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Memories of Israel – The Desert [Part II]

9 Jul

If you haven’t been to Israel before, I hope these posts of “Memories of Israel” spark your interest.  I have intentionally kept them wording-light and photo-rich, so please email me if you would like more details.

***

So, there we were…

looking out into infinity, as we stood at the edge of the Makhtesh.

What is a Makhtesh, you ask?  A Makhtesh is a rare geological land-form that looks a lot like a huge canyon, but is actually an erosion crater (as opposed to craters that were created by meteoric impacts).  There are only seven erosion craters in the entire world, five of them are situated in the Negev desert & the other two are found in the Sinai desert.

And as beautiful as the Makhtesh was during the day,

it was even more incredible at night.

Besides discovering the Makhtesh, the rest of our time in the desert was filled with awesome hikes,

surprising finds,

(Above: A tree, fighting for life, in the middle of nowhere

Below: Fossils of huge snails in the Makhtesh wall)

& lots of family bonding…

more accurately, A TON of family bonding, especially after the arrival of my sweet cousins, who came to join us for the last 2 days of the trip.

I could go on, and tell you the detailed stories of how, accidentally, the battery died in our uncle’s car or how I got so sun-burned that I could barely wear a t-shirt or how my brother got so sick that he had to rush back to Tel Aviv to see a doctor… but why ruin such a perfectly beautiful trip?  The only thing I remember clearly today, is how we had the best time in the most unlikely of places- the desert!

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Memories of Israel – The Desert [Part I]

21 Jun

If you haven’t been to Israel before, I hope these posts of “Memories of Israel” spark your interest.  I have intentionally kept them wording-light and photo-rich, so please email me if you would like more details.

***

In my last couple of posts about Israel, you’ve followed me lazying around beaches, eateries & the like (as seen here & here), but thanks to my ever-young & adventurous parents, my vacation also included an awesome jeep trip to the beautiful, southern desert of Israel – the Negev.

Because it is impossible to go on this type of trip without a navigation and off-roading expert, we enlisted the help of tour-guide-extraordinaire, Avi Farjoun

& his exceptionally strong jeep.

(La familia…stuffed)

 Our 3-day desert trip followed the path of the spice & perfume trail of the ancient Nabateans, who, around 300 B.C, created an intricate trade route from southern Arabia, through the Negev, to the Mediterranean sea.

The Nabateans were masters of the desert thanks to their unrivaled ability to obtain and collect water in the arid terrain.

 Therefore, much of our trip was focused on discovering hidden irrigation channels and desert oases, thought to be used by the Nabateans.

 Unlike the Nabateans, however, once we found these watering holes, we’d usually stop for a picnic.

…Okay, back to the trip…

While following the spice trade route, we also visited Avdat, one of the most important camping grounds for Nabataean caravans (which was later taken over by the Romans).

We also did some beautiful hiking.

And then we reached this breathtaking view…

Which I promise to explain more about in my next deserty post.

Memories of Israel – Jaffa

12 May

If you haven’t been to Israel before, I hope these posts of “Memories of Israel” spark your interest.  I have intentionally kept them wording-light and photo-rich, so please email me if you would like more details…

One of the best ways to spend a touristy afternoon in Tel Aviv, is to walk along the beach promenade to the old city of Jaffa.  (Pronounced Yafo in Hebrew.)

It is estimated that Jaffa was built and inhabited 4,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest port cities in the word.

Today, Jaffa is a unique mix of architecture (historical, crumbling, Mediterranean), culture (chic & fringe), and people (Muslims, Christians and Jews).

My favorite sites in Jaffa include, but are not limited to: the Al-Bahr Mosque (above)…

The Wishing Bridge (above), where all you have to do is touch your zodiac sign, look at the sea, make a wish and ABRACADABRA!

This beautiful floating tree, secretly tucked away between the winding alleyways…

The daring street art, galleries, and artist studios…

Oh and the FOOD (What did you expect?! Of course I’d talk about food)…

Two fantastic restaurants in Jaffa are the Container (which is also an art space and music bar) and Pua (pictured below, located in the middle of Jaffa’s famous flea market).

But E’s favorite place, and therefore, MY favorite place, is an off-the-beaten-path, hole in the wall, serving THE BEST Hummus I’ve had yet- Hummus Asli (Yefet St, Jaffa)

If you ever go to a hummus restauant in Israel, you should know that the only acceptable way to eat hummus is by wiping it straight off the plate with a piece of pita, as demonstrated by E.

And the rest of the 10 salads, hummus, tahina, and fish…

You can eat them any damn way you want.

But don’t skip dessert – you’ve got a long walk back to Tel Aviv.

And on a completely seperate note – I’m guessing that one of the only people who has read this post top to bottom is my beloved mumsy, so I’ll take this opportunity to tell you personally…on the internet…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAAMA!

(And Happy Mother’s Day in Korea)

Lavu Lavu Lavu Lavu

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Memories of Israel – Tel Aviv

7 May

If you haven’t been to Israel before, I hope these posts of “Memories of Israel” spark your interest.  I have intentionally kept them wording-light and photo-rich, so please email me if you would like more details…

***

Just one month ago, I was standing at a Tel Aviv intersection, trying to decide if I wanted to turn left, and head to the beach or turn right, for some lazy coffee and city strolling. Of course, I ended up doing both because that is what vacation is all about.

But Israel is much more than a vacation destination for me.  It is my second home and the other half of my personality.  I’m not sure I can ever explain the relationship I have with this Country and City, but I’d love to take you for a photographic ride and show you what Tel Aviv means to me…

{Family}

{Sunshine}

{Reunions of the Heart}

– Mazal  Tov to the newly engaged cuties! –

– Mazal  Tov to the newly parents! –

{Salad…Finally!}

By the way, the salad in the top right photo changed my life.  It was the salad I was eating when I learned that my work visa was accepted in Korea!

{Friends that are Family who I Love  = Friemiloves}

{And Him…My Sweetest Bestest Brotherling}

What’s not to love?