About yalla2013

Ya'lla Tours USA is a boutique tour operator offering top quality travel services in 10 exciting countries: Bahrain, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Ya'lla Tours communications director, Kyna Perry, writes this blog based on personal experience and the deep well of experience and knowledge of Ya'lla colleagues near and far.

Wadi Rum

 

In southeast Jordan, Wadi Rum is three hundred square miles of protected desert, where you’ll find red sand dunes, mountains, and narrow canyons snaking between sheer towers of granite and sandstone. A small population of Bedouins live much as their ancestors have done for millennia. Tens of thousands of petroglyphs and inscriptions in the wadi are evidence of human habitation going back 12,000 years.

petroglyphs

petroglyphs

Spend a few hours exploring Wadi Rum by 4X4 with a local guide or stay over night, or for several days, sleeping in a Bedouin camp. There are countless opportunities for hiking and rock climbing in this vast, wild place.

Ronen at a Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum.

Ronen at a Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum.

NAME THAT COUNTRY

The Pinar del Rio province in the far west of our mystery country is the country’s prime tobacco growing region. Tobacco has been a major segment of the country’s economy since it was first discovered by Spanish colonists in the 16th century. Prior to colonization, natives knew the plant well and used it for medicinal and ritual purposes. Today, most tobacco is produced on small private farms and exported in the form of premium cigars.

 

Can you name that country? 
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the Step Pyramid of Djoser

Located at Saqqara (Sakkara), about 20 miles southwest of Cairo, Egypt, the so-called Step Pyramid of Pyramid of Djoser, was built as the tomb of the pharaoh Djoser over 4,500 years ago. The building was designed by the revered architect, engineer and statesman Imhotep. He began with a simple mastaba, a common funeral monument shaped like a rectangular platform. Then he added five successively smaller mastabas one atop the other. The result was whole new type of building and a prototype of the far more famous monuments about 15 miles away – the Giza Pyramids. Saqqara was a necropolis for the ancient capital of Memphis for about 500 years in the 3rd millennium BCE. Even after the center of power shifted to the south, it remained an important burial site for thousands of years.

Most of our published tours to Egypt include a visit to Saqqara.

NAME THAT COUNTRY

Shobak is the Arabic name for the 12th century crusader fortress of Montreal. It sprawls across a lonely hilltop in the southwest of the country, the area known as Edom in the Bible. The castle was built in 1115 by King Baldwin I, the first king of the crusader kingdom of Jerusalem. Like Kerak, its sister fortress to the north, Shobak was built to guard the King’s Highway, an ancient trade route used by crusader armies and pilgrims traveling between Damascus and Egypt. The castle fell to the army of Saladin in 1189 after a 2-year siege.

 

Can you name that country? 
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A Travel Agent’s Trip to Israel with Ya’lla Tours, Part 1

Following is the first installment of a travel diary by Kelly Hyatt, who traveled to Israel in February of 2018 with a group of American travel agents. Thank you Kelly!

ISRAEL 2018 – WITH YA’LLA TOURS, BY KELLY HYATT

 

This year is the 70th anniversary of the modern “state of Israel” a place that has existed my entire life, I was born in 1960, and forever in time biblically.

ISRAEL – THE #1 “bucket list” destination for me. As a travel agent I had been fortunate to have already visited other “bucket list” destinations such as Egypt, Greece, Corinth, Patmos and Ephesus. These have all tied in with my quest to walk where the ancient walked, especially where the biblical people walked.

Israel is a place that is like no other on earth, NONE.

This past February I was fortunate, thanks be to God (and Ya’lla Tours), to be able to fulfill a lifelong dream, a dream many other people also share. I finally was able to put my feet on the same ground that JESUS walked upon, and not just HIM but also the many thousands of other people throughout the centuries. What an extraordinary feeling.

I arrived in Tel Aviv on 6 February. It was the beginning of the most incredible journey of my life, one that I have not had enough of, a journey I must do again and again.
For, you see, this was an amazing travel agent educational Christian fam tour with Ya’lla Tours. Ya’lla packed so many things into a short 10-day time period. Even though we saw the most incredibly inspiring and amazing places, we did not see even a fraction of the places and things that are in the land of Israel. And as time constraints were a factor, we most certainly did not get to spend the time that I, as well as my traveling companions, and surely you, when you go, will inevitably long for once your feet are there. You find it difficult to leave the place where you are standing at that moment, as your desire to just stay still and take it all in will overwhelm you and you will know at that moment you will have to go back.

Upon arrival, I took a taxi to my hotel, Herods Tel Aviv, the windows of the lobby facing directly to the beach. I got settled into my room and simply could not believe that I was there, HERE , in the Holy land; I had no idea what I had expected. It was a beautiful night in a beautiful city. I ordered room service, tried to figure out my WIFI and went to bed.

The next morning, I awoke to a beautiful sunrise. From my balcony I could see that the beach seemed to stretch down for miles. At 6 am there were many people riding cycles, people on paddle boards and people swimming in wet suites. This is the Mediterranean Sea! Did you hear that? The Mediterranean Sea!!! All I could think about was how in the heck did all those people from the Bible and ancient times have the guts to go out in that sea and go to places like Greece and Egypt and beyond and here, now, I was watching OLD men in wet suites (I had binoculars) swimming in the sea in February! I was amazed at the resilience of the people who lived here, and at that moment I had no idea the significance of the beaches I was admiring.

Tel Aviv beachside promenade

Tel Aviv beachside promenade

After breakfast at the hotel, I took off walking down the really tremendous beach boardwalk, complete with many places to dine beach-side, and little places to sit and rest. There were workout gyms around, and many beach chairs (not set up as I was out very early) and even life guard stands. It was obvious that there was ongoing construction on both the beach side and the hotels and buildings on the other side of the road.

As I walked down I admired the art on the beach and started to notice that the beaches were where many thousands of Jewish people returned to their homeland after the holocaust in ships that became stranded or blocked at those beaches. It was quite moving and very beautifully molded into the, I think, 8 miles long beach that ends in the old city of Jaffa, or Yafo.

I walked along for a long while and then went back to my room and slept, dreaming of all the places that I had heard about in the Bible and would start seeing tomorrow. Jaffa, Caesarea, Mt Carmel, Acre, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, the ruins of the Canaanite city of DAN, Mt of Beatitudes and Nazareth just to name a few! The river Jordan, the ancient place called Megiddo, AKA Armageddon!!! And of course, Bethlehem! Jerusalem! Hello did you hear me JERUSALEM!! The Dead Sea and Masada!!!! MASADA, are you kidding me!!!! I did not even know there was a movie!!! And so so much more…

Check in next week for Part 2 of Kelly’s Israel adventure.

NAME THAT COUNTRY

In the remote M’Goun Valley, high in the Atlas Mountains, early May is rose festival time. Three-four thousand tons of super-fragrant Damask and Cabbage roses are hand-picked in the valley each spring. Most of the harvest is processed into rose oil bound for the perfumeries of Europe. The rose festival in the town of El Kelaa M’Gouna celebrates the harvest with three days of music, dancing, and food, a parade, the coronation of a Rose Queen and, of course, every rose product imaginable.

Can you name that country?
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