The Holy Land
TEL AVIV AND JERUSALEM
I travelled to Israel in May and stayed in the Herzliya-Pituah area, near Tel Aviv, for 10 days. It was the perfect time temperature-wise for me, because it wasn't brutally hot during the day. (I still wore sunscreen with 60 SPF). While I was there, I visited Jerusalem, floated in the Dead Sea, and ate a stupid amount of shawarma and hummus. And of course, hit up some shuks (aka markets with fresh food and tons of tchachkes) and my Israeli grandmother haggled with every vendor and argue with the tour guide when we went to Jerusalem. It was amazing to watch and very entertaining.
The food in Israel is definitely the best part. Fresh fish, pitas, falafel, Jerusalem bagels, spices, fruit – and the best breakfasts. (I don't even like breakfast but really I can't complain about the brekkie in Tel Aviv. They had chocolate babka).
Here's some of what I ate while I was in Tel Aviv, Herzliya-Pituah, Jaffa, and Jerusalem.
Jerusalem and around
I took a day trip to see the Western Wall, Mount Olives (and the spectacular views), the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and went to the Machane Yehuda Market.
Directly below: photos of the Jewish Quarter
The Market & Out and About in Jerusalem
KEEP IN MIND:
- It gets cold at night, even in May. I only packed one thin sweater and I wore it every day. Israelis were wearing North Face jackets, seriously. It wasn't THAT cold, but still chilly after the sun set.
- Bring sunscreen. Sounds obvious. But it's better to have it (and maybe some aloe gel if you burn like me) instead of running to buy it when you get there.
- To get around, there are lots of taxis in the big cities. But if you don't speak Hebrew they will likely try to get you to pay a lot more so ask your hotel or a local how much a taxi should cost before you get in. (I learned this the hard way with my boyfriend when we paid 120 shekels for a ride worth 75.)
- You can exchange money at your destination if you don't want to do it at the airport. I exchanged American dollars to shekels at the Arena Mall near my hotel in Herzliya.
- Haggle at the shuk. "The price is never the price"
- Try learning some Hebrew before you go. Shalom!