“Are you from Germany?” “New York.” “Ah, welcome Palestine! Beautiful!” This was my conversation in the old city, at the bus terminal, in the hammam, getting a falafel sandwich. No hard sells, more interested greetings. Other than four French and two Asian-American visitors also on my bus, I think I only saw one other tourist in my time.

The hammam was my favorite part of the visit. I was there with a group of rowdy boys and a few older men. I wish we could have spoken more. It was a beautiful space, not quite as wholly traditional as some in Turkey but still a great experience.

Cooling down after the hammam

I also came across a new hammam that had been built in 2020. I did not go in but would like to try it sometime.

The old city is big, twisty and really gives you the feel of a medina.

A quieter shopping alley
Clock tower outside the central mosque

I also checked out (one of?) the soap factories; neither the tour nor the look for the place was as interesting as I had remembered.

Other fun aspects: getting to speak French with my bus companion (I can make myself understood but can’t hear the breaks between words when he speaks). Navigating the buses up and back. And of course just seeing everyday life.

Three bus drivers smoking and drinking coffee at the station