Back to Tel Aviv

Trip Start Jan 06, 2006
1
4
13
Trip End May 28, 2006


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Monday, March 27, 2006

Yeah, so I went to Israel. It wasn't originally part of the "travelling after school is done" plan, but 3 of us from school decided that it could be quite the fun trip. Plus I have no idea if/when I'll have the chance to go there again, so I went for it.

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. It was real cool to see the city where so much of the Bible takes place, including much of Jesus' life. Much of the old city is marketplaces winding through narrow streets, and the friendly shop owners reminded me of the marketplaces in Istanbul. There are also a lot of people offerning walking tours of the Old City, each of them claiming that they've lived in the Old City for 30+ years and know the city far better than all the other guides.

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.
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Comments

jordanh
jordanh on

Without cheese?
So how does a McDonalds burger taste minus the cheese? Its kind of weird to walk into a McDonalds and be asked to declare all your weapons eh? Your pictures look great and somewhat familiar! Look foward to your next entry!
Jordan

jklassen
jklassen on

Not too shabby
The burgers aren't bad without the cheese. I mean, it's still McDonalds, but I had to try it in another country.

Thanks again for your Israel tips, Jordan! It was very helpful to get some advice on of what to see in this fine country. Talk to you soon!

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