I think everyone who knows me, knows I’m slightly obsessed with Israel. Ever since I did my internship in Palestine, October 2016, I fell in love with both of the two countries. I even came back the year after to volunteer for 3 months at Abraham’s Hostel in Tel Aviv. Earlier this year I was lucky to travel to Tel Aviv again as a little “pit stop” before ending my Asia trip and moving back home to Sweden. And in about a month, I will be back there again for one week. Why am I always returning though and what is it that makes this country so special to me? Well, there are plenty of things that I can’t describe with words, but I’ll try to include some of my favourite things about Israel. As for beloved Palestine… That’s for another blogpost.
The Israeli Cuisine
Okey, I feel like food is always on the top of my lists. But everyone who’s been to Israel can’t deny that food here is GOOOOOOD. It still surprises me everyday that I didn’t gain weight during my volunteer time since I ate everything I could get my hands on, snacked on bamba (an Israeli snack) all the time, drank some beers… or two… or ten. Tel Aviv is regarded as the “vegan capital of the world” as well. Not that my poor ass would’ve noticed, I rarely ate out.
I really can’t write a blogpost about why I’m obsessed with Israel and NOT mention all the hotties that blessed my eyes there. The first time I met an Israeli guy was when I was an Au Pair in the North Carolina and saw the hottest guy I’d ever seen during my one year there. Of course he was Israeli and HOT. But never in my life did I imagine that there were SO many hotties in the country. I was surrounded by good looking men and I was NOT complaining. The only other place this has happened to me is actually in Sweden, or more specifically, SOUTH of Sweden (hah!!!!).
For being such a small country, Israel sure has a lot to offer. One of my favourite places is Mitzpe Ramon in the south, where you can see the Ramon Crater and hike in the desert. You also have the Mediterranean Sea here, which stretches about 187 km from north to south, the famous Dead Sea, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, valleys, and much more.
My favourite city in Israel and probably everyone else’s too, Tel Aviv is the little liberal bubble that we all love because it’s quirky, beautiful and SO. MUCH. FUN. There’s always something going on here, whether it’s concerts, parties, art exhibitions, wine tastings, you’ll always find yourself busy here. But the best part about Tel Aviv is… THE BEACH.
Israelis sure knows how to party when they’re traveling (almost too hard) so it’s a given that they also know how to do it at home. I found the bars I visited to be really unique, music can be quite intense at times, but you can always count on a crazy fun atmosphere.
Who doesn’t love the sun? Israel rarely gets minus degrees, or EVER actually, and if you like long and warm summers where you can go to the beach everyday, this is the place to be. The winters here are also mild, not at all as harsh as the 6 months of looooong winters we get in Sweden, which is perfect for me.
The Culture and Traditions
I love me some Shabbat dinners, donuts for Hanukkah and literally any excuse to eat more food. I was lucky to have Israeli friends who invited me to their home to celebrate this and that. It gave me a chance to integrate more into their culture. It really did feel a bit like home.
It’s Always ‘Balagan’ Here
Balagan means “chaos” basically, but not in a bad way necessarily. Everything in Israel IS quite balagan to be honest. I love going to the shuk – market – and haggle down prices for the dried fruits and nuts while shouting at each other, I like that Israelis are so loud because it reminds me of Vietnam and my roots, and I love how everything’s always slightly crazy here, because it means that it’s never boring. I’m well aware of the conflict and everything that’s going on in Palestine, but it’s not THAT kind of crazy I’m referring to here.
Definitely one of the main reasons why I keep going back. It’s always the people that makes a place special and I think a part of me will always wish I was with my friends in Israel.