I just returned from the Middle East. A Canadian photographer and myself contracted with a small Lincoln, California media company to capture various biblical archeological locations for an interactive app, website, and magazine. Our little team of four was truly international; we represented New Zealand, Canada, United States, and Great Britain.
Since international travel is one of my all-time passions, I was beyond excited to visit the Middle East again. Our three week trip took our team to Turkey (west and east), Jordan, Israel, quick visits to Lebanon, Germany, and a REALLY quick visit to the Iranian border, since we were so close. At the end of the trip, I stopped in Geneva, Switzerland for a long layover. I had never been to Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, or Iran before, so this was more than just a work trip for me; it was an opportunity to check more countries off my list and experience some new cultures.
Our trip began in Turkey. We spent four days on the eastern side of the country near Mount Ararat, documenting Noah’s Ark. At one point, the mountains of Armenia were within walking distance and oh, so, tempting. Back on the western side, it was painfully obvious that two nights in Istanbul weren’t enough time to explore such an amazing city, so I have to go back. And, in case you’re wondering, Turkish Airlines is a wonderful airline and I’d happily fly with them again!
Our next stop was Jordan. Within four days, our team saw the entire county (thanks to our very ambitious tour guide)! We took a jeep ride through the desert in Wadi Rum, camped under the stars with the Bedouins, and rode a camel for two hours late at night…just for fun and adventure. Also, in Jordan, I experienced heat stroke in Petra – that was a first! I didn’t float in the Dead Sea, but I can report that the water feels slimy/oily. We were so close to Syria and Saudi Arabia, I could almost touch them! If my boney camel hadn’t have been so downright uncomfortable, I would have easily been talked into riding to Saudi Arabia, which was only two “camel speed” hours away through the desert.
Israel was the last stop for me, since I wasn’t going on to Egypt with the rest of the group. (I’ve been to Egypt before and decided I was okay skipping it this time.) Jerusalem is a beautiful city with so much history that three days isn’t long enough to take it all in, but I tried. In the end, I had the best falafels two days in a row and will never be able to settle for wanna-be middle eastern food sold at Costco ever again.
Here are some highlights from the past three weeks.
Eastern Turkey: Ottoman palace near the Iranian border.
Noah’s Ark, Eastern Turkey: