It is no exaggeration to say that Palestine is a walker s paradise... The twenty five walks described here provide an excellent guide to the small but varied area of the West Bank: the desert, the plain, the hills, the wadis. These walks take you to the Roman stadium in historical Sebastia, to the springs of Wadi Bidan near Nablus, to the plains of Jenin, to the desert monasteries in Wadi Kelt and the Jersualem wilderness, to one of the first instances of terrace agriculture in Battir, to the throne village in Ras Karkar where an Ottoman period citadel has recently been renovated, to the town of Taybeh where Palestinian Beer is produced, to the lush spring of Wadi Auja near Jericho and to the beautiful hills around Ramallah. Each walk serves not only as an occasion to encounter a different terrain but to comment on the various facets of Palestinian life and history... Walking Palestine: 25 Walks into the West Bank is indispensible... It is a guide to enjoy and to trust. So read along, put on your boots and start walking. And be prepared for experiences that will surely be memorable.
From the foreword by Raja Shehadeh, author of Palestinian Walks, Winner of the Orwell Prize 2008
No place on earth is better known yet more misunderstood than Palestine and there is no better way to get to know the spirit of the place and its hospitable people than walking. In graceful and evocative prose mixed with practical information and stunning photos, Stefan Szepesi does us the great service of introducing us to the art of walking in the surprisingly safe, beautiful, and welcoming countryside of the West Bank. May this book inspire many from around the world to come walk!
William Ury, co-author of Getting to Yes, co-founder of Abraham's Path/Masar Ibrahim, and Senior Fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Project
In Walking Palestine Stefan Szepesi has helped to make Palestine a more accessible and attractive tourist destination. Stefan s book shows what a beautiful place Palestine is and how rewarding it is, for Palestinians and visitors alike, to explore its natural and cultural heritage on foot. This is a splendid book. --Tony Blair, British Prime Minister (1997-2007)
Economist and naturalist Szepesi takes readers through 25 kilometers of walking trails in Palestine, including Burqin, Jenin, Zebabde, Sebastia, Al-Bidaan, Aboud, Turmus ayya, Wadi Auja, Birzeit, Taybeh, Ras Karkar, Ramallah, Wadi Qelt, Artas, Mar Saba, and Battir and a loop that goes from Battir to Wadi Jama and back to Battir. The hikes vary in intensity (easy, moderate, hard), distance covered (ranging from 3.6 to 16.9 kilometers), and time needed (about one hour to 6.5 hours each), depending on the hiker s abilities and interests. A typical chapter s sidebar describes the hiking surface (gradient, elevation, dirt road or pavement, marked or unmarked), distance/duration, longitude/latitude, and other basic information. The chapter goes on to give detailed information including landmarks, restaurants, accommodations, tourist attractions, and useful contact information and Internet links, as applicable. The work includes full-color maps, color photographs, a two-page list of Arabic phrases, a one-page glossary, and tips for when to hike and what to wear while hiking.
Verdict This beautifully illustrated guide will appeal to adventurers and hikers interested in sniffing in fresh air in a part of the world rarely experienced by most of us. --Library Journal
This guide takes hikers of all levels on 25 day trips through Palestinian landscapes. While the idea may seem strange at first to Western readers, author Stefan Szepesi is an experienced West Bank hiker and a European who has lived long-term in Jerusalem. He focuses this book on the same things you'd expect in any first-class outdoor guide: beautiful color photographs, maps and specific information on 25 routes of outstanding scenic, wildlife, and historical interest, with information on length, difficulty level, nearby points of interest, and getting there. He treats the safety issues of the West Bank with the same clear-headed, sensible approach of any hiking guide that provides simple precautions for bears or rip currents. He reminds readers that while you shouldn't carry weapons or hang around military stations, and you should say hello to people you meet and ask their permission before taking their picture (handy Arabic words are provided), the greatest danger to hikers in the West Bank is going out in the summer without water or a hat. In this well-done practical book, the author reveals waterfalls, mountain gorges, walk-in archeological sites, historic castles, villages, festivals, restaurants, native wildflowers, olive groves, wildlife and birding areas. Palestine is revealed as a place of great beauty and tremendous historical and archeological interest. Of value to hikers, tourists, and any reader who wishes to step behind the politics and news stories and encounter the extraordinary landscapes and ordinary people of an actual place. --Book News Inc
A handsome and highly aesthetic tome... When most of us... consider the West Bank it is more than likely that our thoughts run more along the lines of security and political issues rather than hiking possibilities on offer. That, at the very least, is the refreshing added value provided by Szepesi s book. An account of country trails lends itself to appealing pictorial augmentation, and Walking Palestine is duly replete with lovely pictures... But there is far more to Walking Palestine than just informative descriptions of where to go, and how to get there. Many of the 25 trail chapters include practical tips about where to park, where to find flavorful sustenance, local attractions and accommodation, and references to online data. The accounts of the walks themselves are precisely detailed, with distances of each section given in both kilometers and miles, map coordinates, elevation changes, the types of surfaces the walker will encounter and whether the route is marked... The book becomes an ever more attractive read with the appearance of subchapters about the history naturally sometimes troubled of each spot... Walking Palestine is both informative and entertaining. There are everyday tips on how to dress, how much water to take and sun block to apply, a section of Palestinian public transportation and about being aware of wildlife. At the end of the book there is a handy glossary of local terms, and some basic vocabulary, in English, and transliterated into Arabic and in Arabic lettering. One day, hopefully, the trails in Walking Palestine will be enjoyed by one and all. --Jerusalem Post