Here’s the problem with trying to write a blog on my trip to Israel. It was so amazing, so wonderful that I want to write about everything I did and saw. However, except for my Mom, I suspect no one wants to read a 10-page blog post. So, I’ll try and just jot down a few observations and anyone who is planning a trip can hit me up for details.
I’ll start with a cliche. You must go visit Israel. Not because its your duty, not because its can be spiritually uplifting, not because your Mom wants you to, though those are all good reasons. You need to go because it’s an incredibly magical place to visit. As wonderful as Europe is, when you are in Israel you are really aware of being in a completely different world. Plus there is something for everyone, no matter what your interests. Love exciting cities, wonderful restaurants, luxury hotels? Check. Love ancient history, walking tours, people watching? Check. Love hiking, nature, and outdoor activities? Check.
We spent 2 days with wonderful tour guides; one to visit the North and the other in Jerusalem, which added so much to our trip. We also did a small group excursion to Masada and the Dead Sea. Aside from that we were on our own and it was incredible easy.
A few brief thoughts. I can see why the kids fall in love w Tel Aviv and never want to leave. Around every corner there is a garden or courtyard with trees, fountains, playgrounds and inviting benches so you are both in the city and away from it all at once. Everywhere you go there are children playing, dogs romping and young couples falling in love. Add to that an incredible beach right in the city where people are swimming, eating, and playing morning, noon and night. How does taking a walk along the seaside promenade while the sun sets into the Mediterranean Sea sound? It's hard to imagine a younger, more vibrant, more enchanting city.
Jerusalem is where you really feel like you are in a completely different world. There is nothing like it. The old city is so perfect that at first it feels like a Disney creation and the Hasidim like character actors paid to wander around to add flavor. You can go back every day to just sit, stare and walk and never get tired of it. The new city is filled with pedestrian streets and courtyards all packed with people, mostly young, drinking, talking, yelling and playing music. It is wonderfully new and alive.
History is everywhere. As a Philadelphia I’m proud of our wonderful colonial history, which of course pales in comparison to Europe with its medieval structures. Then you come to Israel where 5000 years of history are everywhere, usually all in the same spot. You stand on ancient Roman ruins, so perfectly preserved it seems unfair to call them ruins. On almost the same spot are the ruins of the Ottomans, the Byzantines, the crusaders, and a few more empires no longer standing.
So I’ll stop typing now though I long to ramble on and on. Final words; just go.