Living in Australia means that when you go overseas, it really means traveling far away from home. My son has been taking a gap year in Israel, living on a kibbutz and doing charity work teaching underprivileged kids. My husband and I decided to visit him and were absolutely amazed by what this tiny country has achieved in the short years of its existence.
First of all, what struck us was the vibrancy and energy of the people and cities. The place totally buzzes all day and night. People are out and places are open to all hours so there is always somewhere to go and something to do.
The whole country is steeped in ancient history.
Roaming the old city of Jerusalem was like finding yourself in a maze.
It was fascinating and exciting to weave our way through the tiny stone paved streets.
Free tours are the go, taking you to all the different quarters of the old city in Jerusalem.
Of course there were wonderful mosaics and tiled floors to be inspired by.
These three coming from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Wonderful doorways in the artist's quarters,
Ancient suburbs in Tel Aviv, that are being restored and brought to life with designer boutiques and lively restaurants.
Arab spice shops in Akko, a town steeped in history and filled with ancient ruins.
Fresh food markets to die for!
And a rather thriving street art culture where grafitti is rather appreciated.
Cats prowl everywhere.
Apparently they were brought in to get rid of all the mice.
Although the cats are ferral they are incredibly gentle and everyone seems to take care of them and appreciate their being all over the place. Not a mouse was to be seen.
When I mentioned that our cats have to be locked up in our homes at night they were horrified and wanted to know what we did with all our rats!
Most of the country gets to enjoy a glorious sunset every night.
Any yes, I did buy some jewelry by Ayala Bar although not this particular piece.
My husband was very, very patient.