When I first travelled to Israel, I was already thinking of a way to visit Palestine. In Palestine, I wanted to see Bethlehem which has the Church of Nativity where Jesus was supposedly born.
It was hard to find information online on how to do this. All I read was that it’s easy to find someone to drive you there once you’re already in Jerusalem. So, Karen, my sisters, and I decided to just wing it when we arrived in Jerusalem.
VIDEO – Observer Country #1: Palestine
Articles I wrote about Palestine
- How to Travel to the Old City of Jerusalem and Bethlehem In One Day
- The Church of Nativity – Visiting the Birthplace of Jesus Christ
Old City of Jerusalem to Palestine
To reach Palestine, we hired a taxi driver at Damascus Gate just outside Jerusalem’s old city. We paid the driver 300 Shekels which is roughly $100 CAD to take us to Bethlehem then back to our hostel. The drive was quite interesting as we didn’t know what the border guard will say. According to our taxi driver, since he’s licensed to take people to Palestine, we would have no trouble. And he was right!
When we arrived right outside the Church of Nativity, it seems that our taxi driver lined us up with a tour guide. We declined and decided to explore the church ourselves.
Church of Nativity
I was super excited to explore the Church of Nativity. Apparently, Jesus was born in this location. The people working in this church were pretty grumpy but I just ignored them. I was having tons of fun exploring this ancient site.
The highlight was definitely seeing Jesus’ exact birth spot. We accidentally cut in the front of the line when the people working in this church thought we were part of this Chinese people tour group. We took this act of racism as positive racism since we got to cut the line.
These tourists were nuts as everyone was trying to take pictures with Jesus’ exact birth spot or touching it to get some good luck.
Israeli West Bank Barrier
After the Church of Nativity, our taxi driver took us to a place called the Graffiti Wall. I had no clue what this wall was when we first went there so I had to read up on it when I went back to my hostel later on. Turns out this wall is the West Bank Barrier that has left the Palestinian people trapped inside.
Apparently, Israel is treating them so poorly that medicine and books aren’t able to get in. The Palestinian people are definitely suffering.
As for us, we were just tourists that took pictures with the wall as we had no clue what it was until we read up on it later on.
After checking out the West Bank Barrier, our taxi driver bought us some Palestinian candy. I think he was trying to bribe us so that we would hire him again.
It definitely worked since we ended up hiring him to drive us again the next two days we were in Israel.
Visiting Bethlehem in Palestine is definitely worth it. In fact, it is my favourite part when I travelled to Israel. It’s sad to see what happened to the Palestinian people. Hopefully, they are able to get independence one day.