5 Surprises Waiting for You in Israel

Shalom from a Bedoan camp in the Negev desert. (That's in Southern Israel in case your Middle Eastern geography is a bit rusty.) I'm currently sitting in my pajamas with a can of pringles beside me, my laptop on freshly tanned legs and a fresh coat of red nailpolish on my toes. I've been away from my kids for longer than I prefer to remember, but with two nights remaining on our trip, I'm doing my best to spend my time enjoying such mundane luxuries.

While there will be a few dedicated posts coming from our trip - favorite places! hotel reviews!- I wanted to share one quick look at our trip while it's still fresh.  Since this country is all so new to me, I wanted to write down what my first impressions are from our trip to Israel.

Overall, I have to say: I've fallen in love with Israel! There's something about it that is intoxicating, and at the same time- confrontational. The Israeli people frankly speak their mind, yet they live with huge dreams of their country. And, let's not fail to mention, the food is crazy good.





In my mind, Israel seemed like it would be a beige abyss. However, I can't express how vibrant this country is. While I could moan on about market stalls heaving with enormous produce, the crystal clear waters of Galilea and the electric sunsets- I figure it's just easier to let a few pictures do the talking for me.



To be honest, the coffee here is awful. As one friend said: "The Italians love their espresso, and they call what we drink depresso." Fair enough. No pictures taken for this, as each cup was sadly undeserving of being remembered.



I won't talk too much on this, as I have high potential to easily veer in the direction of "ignorant," but we have had the oppprtunity to eat in the homes of locals here that have given us such a neat look at how so many different religions live together in such a small space. Each door opens a new story here, and yet each sect, each religion, each person is learning how to live together in a way that provides a safe home for their family.



The ritual of Shabbat doesn't just reach the Jewish population. It shuts down the entire country. Even the breakfast in your hotel runs on bare bones, which will be served by a handful of Arabic employees: day old bread, instant coffee, powdered juices.

Yet while there are the weekly inconveniences that may arise to the non-Jewish population, there are also some really nice perks associated to slowing down and shutting off. We got to spend the evening with Noam and Ariel at their home and they shared their Shabbat dinner with us. Salads, chicken soup, fresh salmon, fresh challah, chocolate cake. We ate until we were stuffed, laughed our faces off and talked honestly about what life is like here in Jerusalem as a young Jewish family.



The food! Think piles and piles of fresh produce. Literally, enormous bowls of countless salads available at every meal. And if you're gluten free, vegetarian or dairy free- this is your place! Meats and vegetables skipping out on dairy (because of kosher laws) make the options not only so tasty, but really easy for all types. And most importantly, unending piles of watermelon at every turn.




More coming from our trip soon. I'd love to hear your questions from any of the places we have experienced our trip. I'd love to answer them for you!



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy