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Hitchhiking Israel solo adventures continue: Scoring a Beit She’an free tour

September 13, 2012

Israel and Palestine

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?

Part 1: Cairo to Jerusalem
Part 2: Solo female in Northern Israel
Part 3: Kibbutz Couchsurfing and hitchhiking: Sea of Galilee
Part 4: Hitchhiking Israel solo: Trespassing onto Mt of Beatitudes

Hitchhiking Israel, Tiberias tractor

Simone Baldini, Flickr

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!

hitchhiking Israel solo, Beit She'an ruins

Beit She’an ruins: Another lucky break while hitchhiking Israel (James Emery, Flickr)

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!

hitchhiking Israel solo, Beit She'an Roman theater

Beit She’an Roman theater (Yan Li, Flickr)

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…

hitchhiking Israel solo, Beit She'an Roman theater wall

Beit She’an Roman theater wall (Dana, Flickr)

hitchhiking Israel solo, Beit She'an mosaic

“Original Roman mosaic from Scythopolis,” another name of Beit She’an (Dana, Flickr)

hitchhiking Israel solo, Beit She'an Roman columns

Beit She’an Roman columns (Jeremy Rover, Flickr)

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)? ;)

Is hitchhiking Israel on your travel bucket list? Would you embark on a solo female Middle Eastern road trip?

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7 Responses to “Hitchhiking Israel solo adventures continue: Scoring a Beit She’an free tour”

  1. Leigh Says:

    What an awesome way to travel and it seems like you’re mostly enjoying yourself. I don’t know if I could deal with the heat. Remember the WATER!


  2. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista Says:

    The heat would be an issue but the rewarding views would make it worthwhile! Great read.


    • Maria Laborde Says:

      the heat can get unbearable, but covering your head with a scarf definitely helps. The views and experiences are worth it!


  3. InsideJourneys Says:

    That was so gracious of him. I love having these kinds of lucky accidents – makes travel that more memorable.


    • Maria Laborde Says:

      I know! That’s why I love Couchsurfing and hitchhiking so much. I get to meet such interesting, kind people


  4. brent Says:

    Hey Maria!! These post are a great series! I used to follow your writing on latinabroad and came here today on a whim via twitter. You certianly wet my appetite for travel …and I especially can’t wait to take another visit to Israel :) I can hook you up with some amazing people there if you’d like to make friends in the area (around our age) + save on hotel fare… could introduce you through FB or something. Have fun and God bless!!


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