Our Top Spots for Israel

In no particular order is this list of our favorite locations in Israel.

1.  Tel Aviv has great international food, a very active community and opportunities to do a lot outdoors. There’s the beach, parks, running trails, walkable neighborhoods, outdoor dining, flea markets & Carmel craft market to name a few.

The food is fresh, well-made, fun (we went to a chocolate restaurant for dinner!), exceptional fresh squeezed fruit juices and outstanding Israeli fare particularly for breakfast.

    

Tel Aviv is like a smaller New York of the Middle East.

2. Dead Sea and local beaches

When you visit you are at the lowest point on earth. That’s cool enough (or should I say hottest because it does get warm) but on top of that  you get in the water and can’t swim underwater but only bob up and float.

 

Crystallized minerals on Little Man

     

There’s a lot to enjoy here with the beauty surrounding the sea but a few things to be aware of.

You get out and you feel oily. I can’t describe it but you just feel yucky. I thought it would be like salty and gritty but the combination of minerals makes it a oily post-experience. But you also have salt crystals on your body, it’s wild!

If you have any cuts or open wounds, they will sting but it might not occur until afterwards or later on in your swim. We had a great time until our kids started fussing about the water burning, 15 or 20 minutes into the visit.

3. Sea of Galilee & Nazareth

Beyond the Biblical and historical  significance of this region, the beauty is incredible.

There are many short drives to a lot of sites. Cana (Jesus turns the water into wine), Tiberius, Mt. Of Beatitudes (Sermon on the Mount),  Nazareth, Mt. Tabor, Capernaum & Bethsaida.

Learning how to thread the wool

Below is the place believed to be Peter’s home and where Jesus spent the night.  

   The Sea of Galilee and the surrounding hills are beautiful!

Pack food as you may find yourself without restaurants depending on the time of day or location.

4. Ein Gedi is an oasis among the Dead Sea desert-like land. King Solomon wrote of it in Song of Solomon  and mentions of the Henna trees of Ein Gedi.

This is also the location of David’s cave and where he cut off  part of King Saul’s robe.

IMG_0318

IMG_0331

The kids had a grand time being out in nature and using sticks for walking.

If we lived nearby, we would go there often!

IMG_0337

 

IMG_0357

Warrior Pose in David’s cave

 

It was beautiful  and warm. Be prepared for sunny weather and wear clothes accordingly. There’s several fresh waterfalls and pools. It was a delightful way to cool off.

5.  Jerusalem, we can’t forget this rich in history city. Via Dolorosa is the path Jesus took with the cross. Mount of Olives was also a significant stop. An hour trip outside leads you to Bethlehem.

Though this city is divided between Armenians, Muslims, & Jews, it’s a  relatively friendly and fun city. Be aware of the situation and mindful.

IMG_0008

We followed the footsteps of Jesus as he was arrested and carried the cross.

IMG_0023

Shopping markets

IMG_0043

Where they believe Jesus’ body was crucified

IMG_0086

Inside the church built over the crucifixion site

IMG_0103

Beautiful church!

IMG_0106

An altar for Jesus’ tomb

IMG_7226

The wailing wall-West Wall inside Old City Jerusalem

IMG_0200

Panoramic view

IMG_0222Garden of Gathsemene

This trip was wonderful and we were so thankful to go on it! I know this is such a thrown together post but it gives our highlights!

Advertisements

Our First Family Restaurant Experience

Hookah bar

Hookah bar

While traveling a nearby city, we found a good restaurant to try.

The kids had walked a good bit and so we opted to try a well-received local restaurant.

Instead of an alcohol bar, the restaurant had a hookah bar.

Above entryway mirror

Above entryway mirror

Peek-a-boo!

Sitting at the table

Sitting at the table

They had benches for us to sit around a low table

which of course the kids thought meant it was their inside playground….

Joyfull loving the food!

Joyfull loving the food!

We had a great time with our friends and enjoyed several appetizer dishes together.

As you can see from Joyfull’s hands and plate, it was good!!!

Local Ruins

There’s not much to explain on these pictures.

Awhile back we visited some local ruins with friends.

It’s now a place for locals and visitors to walk through history and learn more

or just have a picnic!

Local Ruins

Local Ruins

Huge pillars

Huge pillars

Oldest and Youngest

Oldest and Youngest

Grand

Grand

The kids loved to get out and burn energy climbing and exploring.

There aren’t many parks in this part of the country and we find this place so much better than a playground!

More of the structure

More of the structure

Tunnels, mosques, walls

Tunnels, mosques, walls

The city beyond

The city beyond

Rug Shopping

Goat & Sheep Hair Rug

Goat & Sheep Hair Rug

After My Love bartered and worked the prices down to a fair price for both,

we got 6-8 rugs! The above is one of them.

My long lovely kitchen rug

My long lovely kitchen rug

And I love this one as well!

Free toy tokens for kids

Free toy tokens for kids

For us, we went to a particular city known for it’s handmade rugs.

I wasn’t particular on buying used or new,

but I did want quality and good colors with middle eastern designs.

In most shops the kids were given chocolates or stuffed animals.

The salesmen know the kids can make or break a deal!

Made in a loom by hand

Made in a loom by hand

We spent the most time with one owner, I feel like his name sounded like Mustafa. Seriously.

And he was a character but quite friendly and generous.

This is his loom within his tiny store (step 6 feet further behind the camera and you are out the door).

The kids "thrilled" with seeing the loom.

The kids “thrilled” with seeing the loom.

Clearly the kids are hitting their final wall of smiling for people and cameras.

They were done being on display.

Working the crank to divide out the material for the rugs

Working the crank to divide out the material for the rugs

Mustafa even let us work some tool that helped him in creating the rugs.

Patiently Waiting outside a mosaic shop

Patiently Waiting outside a mosaic shop

Kids are welcomed in this culture but it’s still surprising for locals to see how many we have

because how many other crazy foreigners do you see traveling with 4 kids??!

And I’ll gladly take them to the moon and back because they are worth it and

traveling and learning and experiencing new cultures is worth it!

I’m Not Capturing Enough Pictures

Rainbow Chocolate Cake for Joyful

Rainbow Chocolate Cake for Joyful

I store memories in my mind but the visual reminders in picture form

are a cherished way to relive the treasured moments.

Sweet Cheeks Peek-a-boo

Sweet Cheeks Peek-a-boo

Could picture taking be a love form?

Double flower child

Double flower child

If so, I heap lots of love on my kids.

Throw rocks in the creek

Throw rocks in the creek

There are quiet moments when I spend all my energy focused on that specific emotion

and time

and individual.

Hallmark upside down

Hallmark upside down

And other times when I want to capture the essence in picture form.

IMG_8271

I am an amateur and I’ll keep on trying.

IMG_8787And this is just one way I show my love for the Creator and Giver of all Life.