sites over looking the lake, we eventually settled on this one.

This would be wonderful enough if this was just a regular national park, but – this is Jesus’s backyard, a lake that was the place for many miracles, feeding the 5,000, turning water into wine, putting the demon from a man into the herd of swine (who fell to their deaths) finding many fish in the lake when the fisherman’s earlier efforts in the day yielded nothing.

The place we pitched on a picnic site was nothing short of spectacular.  The lake is about 13 by 8 miles long.

I wasn’t able to get join the six pictures together to get a full impression of the lake, but I think this one is ok:

top: As the ground is very hard and difficult to get pegs in without a hammer, I opted to mix bodging and camping and tie my tent ropes to this tree which had branches in the right place. lower: the Lance boys are well used to making a good fire.

That night I got to learn the phrase ‘glamping‘ ie: glamorous camping, a word to induce general banter, amusement and teasing of other members of the party who were less used to proper camping and would take frivolous luxuries such as iPhones, posh wine glasses and other things more suited to home. ‘you glamper, you!’

Parts 1 2 3 – more soon…

Road trip to the Galilee

Parts 1 2 3 – more soon…

Last weekend I went on a road trip, 10 of us in two cars up to the north of the country towards the Golans and the Galilee with me doing some of the driving, I picked up the rental car, a Kia Magentis a fairly dull Korean car which did the job fine, it had plenty of space and was reasonably pleasant to drive.  Seems that Israelis mostly favour automatics I am not sure why it maybe to do with the lot of Americans that are here, or possibly due to the roads are steep and hilly, and as the speed of your driving has to change very frequently, it becomes a lot of work to constantly switch between second and third gear often as I have found as I often use to drive around Hindhead and Surrey way back in the UK when I often drive through the twisty roads  in a forest in mostly darkness to go and have a few beers and a curry with my good friend John P who is there.

Anyway the trip required a large cooler box for perishable food, a ton of nuts and dried fruit, lots of firewood as well as 5 tents and sleeping bags for everyone as well as the pots and pans.

The drive up there, although was challenging needing to be assertive enough to squeeze in competing traffic, not in a aggressive or selfish way, but part of the hectic patterns of driving which is common here.  Cars here are often old and beat up and deaths in road accidents are twice what they are in UK and the US, not hard to imagine when I often see other drivers impatiently overtaking on some completely blind bends and hills.  Although driving standards are bad here so is Italy, Greece, Turkey and Egypt, so it seems to be a Mediterranean thing.  I found it not that hard to drive on the other side of the road but an auto box takes a little bit of getting used to.   Unlike modern European cars which have a stereo integral into the dash which is not easily removable, this car has a generic type stereo fitted, this meant it had tiny buttons, no steering column controls, and produced lots of scrolling messages about how many channels and watts it has which I find quite irritating.  There is a small numeric keyboard glued onto the dash (all cars in Israel have these, it’s a mandatory requirement by the insurance companies I believe)  and requires a four digit code to enable the engine to start, but the Kia I had although new doesn’t like starting first time, and needed the ignition off after a first attempt to get going.  This car is also a bit dated in styling as I think it’s a rehash of an older Hyundai model.

I think it took me two hours to get to Tiberias, this city named after a Roman leader is the main city in the Galilee region looks out towards the east side of lake and depends on tourism from foreign Christians for its economy.   When I came here before this town looked a bit shabby with the concrete hotels looking a bit reminiscent of a communist era, today these still are a bit of an eye sore but the place looks much smarter now.

Oddly enough it started to rain (remember rain is a rarity here) whilst driving through Tiberias although there is a great need for water as the Galilee (and the Dead Seas as well)  are desperately short, and where as the water is much welcomed I was surprised to see there were no drains or obvious gutter system so the water has no where to go, so the road had lots of surface water.   Hmm, me thinks a good engineer is needed to design a system to channel this to where it’s needed I reckon.

Next camping overlooking the lake…

Parts 1 2 3 – more soon…