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Israel: My Best Adventure So Far!

I have just returned from my very first visit to Israel, and honestly I have so much to say I don’t even know where to start! I spent 6 days touring the country as a guest of the Israel Ministry of Tourism, exploring Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, the Negev Desert and Tel Aviv. Up until last week I had never been to the Middle East, so it was exciting for me to visit a new region of the world. I loved every minute of it, so much so that I found myself wondering how much an apartment would cost to rent in Tel Aviv.

Israel was my best adventure yet! I had a fantastic time there and it was unlike anywhere I have been before. Here’s some of the reasons why I loved it:

The Food

I couldn’t get enough of the food. Breakfast in Israel doesn’t really involve much cooked food, but it does involve lots of healthy salads, cheeses, seeds, grilled vegetables and fruit, so I piled my plate high! I became addicted to the tahini, the hummus, the grilled eggplant and the falafel shawarmas! I loved walking through the markets which were full of vegetables, tomatoes, spices and nuts. I also tried lots of Halva, a sweet food made out of sesame and honey.

Breakfast in Israel

Healthy breakfast

Falafel Shawarma in Jerusalem, Israel

Loved the Falafel Shawarmas!

Halva in Jerusalem, Israel

Halva in Jerusalem

The Adventure

A big highlight of my trip was abseiling into the Makhtesh Ramon crater. This crater is 400 metres deep and has been formed by erosion over millions of years! I have never abseiled before in my life so I was a little bit nervous, but once I had done it I felt such a sense of achievement! Floating in the Dead Sea was an interesting experience- I wasn’t expecting it to feel so oily!

Abseiling in Makhtesh Ramon Crater, Israel

Abseiling at Makhtesh Ramon Crater in the Negev Desert

Floating in the Dead Sea, Israel

Floating in the Dead Sea!

The Nightlife

Tel Aviv is famous for its nightlife, but it was Jerusalem that really surprised and intrigued me. I loved Jerusalem’s quirky pubs and bars with their microbrew beers. In Jerusalem the bars are the kind of establishments where you can grab a stool, sit at the bar and chat to the bartender while he refills your glass all night. Definitely my kind of place! Tel Aviv was more of a ‘scene’ with hip bars and late night clubs; it’s quite typical to start your night at 1am and finish at 6! The city was voted the world’s best gay city in 2011, and it’s definitely a great place to visit if you are looking for somewhere that is gay-friendly.

Barood Jerusalem Nightlife

Barood in Jerusalem has many kinds of Schnapps and Absinthe!

The Scenery

Driving through the desert we saw some spectacular landscapes and the view from Masada out to the Dead Sea was incredible. I think the picture speaks for itself!

View from Masada, Israel

The view from Masada out to the Dead Sea

The Religious Sites

Jerusalem is an important holy place for 3 faiths- Judaism, Islam and Christianity. There is an energy about the city and it is incredible to see so many important religious sites in one place. I saw a view of the Dome of the Rock from the Mount of Olives, walked down Palm Sunday Road, visited the garden of Gethsemane, stopped to see Jewish women pray at the Western Wall, walked through the Arab Souk, saw the 12th station of the Cross and visited the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are located. All in one day!

View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

Jerusalem as seen from the Mount of Olives

Women at the Wailing Wall- Jerusalem

Women at the Wailing Wall

12th station of the cross

12th station of the cross

The Culture

I knew a fair bit about Judaism because I have Jewish friends and I learnt a lot from religious studies in school, but It was really quite fascinating to experience some of the Jewish traditions- from a Bar Mitzvah celebration in the street to “Shabbat”, the Jewish day of rest.

I also got to learn about the Bedouin way of life when we visited the Sfinat Hamidbar Bedouin Camp in the Negev Desert. We drank coffee with our host and asked him lots of questions about the Bedouin culture. Serving coffee to visitors is an age old tradition; if you are welcome they will serve three half cups, but if you are unwelcome they will serve full cups, which is a sign you must leave.

Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem, Israel

Bar Mitzvah Celebrations near the Western Wall in Jerusalem

Sfinat Hamidbar Bedouin Camp in Israel

Drinking coffee at a Bedouin Camp

The Orange Juice!

I love fresh orange juice, and the orange juice in Israel was the best I’ve ever had!

Orange Juice stand in Israel

Orange juice stands are everywhere!

 Thank you to the Israel Ministry of Tourism for hosting me in Israel. As always, opinions are my own.

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7 Responses to Israel: My Best Adventure So Far!

  1. Lauren March 28, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Wow, looks like a great trip!

  2. Arthur March 29, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    An excellent review – it certainly made me want to visit Israel ! I’ve recently discovered that I have a little bit of (Ashkenazi) Jewish heritage in my family line. My brother has visted twice (and loved it !).

    • Victoria April 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

      I think you would love it too! Really interesting to learn about the Jewish culture.

  3. Andy April 5, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    Greetings from Washington DC!

    Been reading some of your travel stories, and am so jealous! May I ask how your trip to Israel was sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism? Just curious!

    Keep writing, I’ll keep reading =)

    -Andy

    • Victoria April 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

      Hi Andy,

      Thanks for your kind comments :)

      Every year tourism boards invite press journalists and bloggers to experience their country and write about it. Since this blog attracts thousands of readers every month, the Ministry of tourism invited me on a five-day tour of israel to visit jerusalem, the dead sea, the negev desert and tel aviv so I can share it with my readers.

  4. Neneng mendoza April 24, 2013 at 3:50 am #

    Hello,
    Im a traveller@ 50 in my own little way full time employee.How can I avail of the sponsored trip by the Israel Ministry of Tourism. I want to visit Israel soon. Thanks.
    Neneng
    Philippines

  5. Emily April 24, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    Isn’t Israel amazing!! It’s seriously one of my favorite places ever. Hearing about your breakfast experiences there makes me miss Israeli salad in the morning!

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