After spending New Year’s Eve in Berlin, I’m now in Israel—my first trip of 2013! I’m determined to travel more this year than the last. And for me: half the fun of travel is visiting places and people I already know. It’s been nearly two years since I last visited Israel, and over 2.5 years since I was living (briefly) in Tel Aviv.
It’s nice to be somewhere familiar, but still strange.
Israel has always fascinated me as a county. Based on my travel destinations the past few years, you’d probably assume I have an extreme interest in countries with conflicted pasts. Israel, without a doubt, is a country with a unique and interesting history dating back farther than I can imagine.
The cities of Israel and the Palestinian territories (now Palestine) are some of the most fascinating places I’ve visited and, after two years from being away, I was curious to see and learn more about one of my favorite regions. And that’s how I ended up on yet another visit to the Holy Land.
What makes Israel so unique as a travel destination?
I like to say that Israel is one of the more surprising countries I’ve ever visited. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are the main points of tourism and they’re often misunderstood around the world. Though it’s in the Middle East, Tel Aviv is one of the world’s premier nightlife destinations (in addition to being one of the world’s most gay-friendly cities). Jerusalem is an ancient historic city, but today, despite being a politically charged and controversial city, you’ll find more than just holy sites and ancient relics. It’s intense, yes, but it’s also fun and surprisingly exciting.
On this visit to Israel, rather than simply revisit my favorite bars, nightclubs and museums, I’m collaborating with Abraham Tours and Tourist Israel to plan an itinerary visiting tourist destinations I’ve previously skipped. If you’ve been following Travels of Adam on Facebook, you’ve probably already seen some of the exciting things I’ve been doing while here in Israel. On my itinerary:
- Tel Aviv
food, nightclubs and live music
- Mitzpe Ramon
hiking in the Negev desert along the scenic makhtesh (crater)
staying in the Old City at the legendary Fauzi Azar Inn and learning about the Jesus Trail
street art tour, nightclubs, hostel parties and exploring parts of the city I never saw before
visiting the holy sites and learning a bit about the political situation in the West Bank
political tour of the West Bank’s largest (and most contested) city
With this trip back to Israel I hope to freshen up my travel guides, meet more people and learn even more about this intriguing land. I won’t lie that the November 2012 war a few months ago (Operation Pillar of Defense) initially frightened me, but after the quick resolution and a number of other reasons, I decided to forge ahead with my 2013 travel plans. And so far, I’m very glad I did.
The past few days in Israel have only reminded me of the great times I had here in the past, and made me even more eager to know and understand more about the Middle East. Any travel that involves exploration of a land, and of the mind, is a good trip for me. I’m still sharing highlights every day on my social networks, but stay tuned for many more posts about this unique travel destination.
In the meantime, feel free to explore my archives from my previous trips to Israel and the West Bank.