Every since I was a little,  I believed Israel to be a desolate land of desert and camels, it wasn’t until I first traveled there that I discovered it is filled with history, diverse culture, and breathtaking views.

I went with my twin sister after graduating college.  I recommend a trip to Israel for anyone who has the opportunity to go, it is a life-changing experience.

The flight was about 15 hours from New York, we landed at Ben Gurion airport, loaded up on a bus and headed to the north of Israel. The drive was very exciting, 30 strangers all eager to get to know one another and our tour guide Sagi who was very passionate in his descriptions of the landmarks as we passed by.  Our first destination was Tzfat in the region of Galilee, Israel’s highest city overlooking the Galilee mountains. Visiting this holy city we were able to walk through preserved alleyways of sandstone buildings and ancient synagogues.

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Sagi showed us ancient Torah scrolls found in some of the oldest synagogues, and books that were too fragile to touch. Walking through the cobblestone paths, we witnessed the Artist Quarter, filled with creatives decorating canvas, glass, windows, and even jewelry to be sold at markets in Tzfat.

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During our day trips we would stop and eat at small cafes.  Falafel pockets with hummus, fresh fruit and vegetables, shakshuka, the food was delicious.

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We traveled to a concrete bunker viewing the open land of Golan just before reaching Syria. Sagi explained to our group that Israeli’s are required to serve in the defense force for a number of years. It is unbelievable to see how close Israel is to its neighboring countries, and that the conflict is so close to its people, that the Golan Heights is a buffer zone between countries.

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Next stop: Jerusalem and The Negev.

Written by Aimee C