Welcome to Israel!

A land where vegetables and fruit never rest.

A journey of 4 weeks: February 19 - March 19 2015

Sderot Ben Gurion, Tel Aviv

Street life in Allenby Ben Yehuda, Tel Aviv

Morning silence in Sderot Yerushalayim, Jaffa

Jaffa port

Breaking up to the tour around Israel:

Tel Aviv to Tel Aviv - anticlockwise!

Lots of fruit groves near Eitan along the route 40.

The agricultural water system is constantly being expanded.

Grainfields towards Beersheva; I left the 40 for a while.

Almond groves

Touching the border fence to the Southern Westbank

Invited at Chen and Assaf, Metar, thank you!! - Westbank in the back

Leaving Beersheva behind, at last!

Entering the Negev Desert, first on the old road (40).

The landscape changes quickly.

Army bases sometimes make it impossible to leave the road.

I found a spot all the same ;-)

Nothing goes without a good coffee in the morning.

I love the simple lifestyle of travelling by bike.

Capricorn beside Ben Gurion's desert home

Bedouine camp

At the edge of Mizpe Ramon...

...where the Negev is getting even more impressive:

Downhill, ...

... to a huge canyon

It was very hot, already in February.

Spring time brings forth all the flowers, even here.

I carried up to 12l of water.

It is exciting to ride along and through these kinds of rock formations.

Sometimes I'm hanging out in the shade to cool down the body.

Even here, you find isolated kibbuzim.

There were hardly any cars.

The shadows are turning longer and the temperature is dropping to a comfortable level.

I took profit of the comfortable temperatures at night and stopped later than normally.

In the morning I realised that I was camping next to a tank runway at the back :-).

Silex stones all over

This kind of stone was used in the stone age for knives and spearheads.

Trees indicate a water vein.

Knocking out some kilometers without an end.

An old exemplar of the 70ies marks the entrance to an army base.

Route 12, reminding me of the times on Argentinas Quarenta.

Best time to enjoy the flowers...

... and wildlife en miniature.

Finally I reached the border to Egypt.

Desert is turning reddish.

Downhill to Eilat at the Red Sea, Jordan in the back.

Thanks for the warm welcome Ilan!

The local riff, a place I recommend to go snorkelling.

View to the South: Egypt on the righthand side and Saudi Arabia in the back on the left.

The port of Aqaba, Jordan.

Almost every border is marked by minefields.

Visiting the Underwater Observatory:

Impressive aquariums, worthwhile to visit, here with sharks.

Thanks Ilan for the invitation, let's keep in touch!

I stayed three days in the Shelter Hostel. It was a great time with the staff :-).

Next break up: Heading North on the route 90.

Best clime for date palms

Solar power plant

The reddish mountains of Edom (Jordan)...

...a mountain range accompanying me steadily.

Again it reminded me of Northwestern Argentina.

Moments to stop breathing.

That's how I love it.

It's time to find a spot to sleep.

No need to pitch the tent - and no rain in the Negev at this time of the year

Carpets of flowers mark spring only a couple of weeks until they dry up.

How could this taste?

Finally I reached the Dead Sea:

The Dead Sea is 400m below sea level.

Factory to extract all kinds of salts.

No way to escape the road, minefields at the back.

Salt waiting to be exported.

Another exciting spot to cycle

Looking for a camp spot near ancient Sodom.

The cliffs are formed of salt rocks.

Best spot to hide for the night, right next to route 90.

The Southern pool of what is left over of the Dead Sea

The artificial channel to feed the Southern pools.

Masada, where the Romans defeated the Jewish resistance in the year 73.

This is how high the floods can rise in winter.

The Dead Sea (Yam Melach) is disappearing constantly.

Kibbutz En Gedi recycling waste water

Here it's great to cycle, sometimes it can be narrow, attention.

At Qelem (Kelem) I enjoyed the fresh water hot springs beside the Dead Sea.

The water is up to 50C in the hot springs and the salt water reaches 124% density compared to fresh water.

Crossing the border into the westbank

Since the sea level is droping, fresh water has started pouring from the rocks beside.

I spent a great night in the Kibbutz Avnat/Ovnat - thanks to soldiers. - Thanks Ayelet and Daniel for the great sabbath meal!

Qumran, where the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls were found.

View to the Jordan Baptismal Site beside Bethany

Jericho

Passing Gilgal, finally it is getting greener again.

Minefields towards Jordan with ancient Gilead at the back.

The time when the Middle East appears in its best colours.

Within weeks it will dry up.

Memories of the Six Days War, 1967.

Back to the mainland of Israel, camping well hidden behind a gas station.

Jordan river below the Sea of Galilee.

Route 92 along the Eastern side of the Sea of Galilee

Around the lake there are even bike roads. Recommendable for anyone!

I enjoyed the peaceful and quiet time, no tourists at all :-). - Tiberias in the back

Water snail houses cover the beaches.

Golan Hights in the back

Beside Ha On

Former border to Syria until 1967

Part of Shwil Israel - Israel National Trail, a hiking path from North to South through the whole country

Riding around the lake, Northeast

Beside ancient Bethsaida

Lots of birds are passing through here.

Mango groves

Taking a bath and sleeping beside ancient Capernaum, where Jesus lived.

St. Peter's Church at Tabha (until the priest threw me out.)

It is said that Christ prepared the fish and bread on this rock after his resurrection (John 21).

2000 year old fishing boat at Genosar, found in the 80ies.

The nails used for it at that time; and for other things too

Ancient Magdala

After a two day break in Tiberias I broke up to:

The Golan

Climbing the steep slopes in the South

Route 98, crossing minefields everywhere

F16 fighters constantly in the sky

Former Syrian bunkers

Best road along the edge

Great view on the lake

Tiberias at the far end of the lake

The Golan Hights have access to the water system too.

Former Syrian army base.

Almond groves on the fertile basaltic grounds

War scrap, probably from 1973

The water system is extended everywhere.

Along these 5km I felt nervous as I was warned that there were still snipers at the other side of the border.

Destroyed tanks from Yom Kippur War, 1973.

Thanks, Avia and Uri, for inviting me to the Kibbutz Ein Zivan!

The view to Syria...

... the UNDOF camp at the border

When I was looking to Syria a couple of minutes I suddenly heard gunfire from the other side of the border.

Moving on towards Mount Hermon

Finally I reached the downhill, route 99; Nimrod fortress at the right and Lebanon at the back.

Decent to Hula Valley, Lebanon in the back.

Panias and ancient Caesarea Philippi

Panias, watch the holes in the rocks where the gods of stone were placed.

One of the springs of Jordan river

Minefields toward Lebanon, finally I was used to it.

Tel Dan and its springs of Jordan river, Lebanon in the back

Border to Lebanon

Heading South again, I chose route 918, almost no traffic.

Hula Valley was wet ground up to the 50ies. Today there is intense agriculture.

I love to ride on such roads.

The Jordan river when it is still full (before the Sea of Galilee).

Last view to the Golan Hights

Good bye Mount Hermon!

Good bye Sea of Galilee!

Moving East on the route 85 toward the Mediterranean Sea.

Eucalyptus in flower

Olive tree groves

Typical Arabic town

Akko

It is comfortable to travel on a recumbent. - My bike is a Dutch Seiran 26, challengebikes.com

Akko is an Arabic historic town.

Haifa ahead

Fortunately I passed through on Sabbath Day, no heavy trucks.

Hacarmel Beach, what great coastal promenade to ride a bike!

I left the paved roads...

... wanted to enjoy these peaceful moments.

So I followed dirt roads...

... and stone roads, but totally worthwhile to choose...

... and camped finally in the open air.

The last day on the bike brought me to Caesarea Maritima, the ancient port to Rome.

Finally I had to knock out some hours with heavy traffic...

... and reached just at sun set:

Tel Aviv-Jaffo, the place were I began the journey almost three weeks ago.

The joy is overwhelming in these moments.

I followed his example for the final days.

Visiting the city: Beside Ha Bima Theatre

Sarona...

what a contrast

Public bikes to rent

The most dangerous objects all over Israel: the eBikes, they speed over pedestrian zones like crazy!

A last overview from floor 49 of Azriel Center:

Israel and its people, Jewish and Arab, enriched me a lot. Thank you, guys!!!