lovely to be back!
23.09.2019 - 26.09.2019 28 °C
How lovely to be wondering the streets of this wonderful Old City. This is certainly one of my “happy places”. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the welcome; because this is not yet a tourist venue one can wander the narrow streets, lingering at the shop fronts and soaking in the atmosphere and no-one tries to sell you anything!
So different to the tourist souks. The locals are pleased to see you and the welcome is warm. Our welcome was especially warm as the Sayeh family invited us to their home. It was very special to share this time, Mohammed (aka as Sayeh in the uk!) and Deema’s wedding. The evening we arrived the family were gathering for the forthcoming wedding, some relatives travelling from Jordan. We shared a meal on the terrace with grandmas and uncles and cousins, babies and toddlers. Everyone made such an effort to speak English for us, which is good as our Arabic would have meant quite a stilted conversation! Sayeh’s uncle made Kanefeh (a Nablusi desert) in an outside oven, very much reminded me of western men and their control of the BBQ!
The day before the wedding we left the family to the preparations and took in a few more sights.
A trip up Mount Gerizim, the Samaritan Village
and now also an illegal settlement (Israeli citizens living on land designated for Palestinians by the Oslo agreement).
There is an excellent view of Nablus from here. You can see Joseph’s Tomb, Jacobs Well (possible site of the woman at the well story in the gospels), Tel Balata (5000BC historical site) and the Balata refugee camp. When we arrived at the look out there were a group of about 10 Israeli soldiers using their gun sights as binoculars as they looked over the city. I found it most intimidating as they looked as if they were taking aim, also this is not an area where Israeli soldiers should be. However they soon left and walked past us with a casual “hi!”
It was women’s day at the Hammam ( Turkish baths) so I spent a happy few hours steaming in this beautiful Ottoman building. Women are a little like children: they don’t allow a language barrier to spoil the enjoyment of the moment! I used to go to these baths when I was volunteering so it brought back happy memories.
As you can see by this photo the Old city has peaceful traditions which continue to this day
A visit to a soap factory, eating falafel, drinking Turkish coffee, haircut for Steve and our days were soon filled!