Visit to the state of Israel between Tel Aviv, Ramallah, Aifa, Hakko ... A trip that I recommend at least once in a lifetime.
Appointment at the airport with my friend, with whom I would share this fantastic experience.
Departure from Rome at 13.35 for Tel Aviv, passing through Jordan, with a four-hour stopover, during which we ate Humus.
Arrival in Tel Aviv at 22.15pm.
Arriving at the airport, did they stop us for a while? of questions. Maybe ? a case, but they stopped my friend who had asked if she could not have the stamp on the passport, for the known problem that the passport with the visa of Israel can? be unusable for other destinations in Muslim countries. In short, the reception is not? it was the best, but after about 20 15 minutes of questions, we finally left the airport, where our Israeli friend was waiting for us. By car we reached the Hayarkon 48 hostel, where they welcomed us? two decidedly not very nice guys. Did we immediately understand that Tel Aviv? a city? modern, where life pulsates until late at night, especially on Thursdays? and on Friday? evening, when we arrived.
Regardless of the long journey, we immediately went to look around the city? and at Sderot Rothschild we found the curtains and a? atmosphere a bit? Hippy because of the ongoing protest, organized by young Israelis.
We immediately adapted to the typical customs of the place and we immediately headed to a bar, the Gilda, where we ordered a? Arak and lemonade with meant ?. Then in another disco-pub, the Radio, definitely overcrowded, where in the evening? continued merrily until late at night.
Return to the hostel at 4.30, in a 4-person dormitory. Have our roommates managed to return more? late of us!
Wake up at 9.00 in the morning why? we had to leave the room to move from the dormitory to the double. Well,? it was a nice leap in quality: the dormitory and the sheets gave an old impression and a bit? dirty, while the doubles were clean, recently refurbished, with a decidedly more? inviting. Judging by the unfriendly attitude? of the guys at the reception and the conditions of the dormitory, we thought we had the wrong choice of the hostel where we would have slept another two nights, but in the following days we realized how good the location was, really convenient for doing anything.
The breakfast in the hostel was bad (milk and coffee powder, practically nothing to eat), so? we decided to have breakfast by the sea, what? really close by. L? we were really puzzled by the check they did to enter the bar: did they inspect our bags? to get a cappuccino! Pi? what a sense of security, this gave us a great sense of instability. The saccottino has sweetened the experience.
Then the beach near the? Hayarkon? Seemed to be in the? States ?! After being roasted to perfection, we took a fantastic walk along the waterfront, with a small detour in the Yemeni quarter, nibbling here and there. and finally reaching Jaffa on foot, very pretty.
In the evening we ate one of the best Humus I have ever eaten at? Humus Ashkara, on Yermyaho street (or something J), highly recommended by my native friend. Then, towards the port (which I believe is no longer a real port), where are the most popular clubs? chicchettosi of Tel Aviv, with selection at the entrance and where they are all beautiful, absolutely everyone;). Not really my thing, but the holiday atmosphere makes it all better. light and the location? truly enchanting: by the sea.
And even this evening we managed to stay late! Well, I was expecting a little bit of experience. pi? spiritual from this holiday and are a bit? confused, but that's okay.
Wake up calmly and have a fantastic breakfast near the market, in a corner bar, this time without guards rummaging in our bags looking for who knows? what. This makes us feel decidedly more? relax. Ready for a city tour ?! We quickly realized that Tel Aviv definitely loses its charm during the day. Not ? beautiful, it has no breathtaking monuments, but it has a decidedly unique character, with many contradictions: rabbis walking along the seafront alongside super sportsmen jogging bare-chested, traditional market and large state-of-the-art shopping malls, skyscrapers glistening in the sun next to little houses dilapidated.
Falafel for dinner tonight! Why, even if we are in a city? which seems western, let's not forget that we are in the Middle East. Obviously no beer, why? the restaurant ? run by Arabs and why? ? Ramadan period. Even this evening, the evening continues? we head towards the Florentine district by taxi. Tell us that? a little? the student district. Seems like an area a bit? degraded, but with its own character. Lots of guys around and various clubs. Let's go to Made, a kind of American bar with billiards. Nice atmosphere, nice evening.
Check out hotel and guided tour of the university, a campus. Here, too, are the soldiers who control you to enter. Who knows? if we get used to this. Anyway? was it worth it, could we do some? of questions to the guide and we went a bit? around the manicured gardens and then we went to the museum, what for? there ? particularly liked. We left for the hotel, ate a bite on the beach and then left for Jerusalem by bus, but perhaps it would have been better by train. In fact, there were a large number of soldiers on the bus, with weapons in sight. It seems that buses are the best means? used by the military. Anyway, we take one (for Jerusalem they are very frequent) and go!
Jerusalem? been from the beginning. The impact? strong. You immediately get the impression of being in a completely different place from those we are used to, with people wearing strange clothes and caps: rabbis with ringlets, wives of rabbis with caps, soldiers (lots of little girls), boys with the Kippah, the headdress worn by male Jews. We walk to the hostel, the Abraham Hostel, so? we have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the city. We settle down. The room ? nice, but has a very unpleasant smell. The common area of the hostel? really fantastic and we immediately made friends. We settle down and then go to eat at a fast food restaurant that sells falafel. This part of the city? ? very modern, crossed by a tram line, which would be operational in a few days. Go to bed early tonight.
The hostel? super organized: they tell us that at 14.00 there would be an appointment to make a free tour of the city. In the meantime, we organize ourselves to go to the Jerusalem Hotel, where we know we can book? Alternative tours? with the guide Abu Hasan. The taxi driver makes a nice detour to fool us poor tourists, what for? we weren't so naïve as we noticed it, and we pursue a bad argument with him. Finally we pay and leave. To reach the Jerusalem Hotel we go to the Arab side? make a mistake: people's faces change, clothes? strange? they change, the architecture changes. The hotel bar? a nice place and if we didn't rush we would gladly have a coffee but we will probably go back. Abu Hasan is not there, but they tell us that the best thing? call him. We will do it.
We run back to the hostel for the tour? This time on foot;). Finally we reach the guide, very nice and sunny. Are we finally diving into the city? old, made up of alleys. The guide tells us some anecdotes while walking around the city. We reach the most? important: the holy sepulcher, the wailing wall, the via dolorosa etc. It also makes us discover some characteristic corners, far from the most? tourist. The approach with this city? confusing: everything? very mixed, religions intersect while remaining separate, spirituality? of places contrasts with the soldiers' weapons. Everyone flaunts their religious orientation: Jews, Arabs, Christians? and not only. At the end of the tour, when we leave the walls, one almost has the impression of having come out of another space-time dimension. We give the guide a small tip, who leaves us with the last anecdote, a children's story that gives us a nice sense of peace.
We are finally going to eat. This time we try Yemeni cuisine in a tavern near the? Jaffa Gate ?. Shall we take another stroll around the city? and then we go back to the hostel. We book an excursion from the agency that is right inside the hall. Tonight at 3 we leave to go to Masada and the Dead Sea. We succeed in this truly last second feat.
Get up at 2.30am? it was tough, but we did it! We leave with another twenty or so people from our hostel. The bus leaves us and a long? Climb? along a path carved into the rock to reach the fortress, which is located on the top of the mountain. The target ? reach it before dawn, in order to enjoy the first light of day from above. The climb ? it was very demanding, also due to the heat and humidity, but we did it. We enjoy the show from above. Then, calmly, we take a tour of the archaeological site and finally go down with the cable car. Then we head to the Ben Gedi park, where we swim in the waterfalls and finally we go to the Dead Sea, where you float like you can't do in any other? Sea? of the world J. Very funny! Finally we take the bus back, but first we make a small stop on the Mount of Olives, from where you can see the Jewish cemetery, the esplanade, the minarets, the bell towers? Let's go back to the confusion of Jerusalem.
We have dinner at the Jerusalem Hotel, where we try Arabic cuisine: a big aperitif and then the chicken Yalla Yalla, as our guide advised, but what about us? liked it much more? the appetizer. Here you can? drink beer though? Ramadan. Let's go back to the hostel and have a chat in the common area before going to sleep.
Today tour of Jerusalem! Do we want to go to the city? old and enter the places that for now we have only seen from the outside or very hastily. Maybe stop at the stalls to buy some souvenirs. Enjoy the atmosphere. In the afternoon we meet an Italian girl (friend of friends) who is a volunteer here. Appointment at the Jerusalem Hotel, where he makes us discover a fantastic lemonade with mint. We will definitely take it back! We have a long chat with her about her experience in this country.
In the car, then, do we take a tour of the city? and takes us to the Mount of Olives, but in the most? high compared to the one where we are already? been, where the bus had not taken us why? Arab area. From here you have a spectacular view of the city.
Today ? Shabat, so in the area near the hostel? all closed. The city? ? deserted. Let's take a tour of the city? and we arrive on foot to the tomb of Mary with some stops to tease something in the Catholic area, where we know we will find something open. Then we run back to the hostel. Do we have an appointment with Jewish friends, who involve us in their celebration of the Shabat? a unique experience. IS? strange (for us Italians) that in these parts one of the first questions they ask you after knowing your name? Which is your religion. Let's take a walk in the park and in the Makhane Yehuda and Zikhron Yosef area, a residential area of the city.
We decided to go to the West Bank with an Arab guide (he organizes tours from the Jerusalem Hotel) who referred friends to us. We went to Hebron and Bethlehem. The reservation ? last minute, why? until the day before you do not know if he leaves or not. We enter another dimension of the country. The guide ? fantastic and describes the political situation seen from the side of the Arabs. I advise anyone to do this experience, to see what the other part of the country looks like. One of the most? strong in my life. Absolutely to do.
Our trip ? been long and intense. IS? lasted another 10 days. We continued on to Haifa, Akko, we returned to Tel Aviv and we went to the artists' market, very nice, we went back up to Galilee, where you can see another Israel, the closest one. tolerant of the Arabs. There are no checkpoints here and the integration seems to be really happening. Didn't Galilee give us strong emotions, if not why? it evoked names and places that are part of our Catholic culture.
Ramallah. Here c'? the grave of Yaser Arafat. Strong emotions. Someone in our group had tears in their eyes.
Tel Aviv. Just passing through to organize the trip north. Booked hotels / B & Bs.
Haifa. A city? completely different from the others, where you can breathe an air of peace and normality.
Akko. Famous for the archaeological site. Interesting, but definitely less exciting than the other places we visited.
Galilee. In the footsteps of Jesus. Modernity some churches clash with the history of these places.
Galilee and Nazareth. City Arab, but a point of reference for Christians. Here as elsewhere, religions are intertwined.
Day at the beach and short visit to the artists' market.
We allowed ourselves another two final days of sea, beach, relaxation and fun and Tel Aviv before returning to Italy.
Return ? been a little? traumatic because of the long checks at the airport, but thanks to a magical experience of the journey that we left behind, we let the difficulties slip away. of the return.
Natan Goshen - Kol Ma Sheyesh Li