Is Israel On Your Travel List Yet?

I remember my family going to Israel way back in 1990s as a part of the church group to visit the holy city of Jerusalem. Since then, travel has considerably reduced owing to the geo-political situations. Now that I see it coming back up on my fellow travelers’ blogs, Israel is on my travel list.

I have a strong affinity for the countries in Middle – East as I spent a good part of my adolescence there. My trip, last year, to Jordan only reinforced this strange feeling of ‘home’ inside of me. Tasting the authentic humus and shawarma brought back memories of after-school lunch my tired mum used to buy to feed us. It is strange sometimes, when a small taste, smell or sound brings up so many old forgotten images in your head. Reading  my fellow travelers’ blog, Israel did not match up to the grandeur of the place I had in my mind. Maybe time did change something. Nevertheless, I plan to see it all before it loses the awesomeness even more.

Holy Tour (Jerusalem/Bethlehem/Jericho):

Needless to say, the holy city is first on my list. This place is the melting pot of all things Christian, Muslim and Jew. There are constant Muslim patrols within these premises due to conflicts between the people.  The Church Of Holy Sepulchre is where Jesus is thought to be buried and resurrected- the single holiest place for the followers of this great Man. As surprising as it can be, the key to this table is guarded by a Muslim family as it has been for centuries.

I hear and read these names every Sunday during church.  Visiting Jericho’s ancient ruins and heading up to Mountain of Temptations are all surreal things to do. I intend to finish this tour with a visit to Bethlehem- the birthplace of Jesus.

Dead Sea:

Folks who read about my Jordan trip know how excited I still am just imagining me in Dead Sea. One evening there is simply not enough for me and going to Israel to experience the other side of this miracle is my top reason to head there. I feel goosebumps creeping up as I write this. This time will schedule extra time to soak in the mineral filled water.

Tel Aviv:

This name comes in the news for all the wrong reasons. As I write this, I fear my mother’s terrible agony imagining me in the midst of the horror she sees on TV. What we have not seen is the vibrant nightlife and the exquisite culinary adventure one can experience in this city. There is architecture, wine, art, markets and anything else you may need.

Masada/Ein Gedi:

Google tells me that Masada is an ancient fort from where you can see a magical sunrise and I am a sucker for both sunsets and sunrises. After climbing Mt. Batur in Indonesia, I make sure I never let an opportunity go to waste.  Spending a day in an oasis in the midst of all the desert plants is as real as you get. The hospitality of the Bedouins is something to be experienced and hence this makes it to my list.

It is unfortunate that the media covers mainly one side of the story when it comes to Israel. As I collect my reasons to visit this beautiful place, you find out your reasons too! Let me know if there is something which needs to be here. Because of these reasons and more, Israel is on my travel list- right at the top.

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