I haven’t planned my next trip as yet. The canvas is blank and I am yet to decide. Winter is around the corner, and I would want to visit a place that isn’t gloomy…where winters are fun. I want to feel the nip in the air, yet see the sun shine. I had these thoughts in mind and could not zero down on a place…until I saw a video from Israel Tourism last night, which has put Israel high up on my list. Later that night, Ankur and I went out for dinner to a Mediterranean restaurant, which reminded me of our last trip to the Middle East, when we feasted on delicious mezze and fresh salads. Possibly, these are signs that I should consider visiting Israel soon!
If you haven’t considered visiting Israel as yet, it is time you do so. The country is home to the Holy Land, is blessed with Nature’s creations and has warm and welcoming people. Here are five reasons that are drawing me to Israel:
- The Holy Land: Jerusalem is considered as the Holy Land by Jews, Christians and Muslims. There are few places in the world that bring together people from different faiths.
The city is important to the Jews, as legend has it was here that Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac but was commanded by God not to do so. The Christians believe that this was where Christ preached, ate the Last Supper with his disciples before his death and was crucified and then resurrected. Jerusalem is key to the Muslims as it is believed that Muhammad’s nocturnal spiritual journey, known as al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj (“the night journey and ascension”) culminated at Jerusalem, also known as Temple Mount. Old Jerusalem actually lies in the desert and mankind has destroyed and rebuilt it thrice in search for religious powers. I have been told that when you visit the site, you can almost feel how ‘powerful’ this place is. A city so important to more than half the world is definitely on my bucketlist.
- Dead Sea: You can float on water. You can lie on the surface of the Dead Sea and read a newspaper.
I have experienced this a couple of years ago when I first ‘bobbed’ on the surface of the Dead Sea …and I want to experience it once again. I want to slather myself in the black mud and wash it off with the salty water to reveal baby soft skin. The Dead Sea is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and is a must have destination on your bucketlist. Water of the Dead Sea is over 8 times saltier than ‘regular’ sea water, which makes it dense enough to let you float effortlessly. It is also the lowest point on the surface of the earth, with a sufficiently thick ozone layer that allows you to get a good tan, yet filters out the UV rays well.
- City life in Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv is situated by the Mediterranean Sea and has a coastline of over 10 kilometers. Who does not like to have fun in the sun?
I have also heard loads about the party scene in Tel Aviv. The city has a rocking nightlife, with clubs that swing into the mood at about mid night. It surely seems like a city to party the night away. Israelis and locals dress up and Tel Aviv is possibly the place for me to wear my designer clothes. I have also learnt to say ‘Cheers’ in Hebrew … ‘Le Haim’…Let the party begin!
- Diving in the Red Sea: I have dived in the Red Sea in the past and it has been one of my best diving experiences ever. The water in the Red Sea is colder as compared to that along the equator, which, to an extent has prevented bleaching of the coral. Diving at Eilat is much cheaper as compared to Sharm-el-Sheikh (Egypt). At Eilat, sea goldies swim in a carefree manner and the area has not be run down by divers – the sea still hides treasures. Even a wreck dive is possible at the Satil wreck, which is over 30 meters long. I have never done a wreck dive, and this opportunity kindles the explorer in my soul.
- Food: Israel offers so much for food lovers… I stand corrected…so much for vegetarian food lovers. There is a spread of dips and varied kinds of cheese served at every meal.
I am drooling at the thought of dipping some fresh pita bread into a bowl of hummus! Or maybe picking up a yummy falafel at a street food joint…or having a hot helping of Shakshouka, which is a pan fried dish made of poached eggs, tomatoes, onions, and spices, served with bread. And the wine…how can I miss mentioning wine? Fine food and fine wine go hand in hand! Wine tasting in Golan and Galilee region is high on my list!
I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that the trip to Israel happens soon…really soon!
Have you been to Israel? Is there something else that I should add to this list…I am sure there is plenty to do and see! What more should I add to this list?