This morning I awoke at 5am to meet a group of Palestinians that go hiking every Friday morning. I was invited by an NGO worker from Gaza who is in Ramallah for the weekend, evacuated due to the dangerous situation there. We took share taxis to Birzeit, and hiked to near Nabi Saleh. We were actually heading to Nabi Saleh, but we were stopped by soldiers because it is a closed military zone on fridays because of the protests there.
Hiking in Palestine was a wonderful experience. The land is beautiful, and it is not to hot if you rise early. However, by about 9 am the sun is very high in the sky and it is very hot, really the hours of 6-9am are the best time for hiking here in summer. You walk across very old ground – ground that has been worked for thousands of years. Everywhere you go you see evidence of ancient farmers – every hill is terraced, either completely or in some state of decay. As far as we could see, everywhere was olive trees. I’m not sure if anyone owns the olive trees, I’ve had conflicting reports from Palestinians about whether all the trees are owned individually or by villages, or perhaps not owned at all.
The hike ended with a pic-nic. Everyone brought something (we brought peaches), so on offer was an amazing spread of Palestinian food. And really Palestinian food, because out of the group of about 30 there were only 3 internationals.
I would have pictures to include, but unfortunately I don’t because my camera expired yesterday. I will start carrying around my big camera so you will still get pictures to look at, I promise.