Wow what a busy summer it’s been! I’m finally getting around to sharing about my post grad travels to Israel and Greece. Both countries are extremely beautiful, easy going and filled with interesting and friendly people! This post will be a two-parter to allow for a full over view of both Israel and Greece
First came Israel
While many people don’t know this about me, I am half Jewish! Being raised in the south, it was easier to follow my friends to church and my parents never pressured me religiously on either end. However, I was raised celebrating both religion’s holidays and learning only bits and pieces about my heritage from either side.
Later in life I became friends with many other girls with similar backgrounds who had all gone on this trip to Israel, called Birthright. Birthright allows young adults with at least one Jewish parent to travel to Israel and explore their Jewish heritage.
Now, I know not everyone has one Jewish parent, but there are tons of trips like these out there. Organizations and schools will help pay for at least a fraction of your trip if you visit to learn more about your beliefs, heritage, environment or simply their country. For myself this allowed my trip to Israel to be almost completely paid for, besides for some meals and “fun money.”
When preparing for this trip I had no idea what to expect. I packed a bit of everything but managed to squeeze it in to one carry on. As an American, my perception of the Middle East was very bias. However I decided to trust m friends who had all said that it was an amazing experience. Once in Israel I realized any expectations I had were surpassed. Israel is a small country, about the size of New Jersey, but honestly 10 days was not enough to cover all of the amazing aspects.
Where to start
Israel is known for it’s religious history, which one can find all over the country, but it is also the hub for art, music, and education. Tel Aviv is the second biggest city in the country and has a beautiful down town full of unique restaurants, bars and clubs. One of my favorite nights in the city was exploring the Shook. It’s a garage style market place, where my birthright group bar hoped, met locals, and danced the night away.
Another aspect of Israel that people may not think of are their amazing beaches. On one of our free days our entire group was able to go to the beach in Natania. We were surrounded by locals enjoying the waves and having great conversations with the Israeli soldiers who were on our trip. If you didn’t know this, Israel is a country that requires every citizen to serve a minimum of three years in the army, whether male or female. I found this fascinating and greatly enjoyed speaking with the women soldiers in our group. While unlike me, they were raised knowing all their lives that they would be joining the army once 18, but we had a lot more in common than I thought.
While in Israel it is extremely important to not miss these next three places. The Dead Sea is a fascinating anomaly that you have most likely studied in science class growing up. It is the lowest point of the world which allows it to be filled with salt and causes anything or anyone to float. When I walked in, it was more shallow than I expected and was almost bath water temperature. Once I sat down in the water, to my amazement, I immediately popped up and floated. You don’t want to spend to much time in the water due to the salt having dehydration affects, but it is definitely something to experience at least once in your life.
The next place is probably what Israel is most known for, the Western Wall. The Western Wall is located in the heart of Jerusalem where people from all over the world come to leave small prayers stuffed between the layers of ancient stone. It is a beautiful site to behold whether one is religious or not.
Lastly while in Israel I strongly suggest one visits the Holocaust museum. Israel was built as a refuge for Jews after the Holocaust to come and feel at home again. The Holocaust remembrance center is beyond incredible. It’ll take your breath away by all the different stories and artifacts. My favorite part was that the tour guides are typically grandchildren or friends of those who lived through the Holocaust.
Overall Israel became one of my favorite places I’ve ever traveled. I can’t wait to go back one day and I hope to encourage other people to visit this incredible country.
Thanks for reading this post, if you want to know any thing else about my time in Israel please leave a comment below!