Israel: fast and curious

This post is about my 12 days travel around Israel. I know is is extremely short, but it is better short than no adventure at all. I tried to see as much as I could, so if you are heading to Israel for a short period of time, this route might be just perfect for you. I travelled only by bus, but if you are a confident driver, this might be a better option for you. So, let’s get into it 🙂

As soon as your airplane touches down at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel-Aviv, the feeling of travelling through the time is following around like a shade. Religious shrines and architecture built thousand of years ago, diverse beliefs and truly unique places – it is all here. Every new place is like a new page of the history book. The life here is so saturated and so encumbered.


Safed

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Safed is located in the north of Israel. It is just as weird as you can get! Being one of four Jewish religious cities and the international center of Kabala makes it especially mystique.

Kabala is an esoteric school whose purpose is to comprehend secrets that are hidden in holy books of Judaism. The city was found over 2500 years ago and since then Jews have never left it despite the expulsion and resettlement. It is popular for its picturesque synagogues, streets full of art and artists and amazing views. Walking down cobblestones labyrinths I noticed that many door ways were colored blue. It is considered that blue protects from evil eye just like the amulet hamsa ( the translation is “five” and it symbolises a human hand)

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The weather was pretty harsh so do not expect to be frolicking in the sun. The wind was extremely strong, it blew all bad thoughts out of my head, so I could just contemplate… Sounds like a good thing to do in a place like this!

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Zihron Yakov

Cute cottages, flowering gardens, holiday houses, parks and vineyards – this is what  Zihron Yakov is like nowadays. It is one of the first Jewish  settlements in Eretz Israel that was founded and sponsored in 1882 by baron Rothschild of Paris. The first to settle down here were Jews from Romania  who cultivated grapes and produced vine. Overall it is just a nice chill-out place.


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Haifa

Haifa is located on the Karmel’s hillside, the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. This city is religiously and ethnically mixed. The must-see place in Haifa is the Bahai Gardens sprawled on 19 steps in the hill. Haifa is divided into three parts: the lowest part is CBD and port, the middle part is mostly markets and shops and the highest part is where the most prestigious suburbs and malls are as well as Hiafa’s University and Technion University.


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Caesarea

A small town located on the Mediterranean Sea shore founded by Herod the Great about 2000 years ago is a popular beach holiday destination. Caesarea is the only place in Israel which is managed by a private organisation.  Chic villas, peaceful surf, sandy beaches and the richest people of Israel are all here. So if you are heading to Israel for some relaxing time, this is a place for you.

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Jaffa

Alright, here is my favorite! Jaffa is a beautiful old city-port built mostly out of stone but is absolutely cozy. The ancient roads connecting Jaffa and Jerusalem did not only link two cities in terms of transportation but also spiritually. The port of Jaffa was a gateway to Zion mountain where the term Zionism came from. The must-to-do thing here is to take an evening walk down the narrow streets to the waterfront catching the sea breezes. The walk will surely bring you to the one of many cafes for a take-away coffee which will keep you warm while you are watching the life of modern Tel-Aviv – seemingly distant, bright, huge and hectic.

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The town is immersed in art, just look at the street named after a Zodiac!

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 Jerusalem

It is nearly impossible to put my emotions and memories into words. Such an amazing experience!

I would definitely recommend to stay in the city for Shabbat on Friday evening. It is amazing how the busy city becomes literally abandoned. Preservation and respect of Saturday is the one of fundamental traditions of Judaism and Jewish life circle. Saturday’s definition is a day for body rest and soul work. It is truly necessary for a human being just to stop for a minute, think about what has been done, ask questions and get answers, or to have a chat with the loved ones. With modern “rat races”  people do not even have enough time to eat properly! Jews dedicate the whole evening for it: light up the candles, make dinner, read prayers for bread and wine, talk to each other, go to Synagogue. If you have any friends in Israel, share the bread and wine 😉

The other place I would highly recommend to visit is Yad Vashem – the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre. Makes you appreciate the life we live now.

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What else to see?

  • The great place for a hike is Masada. There are amazing views of Moab Mountains (Jordan), The Dead Sea and Judean Desert. I was lucky enough to meet Herod the Great along the way 🙂

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  • The Dead Sea– the lowest point in relation to the level of the World Ocean on the planet Earth. Just stunning!

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If you have more time, head further south to Eilat for some tropical experience. Unfortunately, I had only 12 days in Israel so I tried to pack in as much as possible. A minute of nostalgia 🙂

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