The last part of the trip brought us to the West Bank, the Palestine Territories. We first went to Jericho. You pass a military checkpoint there. The check ups here are not that strict, you can see a lot of cars with yellow car plates here, which belong to Israeli cars. Usually in most parts of the West Banks Israelis are not allowed. Entering Jericho was like entering a different world. I was sure that the Palestine Territories would be different, but I wasn’t expecting such a big difference. The Israeli cities are somewhat western and in good condition. Here lots of houses are in a bad state, there is a lot of waste in the streets. The roads are covered with potholes and cracks, they look sleazy. Horse carriages are a common means of transportation and goat herds are driven through the streets. Obviously most of the people in Jericho are poor, but they are very friendly. It seems like people want to call attention to their situation. When we were asking for the way or an ATM random people or the police would guide our way.
We wanted to see the old center of Jericho. As we got there we took the cable car to get up to the Mount of temptation. From the cable car itself you have a great view over the city of Jericho and its urban hinterland. After getting off we went up hill to the Monastery of Temptation. On our way there we met a street seller for bracelets and necklaces. He stopped us, introduced himself (Said) and had some little conversation with us, asking us to stop by again after our visit at the monastery.
We arrived at the monastery, which is built into the rocks of the mount. A monk opened the gate und let us in. There is a chapel carved into the stone, in this kind of grotto believers were putting there prayers written on pieces of paper, like at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. In the little church in the monastery you will also find another chapel, which supposedly is the place where Jesus spend fourty days and fourty nights fasting and meditating during the temptation of satan. Again people where kneeling down at the shrine to pray and kiss.
On our way back to the cable car we passed the jewelry seller Said. He again stopped us and asked us if we could take a picture with him. And so we did. He was so happy that he gave us two bracelets made of blue gemstones and gave us a kiss on the hand for goodbye. Something similar happened again when we arrived at the cable car station down in Jericho. When you want to go back on the street, you have to cross a big souvenir store with a cashier almost at the exit. There the two male sellers were asking where we were from. As they heard that we are from Germany they invited us to have a little conversation with them ‘Only five minutes, just talking!’. We sat down at the cashier. The sellers gave us two small pins of the Palestinian flag and two key chains of the cable car. They told us about all the sights in Jericho and around. The two sellers were hilarious, joking around all the time. They actually seemed a little sad when we left.