We’re back from 10 wonderful days exploring Israel and the West Bank (where we unfortunately only spent one day due to security concerns in the region). Here is a collection of some of the photos I took.
Let’s start with Tel Aviv, the first city we visited. We were based in the Jaffa neighborhood, a mixed place where you will find Arab, Jewish and Christian people and businesses. I would definitely go back there on my next trip to TLV.
Tel Aviv has a VERY laid back atmosphere. To me it is the ultimate place for a sun&sea holiday! Beautiful beaches, good surfing waves, great shops, great food and really not that many tourists….which is always a bonus, anywhere. I have noticed that there is also a great street art scene in town. We spent just a couple of days there, because our priority was to spend more time in Jerusalem and explore nearby areas.
For the whole duration of our holidays we stayed at private apartments with AirBnB. It was our first time using the service and, as a friend of us said, it’s gonna be hard to go back to hotels :) Here are some photos from the AirBnB we stayed at in Jaffa-Tel Aviv:
After Tel Aviv we went to Jerusalem, a very interesting city with endless things to see. You definitely feel overwhelmed with places to visit and new things to learn. Here some photos:
One thing I didn’t like in Jerusalem is that you can definitely feel the social tension. It is right by the West Bank, and during the period we were there Israel launched a major military operation in both the West Bank and Gaza. Gaza was shooting rockets to Israel. You can read more about it on Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper published in English – which we read every day in order to plan our itinerary in the safest way.
The other thing I didn’t like is the fact that I had to cover my body most of the time in the Old City, for religious reasons, and it was really hot – sometimes 34-36 degrees celsius.
We managed to spend one day in the West Bank, and it was a beautiful and peaceful experience. We went to Bethlehem, where we visited the market, had a coffee at Star&Buck coffee and visited the beautiful Church of the Nativity.
The situation of the Palestinian Territories is worsening right now (see Haaretz link above). It’s really sad. Reading about what is going on in Gaza right now is very depressing. It is good to travel down there (I mean to the West Bank, Gaza is completely off limits) and see that there are still successful businesses, restaurants, art initiatives and people who hope to see a brighter future. Both in Israel and Palestine there are people who believe that peace is possible.
We also went for a day trip to the Dead Sea, in the middle of the desert and facing Jordan – so breathtakingly beautiful, but very touristic. Due to high temperatures during the day we got on the first bus from Jerusalem so that we could be there at 9 am, and we started by hiking at the beautiful Ein Gedi nature reserve, where we dipped under fresh waterfalls and saw lots of strange animals. After that we dipped in the Dead Sea, we floated, we covered ourselves in black mud and did all those touristic things you should do while there (buying overpriced food and drinks included).
What ruined the trip on our way back was the terrible bus service! We were stranded in the sweltering hot desert waiting for a bus for two hours, all this because the bus company has a totally insane system. DO NOT GO TO THE DEAD SEA BY BUS.
Now I understand why, the day before our trip, a British couple we met told us that we were “very adventurous” for taking the public bus to the Dead Sea.
Lastly, two more photos from the beach in Jaffa – hope you enjoyed this mini holiday photo reportage :) I wished we spent more time in the West Bank and generally in the Northern Part of Israel (Haifa in particular), but we can always go back…and we may.