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Walking the line

30 October 2010

Catching up after six busy weeks – and I just wanted to write a short post, to follow up my previous posts on walking in Jordan and Turkey, to talk about the Jesus Trail, a linked series of walks through northern Israel.

The walk has been developed by Anna Dintaman and David Landis – lovely people, who I met and walked with in southern Israel last year. The Jesus Trail has been totally self-motivated: they’ve plotted it, waymarked it, GPS’d it and now they’ve just published a map and guidebook to the whole trail. (Disclosure: they very kindly sent me an unrequested free copy, not so’s I could blog about it but just because! I’m blogging because I like it…)

I’ve only had a quick skim through, but it seems excellent to me – full colour, loads of maps, route plans, detailed walking info – but also loads of insight. Anna and David live in Nazareth, at one end of the trail, and clearly know Israeli culture and Palestinian culture very well.

It’s an incredible achievement, to have put this amount of personal time, energy and resources into opening up ways for ordinary visitors to access village culture. And, despite the trail’s name, it’s up to you whether you want to also buy into the religious motivations for walking these particular routes or not. Like Abraham’s Path, like the St Paul Trail, the point is to put your feet on the ground. Anything that encourages grassroots travel and personal encounters in a place like the Middle East, so smothered with negative images, is a good thing. Buy the book!

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