With the images of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict so dominant in our minds, walking for leisure is the one activity probably least associated with the West Bank region. But Stefan Szepesi’s book wanders well off the beaten track of Palestine as only a synonym for occupation and strife, exploring its inspiring natural and cultural landscape, its intriguing past and present, and the hospitality of its people. The book takes first-time walkers and experienced hikers, as well as armchair explorers, through Palestine’s steep desert gorges, along its tiny herders’ trails and over its quiet dirt roads running past silver green olive groves. With side stories and anecdotes on heritage, history, culture and daily life in the West Bank, the book ventures into the traits and character of Palestine today. Beyond the 250 km of walking trails described and mapped in detail throughout the book, Walking Palestine offers a wealth of practical walking tips, including references to local guides, the West Bank’s best leisure spots and countryside restaurants, and the most charming places to spend the night.
“Walking for pleasure is a concept unfamiliar to most Palestinians. But over the past five years, hikers – mainly foreign diplomats, aid workers and journalists, but also locals – have become a more common sight in the West Bank. Their hikes range from the rolling lush hills and valleys of the north to the dramatic arid desert landscape of the south. . . Walking Palestine [is] a guide to 25 walks, the fruits of a four-year project by a Dutch diplomat, Stefan Szepesi. It details tracks, paths and dirt roads; supplies maps and information on historical sites, wildlife and natural attractions; and provides practical details on local guides, parking, public transport, restaurants and places to stay.”—The Guardian
“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.”—The Right Honourable Tony Blair, British Prime Minister (1997—2007)
“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. 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
“Walking Palestine is a walker’s paradise… 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.”—From the foreword by Raja Shehadeh, author of Palestinian Walks, Winner of the Orwell Prize 2008