#BestOfTravel Echoes of Israel | Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Masada and Dead Sea

26th Dec 2017
Photo of #BestOfTravel Echoes of Israel | Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Masada and Dead Sea by ANshul Sharma
My 1 week Israel trip wrapped up in 2 minutes

My partner and I flew from Brussels to Tel Aviv in the afternoon. Getting on a plane to Israel is not like any other journey. You have to go through extra layers of security which might be intimidating, especially when you are questioned for about 30 minutes before you get a hold of your boarding pass.

Day 1

We landed in Tel Aviv at night and got straight to our hotel. Our hotel was close to the beach front so I was quite stoked about the view we would have the next morning.

Day 2

Next morning we went straight to the beach front and I have to say it was way beyond my expectations. It was sunny and the sea was not that cold for December. The beach front is quite long with palm trees on one side along with sky scrapers and Mediterranean on the other. We could even go for some surfing. We tried well know Felafel for lunch. We both are on a plant based diet and we were happy because there were so many vegetarian options for us in Israel. In the evening we went to walk around the city. We also caught up with my friends from Israel who showed us a bit around.

Day 3

Next day we took a direct bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem which took us around one and half an hours. Jerusalem has this vibe, you just like it. So the very moment we entered the city, I fell in love with the city. There is just one tram track which took us directly to our hotel in Eastern Jerusalem. After checking in and settling down a but we headed for the old town, today we planned to explore the jewish and christian quarter of the old town. Old town is a cultural hotspot. The people, the sounds, smell and the languages. We followed the infamous path 'Via Dolorosa' which Jesus took when he was being crucified. Eventually it took us to the Church of Holy Sepulchre. In the evening we went for a walk in western Jerusalem. It was similar to a European city with fancy shopping streets and host of options to eat.

Day 4

In the morning we took a bus to the old fort of Masada which took us two hours. The bus ride was totally worth it because the highway runs across The Dead Sea and desert all around. The turquoise water of dead sea is mesmerising. Eventually we reached Masada where you could either take a ropeway to the top of the fort or you could hike up the snake path. Since we were running short on time we opted for the Ropeway. On our way back we were hoping to stop by Ein Gedhi which is an infamous oasis in middle of no where but due to Shabbat the bus services on Friday terminate quire early so we had to go back to Jerusalem.

Temple Mount

Photo of Masada, Israel by ANshul Sharma

After reaching the city we headed for the old town again (because why not). This time we decided to see the western wall. You are not advised to go there on Saturday because its better to leave the people alone playing on their holy day. The Jewish quarters of Old city Jerusalem are beautiful. It was like a big house with stairs around and galleries and small terraces over looking the western wall. I fell in love with the ambience. After a while People were flocking from all directions to the Western Wall to pray. It was the best moment of my whole trip. To see them together in arms (you can see it in the video linked above). You could see the orthodox jews near the wall and the liberal ones who were singing songs in circles.

From there we walked to Mea Shearim which is an orthodox neighbourhood of Jerusalem. It was very intriguing to take a look at their way of life. After a while we called it a day.

Day 5

This is the day of Shabbat (Saturday). Today there was no transportation. Even taxis were hard to find. Given that Jerusalem is not that big and we are fans of walking so we could reach the old town on foot. Today we decided to explore Armenian and Arabic quarters of the old city and also to check all the gates. Yes the city is walled and it has number of gates.

Day 6

Next morning We woke up early, checked out of hotel and went straight to the highlight of our Jerusalem trip. The Temple Mount in Al-Aqsa Mosque. This Mosque has a very prominent historical significance for Muslims. It was not possible for us to get inside the mosque as only Muslims are allowed to enter but no matter what the Temple mount looked stunning. That shining dome on top of precisely carved blue marbles.

From there we went straight for the bus stop to catch our bus to Dead Sea. This was the moment I was waiting for. Well, what is it like to float in the dead sea? Dead sea is also the lowest point on our planet. The experience was stunning, its unbelievable and it may take you a few seconds to adjust to that magical experience. But let me burst a very common myth that you cant drown in Dead sea. YES YOU CAN and in fact its easier to drown in dead sea than in a normal sea. Around 20 or more people die on an average every year by drowning in dead sea. Why so? Well, if you lay on your back its fine, nothing happens, you will stay on top without any effort but if you try to do the same on your belly your face will go inside the water automatically (as your feet will tend to go to the surface because of buoyancy). This makes it harder to swim in the dead sea. Moreover dead sea's water is toxic (well, not in very small doses), in case you drink it please see the life guard ASAP. And try to avoid splashing the water into your eyes, good luck seeing with your eyes for next few minutes if you do so. So yes, you gotta be extra careful when in dead sea. But the overall experience is very well worth it.

Dramatic sunset over Mediterranean

Photo of Dead Sea by ANshul Sharma

In the evening we took a bus straight to Tel aviv and checked in into our next hotel. Today was also planned to celebrate NYE in the hotel room with just a bottle of wine.

Made this edit out of a shot I took at Old Jaffa

Photo of Tel Aviv, Israel by ANshul Sharma
Day 7

Next morning it was raining quite a lot but as it was our last day in Tel Aviv we couldn't afford to sit in the hotel room. We decided to explore the Carmel Market and walked all the way from Tel Aviv to the old town of Jaffa. The town is absolutely beautiful and totally worth a visit. Jaffa also houses one of worlds oldest sea port.

In the evening we walked around the beach promenade. We had early morning flights so we went to bed quite early.

to sum up; Israel won my heart since the beginning. I've been able to see, do, and create some of the most intense experiences of my life here. There are some things a camera cannot capture, and to truly feel a place, it's people and their culture, you have to experience it yourself. This is one of those places. You can watch a 2 min wrap up here: