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Bethlehem and surrounding area

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Colorado
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Bethlehem and surrounding area

We'll be staying at the St. Andrews Scottish Hospice in Jerusalem in February, and would like to visit Bethlehem. Would prefer to do it on our own, as a day trip out of Jerusalem. Also would like an appraisal of what to visit around Bethlehem-in other words, is it worth a visit to Shepherd's Fields, Herodium, etc. We'd are willing to take taxis, buses, etc, but need an honest appraisal of what is worth seeing, and how tough it will be for two 50 year old Americans to get back and forth. I've read several guidebooks, and read relavant posts here, but am still trying to get a sense of how tough it is to get in and out of the area, and what in the area is worth seeing. Sorry about long question, but any advice is appreciated, as we'd very much like to see this part of the West Bank.

Israel
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1. Re: Bethlehem and surrounding area

No problem at all for you to get to Bethlehem and tour on your own. You can combine Shepherd's Field with your day, or half day in Bethlehem.

Herodium is fascinating - it is a national park. The best way for you to get there would be by taxi - it is in an area that is under Israeli control. Your best bet would be to get the number of the cab driver so you can call for a ride back when you are done.

England, United...
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2. Re: Bethlehem and surrounding area

Bethlehem is easy and cheap to get to and around by public transport. A bus (No. 21) departs from the bus station between Nablus Road and Salah Ed-din Street, opposite and to the right as you come out of Damascus Gate, every few minutes and costs about 6 NIS one way. I have caught this bus a number of times and it has never taken more than about 30 minutes to reach Bethlehem. The last stop is Bab ez-Zqaq from where it is a mostly downhill 10-15 minute walk to Manger Square through part of the old town. There is so much to see on the way (museums, churches, handicraft outlets, markets, etc.) that this could take you hours! Coming back take a ‘serveese’ or taxi (no more than 20 NIS) to Gilo 300 checkpoint (30-45 minutes’ walk from Manger Square if you are feeling energetic), follow the signs (in English), walk through, show you passport and on the other side you will find buses (No.124) going every few minutes to Jerusalem. This checkpoint can be busy on Friday mornings but otherwise I have found it very straightforward. More than anything else by using public transport you will meet so many wonderful and interesting people and get a glimpse of how the locals live.

There is so much to see in Bethlehem that a day is hardly enough to scratch the surface. The Nativity Museum, the Milk Grotto, the Palestine Heritage Centre, the Mosque of Omar, the Old Bethlehem Museum, the Olive Press Museum, the Green Market, Banksy Art, the Syrian Orthodox Church, Dar Annadwa International Centre, the Lutheran Christmas Church, the Salesian Convent and Church, David’s Wells, Dar Mansour, the Refugee Camps, the churches and monasteries in Beit Jala, to name but a few.

A short bus or taxi ride away is Beit Sahour with its old town and Latin and Orthodox 'shepherd's fields' (both worth seeing and quite different), and just a little further on the Monastery of St Theodosius and spectacular Mar Saba; also Herodium as Oreets suggests. Please look at my reply to ‘Beit Sahour’.

But for a day trip I would suggest walk starting in Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity and Milk Grotto, then barter with a taxi drive to take you shepherds fields etc. Back to Manger Square for the best falafel in the Middle East (IMO) and then head up Pope Paul IV street visiting some of the sites I have mentioned before getting a taxi to the checkpoint. Have a wonderful time – don’t forget your passport!

Happy to answer any specifics.

Colorado
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3. Re: Bethlehem and surrounding area

Thanks!

York, England
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4. Re: Bethlehem and surrounding area

I agree - Bethlehem is fine. I'm nearly 70 & was there last year - some of the pavements are rather uneven between town and Sheperd's Fields. But taxis are ready and cheap. Even bette, why not stay at the Hotel Sahara for a night - it is about 100 yards from SF, and there is a very nice and boozy bar just opposite which seels Tibatr Palestinian beer.

Details at

http://www.saharabethlehem.com/

or via Alternative Travel Group who can arrange all your trip very reasonably - they are at

www.atg.ps

5. Re: Bethlehem and surrounding area

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New Paltz, New York
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6. Re: Bethlehem and surrounding area

What is the best tour guide to take us from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, Beit Jala & Beit Sahour? Someone who knows the history & can guide to the important places in these areas as well as give us a sense of the people who live there.

Thanks

Elaine

7. Re: Bethlehem and surrounding area

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