It happened hat when I went to Israel I thought I was going to die. Well, maybe I exaggerated a little bit, the ones that know me know already that I’m a friend of drama. But yes, I said goodbye to all my loved ones before going. But after reading the recommendations of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, it is understandable. What is more, its advise is not even traveling there. Just a couple of months before Sir Trump declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel and things were quite busy there.
I did this trip by chance. I’ve never thought about going, neither I had any interest, because of political and ethical matters. In fact, as of today I keep on having contradictory feelings towards that. Added to the fact that I’m atheist, and to me religion is a backwardness in general, it wasn’t an imperative destination for me. But as I even go the baptism of a doll and I had some days off, there we went.
ENTRANCE AND EXIT OF THE COUNTRY
Something to take into account for this trip is that security measures in the entrance and exit are quite serious.
In the entrance you will have to wait a long queue to pass the security control. Once you haven’t seem to them suspect, they give you an entrance card instead of sealing your passport. That is because there are countries in which it is complicated to enter if they see that you have been to Israel.
In the exit they interrogate you again, even more insistently than in the entrance. They open every suitcase to inspect it. Be careful with placing the underwear on top, all the people after you will see it. It is important that you arrive with time enough, as you can easily spend one or two hours in these controls.
We arrived to Ben Gurion international airport, located 15 minutes away from Tel-Aviv, although our first destination was Jerusalem. We took a sherut (shared taxi) to Jerusalem. They leave as they are full. The journey took about 40 minutes and it was about 60 ILS (about 15€).
The local currency are sheckels (ILS). In the exchange offices next to our origin we couldn’t do the exchange, so we had to change once in the airport, and then changing as we needed. Take care with coming back with money, as the exchange offices don’t accept old bills.
The “Old City” part of Jerusalem is where most of the places of interest are concentrated, so you will have to read the next post to know it. For the moment I’ll give you some recommendations and pieces of advise about Israel: places, activities, accommodation and general recommendations about the trip.
- First of all, neither Jerusalem nor Tel-Aviv are dangerous cities. We didn’t feel insecure at any moment. We had the same worries as in any other country, so a little bit of common sense, and without problems. As a funny fact, when we arrived to the accommodation in Jerusalem and asked if it was safe going out to have dinner, the receptionist looked at us puzzled and said: “But what do they tell you on TV?”.
- In Jerusalem we stayed in Abraham Hostel, probably the most famous and biggest hostel of the city. Breakfast was really nice (bread, fruit, tea, coffee…), and the dining room was quite big. There were also activities and a bar. In Tel-Aviv we chose an Airbnb, but then we knew that there was another Abraham Hostel there, even cooler and bigger than the one in Jerusalem.
- Of course we did the free tour in Jerusalem. We repeated with Sandemans, in this case it was not in Spanish, so we did it in English. Two hours to know the city is not much, but we discovered really nice places and interesting facts.
- Mahane Yehuda Market. It is out of the old city, and you can’t miss it. It is a market where apart from textile and food stores, there are a wide range of food stands.
- Trip to see the sunrise in the desert. We paid for that trip in which we would also have visited the Dead Sea and the nature reserve Ein Gedi. But how many days do you think that rains in that area? I don’t know it exactly, but taking into account that it is desert, I would say that very few. Well, the day before the trip it rained a lot and we couldn’t get there because the road was closed. We had our money back, but we were left with the desire of going tho the desert.
- You have to take into account the Shabat when organising your trip. It starts with the sunset on Friday until the sunset on Saturday. The shops are closed, as well as many touristic places and restaurants. There is no public transport, although there are taxis.
And that was a short introduction to our trip to Israel. But the best is yet to come!
*The title of the post is because the three of us were near Belem on January 6, 2018.