Jerusalem is a treasure trove of historical jewels; from large to small, from Jew to atheist, there is something for everyone to see. And I will say out of all of the travelling I’ve done, Jerusalem lies at the very top of my travel destinations list. It is a city of soul, bustling with culture, and brimming with artifacts. Not to mention its one of the oldest cities on our planet, being founded in 2000 BCE. Yes that’s 4000 years ago!

From that time forward it has been captured and recaptured, 44 times, attacked 52 times, besieged 23 times, and twice, destroyed completely. And being the center of faith for the three major religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – it still has as much of an importance in the 21st century as it did all that time ago, and the right to own and access the city is still being fought for up to this very day. For ideas other than Jerusalem – What to see, what to do, see our Jerusalem 2 and 3 day itinerary.

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In the middle of the Dasht-e Kavir desert, and not even mentioned on the map, stands a tiny 10 person settlement named Fahrazad. To get there involves a 450km drive from the next largest city Esfahan. The landscape changed from mountains to hills, to ridges, and slowly flattened out onto the flat dry landscape of the Dasht-e Kavir. Several more hours passed driving along deserted, wind swept roads. We began to slow down, and amongst the parched brown landscape, small patches of cultivated fields began to appear on the horizon which soon turned into a closely linked network of farmland irrigated with spring water. Iranian workers plowed the fields and cared for their crops, most likely rice or barley. We passed through a small village of around 200 people and continued further until finally the road finished; and we struggled with the 2-wheel drive car across the last hundred meters of sand.

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The Golan Heights is a place frequently seen on the news reel. Unfortunately its not always for the right reasons. Looking at a ‘politically correct’ map of the Golan Heights area of Israel/Syria can be quite confusing. Demilitarized zones, truce lines, peace lines, armistice lines, border lines.

The BBC perhaps quite rightly describes it as “strategically important Syrian territory occupied by Israel”. The Israeli Tourism Ministry describes it as “ Israel’s mountainous northern region, is one of the most beautiful and most traveled parts of the country.”

Hmm. Read More

 

I stood alone on the edge, peering downwards at the 600-metre vertical drop into Lysefjord. Legend has it that when 7 brothers and 7 sisters marry on the same day in the area, the rock will break free and drop into the fjord below, creating a wave that will destroy all life in the area! Harsh! But this was Norway’s most famous attraction, and here I was in Tourist season standing alone on the edge..

How? The early bird catches the worm!

I left the car at 7am, for what was supposed to be a 2.5-hour ‘hike’ to the top. 45 Minutes later, I was standing alone with my toes hanging over the edge of the abyss, and feeling the adrenaline building in my body. It’s not a hike. Its a walk. A fit and healthy person should have no problems matching my time to the top.

Pulpit rock seen on approach 600 Metres into thin air, alone on the Preikestolen (Norways Pulpit rock) 600 Metres into thin air, alone on the Preikestolen (Norways Pulpit rock) pulpit rock seen on approach

Pulpit rock seen on approach

For the best picture locations looking down onto the rock, one should climb up behind the Preikestolen where another cliff slightly higher, looks down upon the formation.

Balancing on the edge, with a view into Lysefjord 600 Metres into thin air, alone on the Preikestolen (Norways Pulpit rock) 600 Metres into thin air, alone on the Preikestolen (Norways Pulpit rock) balancing on the edge with a view into lysefjord

Balancing on the edge, with a view into Lysefjord

The views over Lysefjord and Ryfylke are world class, selected by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 viewpoints in the entire world! But personally, I think the Hike to Trollstunga is a much better day out, and a better alternative if pressed for time.

After an hour at the top, I headed down, which took another 40 minutes. Along the way I ran into almost a hundred people all struggling to the top, my worst fear.. Bus Tourists! Day tours leaving from Stavanger begin to arrive around 9am, and beating them is the trick to a peaceful time at the top.

Season: April – October

Getting there from Stavanger – Boreal bus service, 232 NOK (including ferry) Round trip. http://www.boreal.no/pulpit-rock-rogaland/category845.html

If you have your own transport there are wild camping opportunities at the sea you drive along, before the main turn off to the pulpit rock.

Other options – For a cruise along the fjord below Preikestolen, see the timetables at www.norled.no and www.rodne.no

Snow-capped peaks, and emerald blue water reflecting vertical rock faces and cascading waterfalls. Geirangafjord deserves its UNESCO world heritage title for a reason. The highlights of this route are to hike up and around the fjord to historic Skagefla farm, then to the summit of Keipane (1379m) for a rewarding view of the surrounding area.  Read More