Israel... I'm Still Thinking of You One Year Later!
Top 3 Post Insights
Tel Aviv: Safe and bloody beautiful!
Food Orgasms everywhere
ps. Holiday Flings have an expiry date
"You're what? Why are you going to Israel? Is it for the guy? It's not safe, maybe you should just come home." -Mum.
There are some places that leave an imprint on you. For me, Israel is definitely one of them. I remember booking my flight from Vietnam to Tel Aviv thinking... wtf am I actually going to fly half way around the world to see someone? But I thought fu*k it, the flight was reasonably cheap, I missed being in a cosmopolitan city and I wanted to explore a new country before I went home. Plus my mates told me I'd lose my shit eating all the amazing food. So there I was, December 2016, in Israel. I spent most of my time in Tel Aviv and took a day trip to Jerusalem. Here are some highlights:
Tel Aviv Beaches
Ridiculously amazing sunsets
Tel Aviv has 13 beautiful beaches. I went in Winter and there were a few good days of sun, however every day you're treated with GORGEOUS sunsets. Maybe it's because I was a tourist, but my favourites were Gordon and Bograshov Beach. You can also walk along the broadwalk, eat at beach front restaurants or rent an umbrella and enjoy a spritz. Oh and any beach you go to, there's ridiculously good looking people playing volleyball, running, tanning or playing matkot (which is like Israeli beach tennis).
The food (EVERYWHERE)
Doomed from day one
This deserves an essay. I wrote about my favourite spots in this blog post: 'Non-Stop Foodgasms. Eating My Way Through Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.' Essentially, I was doomed from Day 1 when my friends took me to Carmel Market. There was so many pastries, baklava in 50 different variants, fresh falafels, gourmet halva and of course Humus HaCarmel... the famous hummus shop. Here are some of my favourite memories, more detail in this post.
Tel Aviv museum of Art
Reconnect with the beauty of life
Maybe you're wondering about the holiday fling I mentioned earlier. I quickly learned that holiday flings have an an expiry date... it's the day you first say goodbye. Lol. One morning I woke up and didn't want to think about it anymore, so I spent the whole day at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
It was incredible. I was lost for hours. I was reminded to appreciate the beauty in people, music, history and art. It also gave me perspective as to why I took the sabbatical in the first place. To explore, discover and fall in love with life!
I met an 85 year old Ukrainian man named Semen (pronounced She-men). He was visiting Tel Aviv to meet his first grandchild. We walked around the museum together, communicating through Google translate on my iPhone. He spoke little English and I don't speak Russian. The juxtaposition alone was enamouring . He took this photo of me which I will forever cherish! (Btw check out my short story about him here).
When Semen left, I stumbled across these headphones and music videos by Kutiman. The composer takes amateur home made videos (anyone learning to play an instrument to band members jamming, through to someone singing a self composed song) and cuts the videos up to create an original song. The result is PHENOMENAL. I was so mesmerised by the beauty of his work I didn't realise I had been standing there for 50 minutes! Check it out:
The holy land
Even if you're not religious, you'll feel something in Jerusalem. It's sanctified.
My friends took me to The Old City, which is surrounded by a huge wall. Inside it's divided into four quarters: Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Armenian quarters. There's beautiful churches, mosques, markets and synagogues to see. However it was the Western Wall that blew me away. Girls and guys have their separate lines, you write a prayer note and squeeze it into the cracks of the wall. You then walk backwards as you're not supposed to turn your back on your wish. Twice a year, the notes are removed and buried at the Mount of Olives.
I was so lucky to have a local tour guide aka. my Israeli bro I met in Siargao. He and his friend took me around Tel Aviv and Jerusalem like locals. That's one of the beauties of travel, seeing countries through the eyes of its own citizens. Israel is so rich in culture, history, beauty, nightlife (which I didn't even begin to untap) and foodgasms. I really can't wait to go back! So whilst I didn't exactly have the trip I thought I'd have, I ended up having the most beautiful time exploring this foreign country. Somehow I think the universe was reminding me of the big picture. To never forget how much the world has to offer... and to never stop exploring the beauty of life. xx