A scant two weeks of serious touring in Israel and Palestine, we have a free day. How to spend it? Some of us head for the desert.
We arrive early morning just in time to climb a sand dune and watch the sun slowly rise above the thick, low clouds on the eastern horizon. We turn west and start our descent to the Greek Orthodox monastery that looks for all the world like a Mid-East Shangri-La.
The monks monitor our approach through binoculars. Iyad our guide tells us the rowdy, disrespectful, and inappropriately dressed do not gain entrance. We walk slowly, silently, in single file. When we arrive, the door is slightly ajar.
We’re there early enough the monks are still doing morning chores. One is censing every single one of the hundreds of icons. Another is washing and squeegeing the bathroom floor. We tread lightly on their space and leave as quietly as we came.
The next few hours we hike the Wadi Quelt where nothing is more important than our hats and water. The sun has a way of keeping you focused. As we make our descent into Jericho, the canyon segues to pure dessert. We walk past Herod’s castle ruins to an air-conditioned van waiting to take us out to breakfast.
Iyad has a better idea. We stop at the market where he picks up fresh pita, just fried falafel, and supplies for what he calls Palestinian breakfast.
We arrive at Iyad’s home. He heats canned fava bean that he mashes with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and parsley. With it he serves cut up tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions that had likely been picked that morning. In minutes we’re dipping pillowy pita in fava puree and munching on crisp vegetables and falafel.
Yesterday we arrived home from our trip to an empty fridge. What to eat for lunch? I found a can of pinto beans and made Palestinian breakfast.
I love your face in this photo – you look surprised…or amazed! But I think I’d look about the same if I sat down to a breakfast like that.
I know what you mean about the sun keeping you focused. I’ll never forget the few days that Andy and I spent riding through the desert in India on camels. I have never been so thirsty or hot in all my life – but it was like a meditation.
Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday says
Look at that monastery! So Gorgeous! I’d love to visit Israel some time.
Wow! Now this is a breakfast my whole family could love. My husband is a savory breakfast kind of guy and I have been looking for the perfect one….i have a feeling this is it!! This will be breakfast on Saturday!! Thank you so much…yet again! 🙂
I. Gray says
So excited to see this recipe and article! I’m leaving in less than 2 weeks for my own tour of the Holy Land. Have fun!
Maris (In Good Taste) says
What a wonderful trip. Worth coming home to an empty frig which I’m sure didn’t stay empty for long!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE foul! At least that’s what it seems like you had! I lived in Chicago for many years had such great opportunities to eat all of these lovely delights. Thank god for immigrants that expose us to new ideas and flavors! Your trip sounds incredible.
addendum – that’s pronounced “fool”… may have spelled it incorrectly in my comment.
Tami@Nutmeg Notebook says
What an incredible trip and that breakfast is right up my alley.