Back to Tel Aviv
Trip Start Jan 06, 2006
13Trip End May 28, 2006
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We booked a round trip flight from Athens to Tel Aviv, Israel, that would give us 7 full days in the country. We arrived in Tel Aviv (the city is on the Mediterranean coast, about 50km west of Jerusalem) at 3am on March 22nd. From there we took a taxi to our hostel in Tel Aviv and got a few hours of sleep before we had to check out. Then we hopped on a bus that took us to Jerusalem where we had a hotel booked for that night, which was also a great place to store our bags for the day.
We spent 3 days in the city of Jerusalem, mainly in the "Old City" which is the historical section of Jerusalem
Jerusalem, being the holy city, strictly lived by Jewish law. Most of the restaurants are Kosher. Before being seated, you're asked if you'd prefer "Meat or Milk," each with a different menu (you can't mix the two together). Interestingly enough, the burgers at McDonalds (yep, a McD's in Jerusalem) don't have cheese. Also, almost everything shuts down for the Sabbath, including all bus lines. They had a specific Sabbath elevator at the hotel which would stop at every floor so that you wouldn't have to do the work of pushing a button on the Sabbath.
After Jerusalem we headed off to the Dead Sea. We stayed in the very small resort town of Ein Gedi, spending our first day relaxing and floating in the Dead Sea. The next day we took a bus over to Masada, a fortress on the top of a mountain overlooking the Dead Sea and Judean Desert.
From Masada we took a bus all the way back to Tel Aviv where we spent the last 2 days of our time in Israel exploring the city and chilling out at the beaches. At 3AM on March 29th we were back at the airport. The security in Israel is quite high, with metal detectors and security guards at entrances to all major public areas (malls, bus stations, even restaurants). The airport, on the other hand, reaches a whole new level of security. We went through over an hour of interrogation and bag searching before we were allowed to check in for our flight. We eventually got on and were off to Athens one more time.