It was February 2002, our first of four (so far) Israel vacations. We arrived not having any idea of what to expect. I thought the whole country was comprised of just rocks, desert and palm trees.
And guess what we found? Rocks, desert and palm trees! Yes!
But also fig trees and olive trees by the thousands; date palms and vineyards and all kinds of fruit; bougainvillea plants that grew as high as the sky and vast woodland forests. Wildflowers adorned in the full spectrum of the rainbow. Herbs like rosemary, lavender, oregano. And ancient buildings made of golden stone.
We also fell in love on our first Israel vacation. But, not at first. When one visits such an ancient place it takes a while for it all to sink in - unlike floating in the Dead Sea, where one doesn't sink.
Archeology is everywhere in Israel. We gazed upon ancient mosaics from King Herod's day at the archeological diggings at Masada, squeezed through Hezekiah's Tunnel.
We gathered 2500 year old pottery shards at Shiloh.
We shopped amongst the ancient stones for treasures made of Roman glass. Gobbled up hummus and falafels and shwarmas.
If we had ever wondered what there was to see in Israel, well, our wonderings were answered.
By the time we headed home, we were plotting and planning our next Israel vacation. We finally made it back in 2008, again in 2015 and yet again in 2016. It seems we just want more.
We've experienced a few places most tourists never go on their Israel vacations, like Machpelah at Hebron. We were privileged to tour the Druze Military Academy at Dalyat al Karmel. We've stayed in guest houses, hostels and fancy hotels. We even planted baby olive trees on a farm in the Negev. We stood on mountain tops and looked out across the dry landscape of Mt. Ebal, then sat in a winery on neighboring Mt. Gerizim and sipped chilled red wine at Har Bracha Winery. We stood on Mt. Karmel, the wind whipping all around and looked out over the lush green Jeezrel Valley.
We've trekked around Jerusalem on foot and on buses; hired a sherut and hailed taxis to take us to Samaria.
Israel is a tiny country but vast in so many ways. From the deserts of the Negev to lush vineyards in the Judean Hills. From the saturated air in the depths of the earth 1407' below sea level at the Dead Sea, to the coolness of the Mt. Hermon Ski Resort on the southern slopes of Mt. Hermon, 7336' above sea level. All this in a country just a little larger than New Jersey, USA. The contrasts are indescribable. But we're gonna try!
The food in Israel is some of the best we've ever had. Locally grown vegetables scented with locally grown herbs and spiced up with flavors as ancient as the land itself. Enjoy a falafel on Ben Yehuda St., or a shwarma in the Old City. On our last Israel vacation we savored a special entree at Rimon Restaurant & Cafe, a trendy restaurant overlooking the city lights of Jerusalem.
Israel feels like home to us, we have a heart for the people and the country of Israel, so we started this website to share how it feels to be there, where our favorite places are, and to offer valuable information to you from our personal experience so you can easily and often plan your Israel vacations.
We hope you'll join us on our journeys and check back often.
If you want more ideas about Israel vacations, or just want to read about Candi's Israel impressions, visit her personal website HB Tweedle.
And please feel free to send us your questions or comments.