Travelling and exploring other places is something I LOVE! So when I found a fully organised ‘just show up at the airport on this date and we’ll do the rest’ type trip to Israel over Easter, I didn’t even pause before booking it. It’s a country that has been on my bucket list for a while, because it’s interesting for so many reasons – the historical politics, the more recent conflict, and the biblical significance of so many of the places.
It did not disappoint.
As a bible-believing Christian it felt at times a bit crazy visiting places like Jerusalem, Jericho, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and the Sea of Galilee. Because the names seem so familiar you almost feel like you’ve been there before. It was pretty surreal each day, as we checked off more and more places on the biblical checklist imagining what life might have been like for Jesus and his disciples more than two thousand years ago.
What were the highlights?
A lot of them were random experiences that you couldn’t plan for, or predict – for example, stumbling upon a Bat Mitzvah celebration by the Western Wall, with an entire family singing and dancing to this crazy clarinet player in the middle of the street.
Or the downright bizarre moments – like the little Palestinian boy who came up to me, touched my arm, screamed, and ran away. (Our guide thought he’d maybe never seen someone pale and blonde before, and thought I was a ghost).
Or when a camel snogged pretty much my entire face. From the pictures it may look like I’m laughing, but for the record – the experience was not consensual.
But as with any trip or adventure, it was the people I met there, and the group of 50 other Brits who I travelled around with, that made the experience as fun, eye opening, and memorable as it was. I’m sure I’ll go back to Israel again in the future, but with different people, at a different time, it’s sure to be a completely different experience.
In terms of what Israel and the West Bank was like, there’s far too much to say one post, so I’m just going to try and summarise the main things we did in my next one.
Hopefully the video above gives at least some of an idea of what it was like. But, as smellovision hasn’t been invented yet, if you really want the full ‘smells and bells’ experience, you’ll have to go yourself.