|The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel is an ancient limestone wall in the Old City of Jerusalem|
Story and photos by Brett Goulston
Israel has many unofficial names including The Jewish State, The Promised Land and the Land of Milk and Honey. But it could also be called Iswowl! There is so much packed into this small country.
Jerusalem’s Old City an ideal starting point for any and all Israel tours. The city has an ultra-rich heritage from its role over the centuries as a spiritual home to Jews, Muslims and Christians. A trip to the Western Wall is nothing less than fascinating. You’ll witness hundreds of Jews at any time, from the Secular to the ultra Orthodox (and every sect in between) praying vigorously. It’s a sight to behold and it’s been going on for thousands of years! You need at least three days to see the city’s best. Make sure you organise a guide - I can’t think of any city where such knowledge is more essential.
Close by but so very different is Tel Aviv. If Jerusalem is the spiritual home and capital, Tel Aviv is the “happening” and modern city. Fabulous hotels and beaches line the Mediterranean, cafés and restaurants abound and fast cars and fashionable young people are everywhere. It’s kind of like Santa Monica meets the Cote d’Azur if that makes sense. A walk from the hotel area to the old port city of Jaffa (pronounced Yafa) is a highly enjoyable and must-do experience if you wish to experience the local Tel Aviv way of life.
I’d read about how the Israelis turned much of their arid land into lush, green, orchards and vegetable farms. I’d seen it in documentaries too but nothing prepared me for witnessing it first-hand. Thousands of acres in every direction see Israel move well beyond self-sufficient to being a major exporter. The result is fabulous, fresh food wherever you go (except for the holy days).
Most people travel to Israel for the history and with dozens of ancient sites around the country you simply can’t be disappointed. Tourism is one of Israel’s largest industries but leading-edge technology is its most important. Technology hubs with many start-up companies have appeared across the country. Today, many countries around the world use Israeli-born technology across dozens of categories including agriculture, science, medicine, engineering and computers.
Anyone who loves to travel simply must visit Israel. Its hundreds of villages, towns and cities not only deliver on the history front but across so many other dimensions as well. To join one of Blue Dot Travel’s small group tours of Israel and Jordan click here for more information.
|Map of Israel & Jordan|
|Dinner in Tel-Aviv|
|Brett samples the “best ever” baklava!|
|Tower of David and the walls of Old Jerusalem|
|Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem|
|The fascinating ancient ruins of Beit She'an|
|Israel’s flag flies high on Masada|
|Palestinian man in Old Jerusalem|
|The Negev desert covers much of Israel’s south|
|The Bell Caves|
|The Dead Sea|