Disclaimer, i’m not religious and don’t really care about the Israel and Palestine conflict.
I always want to plan ahead, booking trips well ahead is often cheaper and gives me more time to read up on the destination. My friends did not want to plan their summer as early as me, and one night while browsing Google Flights as many travelers do. I came across cheap flights to Tel Aviv, Israel directly from Stockholm, Sweden. As easy said as done, booked flights for me and told my friends i’ll be backpacking Israel and Palestine for two weeks solo.
The departure was July 24 and i where to be back in Sweden by August 4. They told me i’m craze and that it was a war zone, we agreed to disagree.
The itinerary was pretty packed, the area is full of history and a lot had to be done in a very short time.
Day 1-5, Jerusalem
- Landing in Tel Aviv
- Bus to Jerusalem
- Explore Jerusalem
- Jerusalem city tour
- Explore Jerusalem some more
- Dead Sea tour
Day 6-8, Nazareth
- Masada sunrise
- Bus to Nazareth
- Music night
- Explore Nazareth
- City tour
- Explore Nazareth some more
Day 9-12, Tel Aviv
- Explore Tel Aviv
- Fly home
And the obligatory wing picture
This was my first time in West Asia and the Middle East. When getting of the plane, the first thing that hits me is the security, it’s everywhere and waiting inline to enter Israel. Israel does not require visa for Swedes, and that is a big plug in my book. When all security intervjus and checkpoints was cleared it was on the find the shared taxi to Jerusalem and the Abrahams Hostel in Jerusalem.
I was dropped of right outside the hostel, i had read a lot of great reviews about Abrahams Hostels. And i was not disappointed! The rooms where fresh and air-conditioned, the breakfast was good, location was perfect and the atmosphere where amazing!
After my arrival i decided to take it chill the rest of evening, met a couple of nice lads in one of the hostel bars (there was one in the dining hall and one on the roof). We later went out and enjoyed some music and had an awesome time in the Machane Yehudah Marke. A market that in the night turn in to one big bar and hang out place.
Already after not even a full day in Jerusalem i was in love with the amazing atmosphere.
On the first full day, i learned the it’s hot in Israel. Very very hot! Absolutely insanely hot! But at least the weather was predictable, there is generally no rain during the summer half of the year.
I had neither had falafel or hummus before. It was almost the only things i ate during the days, except for shawarmaa, lots of shawarma!
Some more exploration of Jerusalem and the same market as the night before!
Relaxing in the shade on some random backstreet eating olives and reading.
Later that evening i med up with some Autralians and a Irish fella and went out, again it was an amazing time! The nightlife in Jerusalem is really rather good, lots of small bars and the prices are better than Sweden.
The next day it was tome to swim in the Dead Sea, the dead sea is the lowest place on earth that’s not covered by water. And the Dead Sea is slowly disappearing. While wating to leave for the dead sea i relaxed on the hostel roof, a great place to relax and read some.
On my way to the Dead Sea! One thing was very clear, there is no traffic laws in Palestine.
The dead sea is located on the border between Israel/Palestine and Jordan. Jordan is vissible on the other side of the Dead Sea.
Intentionally i did not go out that night, i had other plans. I had planed to visit the Dome of the rock, Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall. All requering me to war long trousers, so i woke up really early to get it over with before the mid day heat!
Dome of the rock is one of Islams most holy places, it’s where Muhammed went to heaven. Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of the most holy places for Christians, it’s where Jesus was crucified, berried and resurrected. Western wall is the most holy place for Jews, it’s where their temple once was. It also happens to be under the Dome of the rock.
The old town of Jerusalem is really easy to navigate, despite the many narrow streets.
Later in the day i was going to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus.
There are lots of tours going to Bethlehem from Jerusalem, but that seemed boring. So of to the buss station i went! Everything in Jerusalem is within walking distance. Well at the bus station it was chaotic! No one spoke good English, i asked a buss driver is his bus where heading for Bethlehem. He answered “Maybe, i don’t know”. I took my chances as the bus line number matched the one i got from the hostel, handed him som coins and took a seat. It was very visibla that the bus was heading in to Palestine, all the women was covered up and the language everyone spoke was Arabic.
I was recommended to take ont of the taxis in Bethlehem and have them drive me around and show me the town and be my guide. I was not disappointed, well in Bethlehem i talked to a driver and agreed on a price. Afterwards i was told it was a little bit more than standard, but i was happy with my experience.
Apperantly it’s tradition to touch the metal plate put up where Jesus was born, so here is me toughing a metal plate…
There’s lots of street art in Bethlehem, even some Banksy ones.
After an hour or two in Bethlehem, getting guided tour i went back to Jerusalem with the bus. Passing through a military checkpoint on my way in to Israel.
The evening was spend chilling, this was my last night in Jerusalem and the following day i had to be up really early to see the sunrise at the Masada.
Geting up at 3:00 in the morning, to go and se the sunrise? Yes! It was absolutely worth it! The Masada has a lot of history, but i was not there for the guided tour. The cable cars where not open so early either. So we took the Snake path up the mountain!
In when we beginning our hike up the temperature was bearable. But as it got closer and closer to sunrise the temperature skyrocketed! I thought i wouldn’t make it all the way up, but i did after some time! And wow it was worth it!
Made a great friend as well.
After reaching the top i thought it would be easy going down, but it was so hot. I didn’t know it could be so hot! The hike down was as exhausting as the one up!
Well down we tried to find some water, it wasn’t the easiest as all the water in the taps was almost boiling hot. You could take the water from the tap in to a coup of tea.
The it was absolutely worth it though!
After the exhausting hike it was time to relax in the Dead Sea, some people never swim in the Dead Sea but i did it twice!
After getting back to Jerusalem it was time for me to leave for Nazareth. It was Sabbath and the hostel shuttle had already left, so i had to find a way to get to Nazareth. The public transport in Israel is very good, and two changes was necessary to get from Jerusalem to Nazareth.
At one change the buss number was wery unclear. Got help from a nice lad, he did not speak a single word English but it worked out fine!
Well in Nazareth i needed to get some food, i had been up since 3:00, so found a place where i fot 3 small burgers with different meat. The owner was very nice and plessant to talk to.
The hostel in Nazareth was Fauzi Azar Inn, a part of the Abraham Hostels chain. It was a very cozy hostel, but not at all as modern as the one in Jerusalem. There is no AC, there is no locks on the doors and really no differens being outside or inside. There was lizzards both inside and outside. But i really took a liking to the place. If you want something more adventurous i really recommend it.
That evening was also music night, was a great atmosphere at the hostel.
My time in Nazareth was amazing, it’s a small town and not really much to do. Just to enjoy the city and to socialize with other travelers from around the world.