Certain occurrences when visiting Israeli are inevitable: sweating, seeing hairy Israeli men yelling at the shuk (market), eating good food, and marveling at ancient beauty. Luckily, after a 10 day trip to the holy land, I managed to experience many of Israel's most iconic gems.
My adventure started off in an average way: at the airport, with my best friend, trying to make friends with the group of people we would be travelling with. Thankfully, the latter was not difficult, as we quickly assembled a squad, which included people who were just as Russian or as weird as we were. Throughout the trip we spent many drunk nights together, and collectively drank more vodka than a group of 55 year old men at a Slavic New Year's Party.
Anyway, I've rounded up some of the highlights of my trip, so if you ever find yourself in Israel, even byway of Google Maps, you'll know where to go.
What to see?
Tel Aviv - The city is hip, modern, and has amazing Mediterranean beaches. Make sure to take a walk on Dizengoff Street, and visit neighboring Jaffa as it's the oldest part of the city.
Tzfat - This spiritual city is the birthplace of Kabbalah, and has mystic streets that are extremely charming and excellent to explore.
Camels - You can choose to ride them, but if you're lucky you'll be able to see them walking freely in the desert.
Masada - There are two ways up to the ancient fortress in the Judean Desert: by cable car or a long winding path. We chose the second option, and in 40 degree (104 F) weather it was torturous, but the desert views were worth it.
Old City of Jerusalem - The old city has something to appeal to all religions and all people. Personally, I loved seeing the Western Wall, and walking the ancient streets.
The Dead Sea - Floating on the lowest point on dry land is a once in a life time experience, as in; it's nice to see and swim in one time, but it's not something I would do again because the water burnnnnssss. Make sure to bring water shoes because it's super rocky, and my feet were aching.
Ein Ovdat National Park - The hike through this canyon was really pretty, as the water comes out of rock layers... it's magical.
What to eat? (in reality this list would be never ending)
Ein Ovdat National Park
Where to shop? (Get your bargaining skills ready!)
Carmel Market - Tel Aviv
This market is the perfect place for lunch, buying beach supplies, or fruits and vegetables. As a tourist, it's honestly more of a place to just grab a bite to eat, since you obviously can't carry a basket of tomatoes with you. Alternatively, you can browse some of the best designer knockoffs in the Middle East.
Machne Yehuda Market - Jerusalem
I loved this market for its ability to make me feel like a local among the selection of Israel's finest foods, and people who are not afraid to let out a little hutzpah.
The little shops in Tzfat had the greatest variety of judaica jewelry. Unfortunately, I didn't buy anything, and then regretted it, because I didn't see the same designs anywhere else.