Every year I like to travel for my birthday. This year I choose to spend my birthday in Jerusalem.
I got a little too excited to find free tickets and accommodations, that I did not realize it would quite warm. No scratch that, HOT. I based myself in Tel Aviv and arranged to take day trips to some of the nearby sites.
First thoughts of Tel Aviv, was how it’s a beautiful city on the sea. Vibrant and full of energy.
My actual birthday I spent touring Jerusalem. Which happened to be on the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day of rest, which observed differently by different religions. In the Jewish faith, it’s Shabbat and it’s day of rest and spiritual enrichment. It was very interesting, to witness. The hotel I stayed out has restrictions in place for Shabbat. The had a special menu only, and special Shabbat elevator.
Jerusalem was not was I expected. It was full of touts, tourist and extremely ignornant people who refused to respect the laws of the local lands. When visiting religious sites, it’s not unusual to have to cover your shoulder, knees or even sometimes your head. I’ve had to be covered all over the world, so I was prepared for this in Israel. Also because it was the Sabbath there was signs that it was not ok to take photos of the Western Wall. I took one before I realized I was not supposed to. The whole experience left was not as spiritual as I expected.
Something that was fascinating to me, was I was raised Catholic. In fact my primary education as a Catholic school. I was never really taught much about other religions. It’s impossible to discuss Catholicism without mentioning Judaism. But it was just mentioned no history taught. Its was weird for me to learn at my age that Judaism, Christianity and Islam all were . born in the same area and all monotheism. Meaning they all believe in one God. I found visiting this area to be fascinating. But the ignorant tourists soured the experience.
Anyway after Jerusalem, we headed to Bethlehem. Bethlehem is located in the West Bank or Palestine. You can not just drive into Bethlehem, you have to work across and change vehicles. We headed the Church of the Nativity .
My visit was marred by terrible tourist who insisted on pushing so they could capture their selfie for Instagram. I almost wish cameras were banned so that maybe we could actually take in the space and be less worried about getting whacked in the head with a selfie stick.
The next day I headed to Masada and the Dead Sea. Masada was interesting to see, but having not done my research before I went, I did not really understand it’s history. It was hot and required a lot of walking on uneven surface. So I opted to sit in the shade and skip the sites. I know terrible, but sometimes, I make bad choices.
Next stop was the Dead Sea. The Lowest Place on Earth. It’s definitely and experience. You walk in and lean back your feet will sweep out from underneath you. You then cover yourself in mud, and rinse off. The mud leaves an oily film on your skin. And after the whole experience your skin feels great.
Back in Tel Aviv, I headed over to Jaffa, the port city.
Typical Flo fashion, I managed to get lost in the maze. I had booked a tour to Polish a Diamond, and well it did not work out. Mainly because the tour operator gave me the meeting point but failed to list the city. So when I gave the taxi the address, I was ended up in the wrong city.
I would definitely go back to visit again and explore more. Maybe not in the middle of the summer. It’s a beautiful area and I am glad I got a glimpse of it.