The one thing currently on my mind is our upcoming trip to Israel. I’m asking everyone I know for tips and ideas of things to do – you wouldn’t think I’d been to this country, many, many times. My parents are taking the very relaxed route about their schedule, but I’m in full planning mode. Good money has been paid to travel overseas, and I literally don’t want to waste a second!
The thing is, I’ve done most of the tourist things. In grade 10 I went on a 4 months programme, I spent my gap year in Israel on an organised programme and went on another 2-week tour in 2010. I’ve been to almost every place listed on tripadvisor and other such sites, places I don’t even know the names of – so I’ve taken to asking my local friends for ideas, as well as naturally trawling the internet.
The thing with planning an overseas trip – it’s so costly. When I look at all the tourist attractions and activities (museums, camel rides, bedouin tents, jeep rides etc) I can’t believe the cost of it – and I’ve done all these things! I guess it shows that the high cost of the programmes I’ve been on were well spent!
Naturally I have to go to the shuk/markets in both major cities – Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. They each have very different energies. On top of that, there is a arts/crafts market running alongside Shuk HaCarmel in Tel Aviv called Nachalat Binyamin – I stumbled on it by mistake once on my gap year, as it’s only open on Tuesdays & Fridays. I never landed up in the area again on those days, so I can’t wait to go back – especially actually with my own money! There’s a similar market now in Jerusalem once a week with work of the art students in the area, we checked it out the last time but I stupidly didn’t buy anything.
Top: Shuk HaCarmel (Tel Aviv). Bottom: Machane Yehuda (Jerusalem)
I can’t express my excitement for Nachalat Binyamin. Sticking to a budget is going to be difficult…
We’ll walk the streets of Jerusalem, looking into the shops in the different nooks and crannies. We’ll walk to, from, and all over the beautiful old city and chill out by the Western Wall. I’m going to buy tons of beautiful head scarves (and finally feel at home wearing one!), spices, sweets, pastries, perfume for ridiculous prices, jewellery and eat tons, and tons of kosher food. I have no idea what my waistline will have to say by the end of it!
The country really just has everything – beaches, the religious, the old, the modern and metropolitan, the artsy, the historical, among so much more. I guess those who haven’t been or don’t have much relation to the country thinks of it as war-ridden, and while there are those elements in certain areas, there’s really so much more.
I’m still fine-tuning our schedule, as we also have tons of friends to see. Having met so many Israelis who come work in the Jewish Community in Cape Town, we’ve really made a large amount of friends that need to be seen! Lucky us I guess I foresee plenty fun, laughs, shopping, friends and food in our near future!