D300. June 28. This is it. But I’m ready for the next challenge…

Trois centième jour de voyage. Retour en France. Mais je ne rentre pas directement à Paris, je fais d’abord escale à Avignon. Pourquoi ? Pour relever un nouveau défi. J’ai décidé de participer au Rallye des Gazelles, une course automobile réservée aux femmes et qui se déroule dans le désert marocain au mois de mars….

Three hundred days of traveling. Back to France. But I do not go to Paris immediately. First, I stop in Avignon, South of France. Why ? To tackle a new challenge. I have decided I would join the next edition of the “Rallye des Gazelles”, a car race taking place in the Morroco desert next March…


Petite, je ne ratais pas une seule retransmission du Paris-Dakar et je faisais acheter VSD à mes parents – VSD qui alors n’était pas un journal people, je le précise, mais un journal de loisirs (Vendredi Samedi Dimanche) pour en apprendre plus.

When I was a kid, I wouldn’t have missed any Paris-Dakar TV reportage, and my parents where buying me a weekly magazine dedicated to the race, so that I cold learn more about it.


Bref. Revenons à nos moutons. J’ai vite compris que le Paris-Dakar n’était qu’efforts, fatigue, accidents. Le Rallye des Gazelles sera plus à ma mesure. Sur ce rallye, l’important n’est pas de faire au plus vite, mais de faire au plus court : il s’agit d’une course d’orientation.

Anyway. Coming back to my story. I’ve quickly understood that a Paris-Dakar was all about efforts, tiredness, accidents. The Rallye des Gazelles is more adapted. On this one, what matter isn’t speed, but orientation.

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Première étape : trouver une coéquipière. Et ça c’est fait. Nous sommes aujourd’hui à Avignon pour en savoir plus. Et bientôt nous aurons un nouveau défi : trouver des sponsors…

First step : Finding a copilot. Done. And we are today together in Avignon to join an information meeting about the next edition. Soon, we will have a new problem to overcome: We need to find sponsors…

Véro Rallye des gazelles fevrier


Alors voilà, j’en suis à mon trois centième jour, et mon tour d’Eurasie s’achève à Avignon sur un nouveau projet, un nouveau défi…
Mais ne tournez pas trop vite la page de My Scenic Railway, je reviens la semaine prochaine avec les chiffres clés de mon voyage, plusieurs auto-interviews, et une série de portfolios… A Suivre, comme toujours.

Voilà… This is my three hundred day, and my Eurasia tour is ending in Avignon on a new project, a new challenge.
Though, don’t turn too quickly the Scenic Railway page, as I’ll be back next week with new data about my trip, a couple of self-interviews, and a series of portfolios on different themes… To Be Continued, as always.

Breakfast at Israel’s


Of course I’ve been eating falafels, what else ?


Meanwhile, Lillian was ordering fish, always extremely tasty here…

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Together with (quite some) bottles of red wine…

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“Galil”, “Gloan”, say the labels. Isn’t it an invitation to travel ?

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Without Lillian around, though, I was mainly having breakfasts.
Above, together with my Turkish Coffee, I am enjoying a Sahlav (pronounce sarrlav).
It is made from hot salep cream, served with coconut, nuts and cinnamon – You might remember salep from a trip to Istanbul, where they are sold in the streets in the winter time.
Sahlav – meaning “orchid” in Hebrew and Arabic – is a thick Middle Eastern milk-based pudding that is drunk as the weather begins to get cold. Sahlav originally appeared in the Middle East during the Roman era. The original recipe calls for ground up orchid bulbs, which are used to thicken up the pudding. However, a more common approach to creating this drink is to use corn flour.
Part pudding, part drink- sahlav is sweet, comforting and believed to be an aphrodisiac… Let’s see…

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And this is another breakfast dish : Malawach.
Malawash looks like a thick pancake and it consists of thin layers of puff pastry brushed with oil and cooked flat in a frying pan. It is traditionnally served with a crushed or grated tomato dip, hard boiled eggs and skhug (a condiment made of hot peppers, coriand, garlic).
This fried bread that is a staple of the Yemenite Jews, and through their immigration of to Israel, it has become a favorite comfort food for Israelis of all backgrounds and national origins.
A bread similar to malawach is also known as paratha in Indian cuisine.


Another dish offered for breakfast :  Shakshouka. A dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers and onions, often spiced with cumin. It is believed to have a Tunisian origin.

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But should you prefer junk food, don’t worry, there are Mc Donalds in Israel as well !

D288. June 16. Dead Sea

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Dead Sea shore. Lillian has finally decided to drink some water… Good, because the surroundings are quite hostile !

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And it looks like some didn’t make it ! Let’s give it a try, how do we float in there ???

Salt is very corrosive, of course, so we didn’t stay in there for long. But we had fun !!!

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The Dead Sea is the deepest hypersaline in the world. With 34.2% salinity, it is also one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water, though Lake Vanda in Antartica  (35%), Lake Assal in Djibouti (34.8%), Lagoon Garabogazkol in Casien Sea (35%) and some hypersaline ponds and lakes of the Dry Valleys in Antartica (44%) have reported higher salinities.

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It is 9.6 times as salty as the ocean. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which animals cannot flourish, hence its name.

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It was one of the world’s first health resorts (for Herod)… Let’s see how the local mud feels like…

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Five minutes to spread, one hour to get rid of it, it is high time to leave… But we will certainly not regret the mountains reflection on the sea, the salty waters evaporation giving to the local light a peculiar vibrancy…

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D288. June 16. Massada, the fallen fortress

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Masada is an ancient fortification situated on top of an isolated rock plateau on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert (map here). Herod built palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE.


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According to Flavius Josephus, roman historian, the Siege of Masada by troops of the Roman Empire towards the end of the First Jewish-Roman War ended in the mass suicide of the 960 rebels and their families hiding there.

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But to me, the most impressive are not the ruins, but the breathtaking view on the Dead Sea… Isn’t it, Lillian ?

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Biblically, it was a place of refuge for King David.

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On the other side, Jordan.

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After the Aral Sea, another salty landscape… In recent decades, the Dead Sea has been rapidly shrinking because of diversion of incoming water from the Jordan River to the north.

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At a regional conference in July 2009, officials expressed increased concerns about the declining water levels. Some suggested various industrial activities around the Dead Sea might need to be reduced. Others advised a range of possible environmental measures to restore conditions. This might include increasing the volume of flow from the Jordan River to replenish the Dead Sea. Currently, only sewage and effluent from fish ponds run in the river’s channel.

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Experts also asserted a need for strict conservation efforts. They also said agriculture should not be expanded, sustainable support capabilities should be incorporated into the area and pollution sources should be reduced.

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The Dead Sea seawater has a density of 1.240 kg/L, which makes swimming similar to floating… Let’s see how it looks like…

I need you : Vote For my Travel Pictures !!!

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Dear friends, readers, followers,
I have submitted 12 pictures to the National Geographic Photo Contest of the year.
If you’ve liked my pictures, can you please vote for them, like them on Facebook, share their links on your wall, or retweet my tweets (my Tweeter account being @MyScenicRailway) ?

Here are the 12 links to the 12 pictures on the NG website :