Israel.

"There are other places to go." That is one of many unenthused responses I received when I mentioned I was going to Israel. All I could say was "Why not?" Yes there is a heated political climate and it calls us to be more aware. However, I would think any major global city now is calling for more awareness. Have no fear. I went to Israel. I loved it. I would go back again and again.

1. Food. I knew 10 out of 10 times I would love everything I ate in Israel. Middle Eastern food is delicious and if I am reminded of anything similar to what I ate when I was in Turkey I am all over it. There are many Israeli food options they also have beautiful modern restaurants that serve fresh ceviches, tartars, pastas and more. Some highlights: *Israeli inspired Indian food at Taizu *hummus with warm pita at Hummus HaCarmel at Carmel market *shawarma and falafel sandwich at Hakosem *Lamb pide at Onza *White Fish Tartar at Milgo & Milbar *the sesame bread at Santa Katarina...
I could go on and on but I am in despair because I want to go back...to eat.

2. Jerusalem. (First Pic) It was beautiful, emotional, epic and fulfilling to be in Jerusalem. I went to Catholic school, took religion classes and learned so much about Jerusalem but being here was an experience like no other. The Western Wall was magical. Seeing all these religions come together in one place makes you remember the power of belief. I cannot describe in words what it felt like being here. It must be experienced. If only once.

3. Dead Sea. (Last Pic)Oh the good 'ol Dead Sea. Yes you can float. Yes it is fun. But that salt is danger! No life can survive there. There are a few rules you must abide by to swim in the Dead Sea. The first one is you are taking a painful risk if you even walk in with a minor cut. The most important one is to keep your head out of the water so you keep the water out of your eyes. I went in, I floated, I took pictures, I flapped around and my skin became soft. Win.

4. Nightlife. Tel Aviv is a fun city for any type of person that wants to be out. There are some fun cocktail bars and fun people working at those cocktail bars. Whether it is hanging out at the beach restaurants or one of these below, you cannot go wrong.

  • Double Standard: Fun neighborhood cocktail bar, sit outside on couches, nice drinks, great service
  • Imperial Cocktail Company: tiny bar inside the Hotel Imperial, in 2015 it was voted as one of 20 best bars in the World's 50 Best Bar Awards, great drinks, nice service, quiet scene
  • Spicehaus: Fun drinks, quaint atmosphere, Daniel and Alfie were fun bartenders and gave us a lot of insight into other places, great for groups
  • Bellboy: The icing on the cake it seems. This was one of the most fun experiences. The bartenders were crafty and innovative. The staff was full of friendly girls that made it that much more fun to stay longer. The bathroom that was like going to a horror movie. It was dark, strange music with loud voices and flashing lights. They have a fun brunch event that was the talk of the town.

5. People. The place is as good as its people right? The people are light-hearted, modest, quiet and just beautiful. People from all different backgrounds and ethnicities live in Tel Aviv. It is such a central destination for the nationalities of the Middle East. There is a young generation that is spirited, relaxed, optimistic and loves to laugh and have fun. How could I not love that?