Welcome to part 5 of my epic solo female Middle Eastern road trip. On this post, I continue my hitchhiking Israel adventures, on a series of hitching and bus riding stints, as I head out to explore more historical sites around Tiberias / Sea of Galilee region.
Want to know what preceded my hitchhiking Israel solo tales?
Hitchhiking Israel continues: Beit She’an
I woke up early that morning to my now-usual routine: Walk several meters to the exit of the kibbutz, raise my hand, and hitch a ride in less than 5 min. On this day though, I would do a combination of hitchhiking and buses, as I was heading south to the historical site of Beit She’an.
Beit She’an is, in short, any history buff’s dream. Needless to say, I was thrilled to finally see it with my own eyes. Just so you have an idea of how important and strategic the city has been throughout history: Evidence of its earliest settlement point between 6th to 5th millenia BCE [Braun, Eliot. Early Beth Shan (Strata XIX-XIII). On Wikipedia]. Across the ages, though, it has been occupied by Egyptian, Philistine, Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine, Arab Caliphate, Crusader, Mamluk, Ottoman rulers, in addition to British Mandate Palestine before it became part of the new Israeli state. Whoa!
The day was long. It took some orchestration to finally get here. Once there, the sun was grueling. I had brought only one bottle of water and had no idea when I would be done. Poor planning on my part–again. Sometimes I wonder how I survive such epic journeys…
Still, I head out and wandered through the streets, staring at the tall pillars like a 5-year-old visiting Disney World for the first time. And so, as I admired–and worried–at the grandeur of the site, someone tapped my shoulder: “Hey, you here by yourself?”
Do I look like a poor lost girl all the time!? Gee! Sometimes I wonder…
“Uh yeah…hitchhiked/took some buses here from a kibbutz I’m staying at. is it obvious?!” I smiled at the middle-aged man. He responded, “Haha, a bit! Impressed, actually. I’m about to start a guided tour with a family, would you like to join us?” I hesitated: “Oh, I wouldn’t want to intrude..it’s ok, thank you though. That’s very kind of you.” He wouldn’t take no for an answer: “Oh just join us! It’s not like I’m going to charge you! Hahaha did you think I would?!” As the tour guide kept laughing, I just looked at his credentials, hanging from his neck, struggling to find an answer. Before I could speak again, he lightly pushed my shoulder to follow his lead. Oook!
Free guided tour of Beit She’an: Fascinating
I don’t know what impressed me the most: The great background and stories by our tour guide or the 10-year-old’s extensive knowledge of ancient history. I mean, she was completing the tour guide’s sentences with exact dates and unbelievable (accurate!) details — the tour guide was rather pleased and entertained by his new-found assistant. What a great experience I had! I still wonder how I manage to put myself in such awesome situations as I travel…
Stay tuned as next month I’ll talk about another historical site, sharing my adventures as I keep using a combination of public transport and hitchhiking Israel solo. Can you guess where we’re going next (starts with B and ends with S)?