Buteman reader Iain Connon recently made a trip to Palestine, and has kindly agreed to share his story of what he experienced while in this beautiful land. Here he takes up the story...
In Palestine the heat of the summer is over by October and the winter rains have not arrived.
The temperature is about 25 degrees with cloudless skies.
It was the perfect time to walk the remarkably varied 100 mile Nativity trail from Nazareth to the city of Bethlehem.
Our party of four, myself and a Brian from the UK, Lars from Sweden and Johannes from Norway, was organised by the Alternative Tourism Group.
We were guided and cared for by Nidal, a very fit and easy going Palestinian from a small village called Far’a in the West Bank, and almost always on the telephone to his pals!
Each day, before we set off, we stopped by one of the many small, local shops to buy our daily picnic of olives, hummus, yogurt, bread and fruit and enough water to avoid dehydration. By eight o’clock we were usually on our way walking at a steady pace, stopping with our guide to chat to people in the passing and just enjoying ourselves.
We always seemed to find pleasant shady places to stop for lunch, get a brew of hot, sweet, mint tea on the boil and eat, and then snooze, comfortably alfresco.
We passed through small villages and, through our guide, talked with his innumerable friends, discussing the difficulties of selling the tomato crop, or whatever else came to mind.
We stayed in several, happy and hospitable, Palestinian homes eating with the families, watching Lebanon TV – ‘Arabs Have Talent’ was the favourite - and enjoying the company. Over meals, almost always chicken with garnished rice, we chatted about our families and sometimes about The Situation’.
* To read Iain’s story in full, see this week’s Buteman - on sale from Thursday.