I want to say first and foremost this was a trip of a lifetime. Not only did we come back with memories that we will cherish for rest of our lives, but equally as important, we came back with some amazing friendships. It all happened because my wife, who’s half Jewish, missed her opportunity to take part in birthright when she was younger and had the clever idea to search if there is a birthright for married couples. While not considered ‘birthright’, the organization Honeymoon Israel gives the opportunity to interfaith couples to travel to Israel at a highly subsidized rate. A couple interviews and introduction dinner later, we were off on our adventure half way across the world.
We first landed in Tel Aviv, a thriving metropolis planted right on the coastline of the Mediterranean. With sky scrapers sprouting up left and right, you’re immediately met with a sense of youth and energy that one could expect from a New York or San Francisco, but take a short walk over to the little port town of Jaffa and you’re immediately teleported back a 1000 years. This was a very common theme we experienced up and down the country. While I wish we spent a little more time in the city we did get to experience a little bit of everything. Some highlights included being served fresh watermelon beachside under cabanas accompanied by some mojitos, a graffiti tour around the markets, and a evening spent up on the rooftop bar, The Prince where we ended up drinking way too much Arak with our friends Will and Marie.
From Tel Aviv we made our way up north to Golan Heights to stay at a kibbutz next to the Sea of Galilee. While the kibbutz was nothing to write home about, it was cool to explore the mountains in surrounding countryside and learning about the many conflicts faced by Israeli’s and the bordering countries.
Next up was a pit stop at Caesarea, a small Roman port city nestled along the upper coast of Israel where we learned more about Israel’s early history and the many attempts of the Roman Empire to try establishing itself in the region.
Last stop, and probably my favorite city from the entire trip, was the capital, Jerusalem. While I try not to go into any city with any preexisting notions, it was hard to get the idea that Jerusalem was just this ancient city from biblical times being held together by religious pride. While some of that holds true, specifically for the ‘old city’. It is far from just a historical site. It is a thriving city with millions, has a great restaurant scene, museums, a prestigious university, and a wild night life. It really is a special place that I highly encourage anyone and everyone to visit.
Now enough of me rambling about the trip, enjoy the photos from out trip!