Vacationing in the Middle East
Last month, I traveled to Israel and Jordan with my boyfriend Avi and IT WAS INCREDIBLE!!
The desert has always been my ultimate happy place, and after visiting Joshua Tree together back in August, we were both on a bit of a desert streak and decided to take our next adventure to the Middle East. We packed our bags for 10 days, which felt like the perfect amount of time for everything we wanted to do and see.
The culture was inspiring. The food was incredible. The people were kind and welcoming. The bar scene was super fun and hip. The shopping & thrifting totally delivered.
All in all, the adventures we had there together, were priceless.
Here are a few of my favorite highlights:
Tel Aviv is for the night owls. Perfect for Avi and I. The streets are filled with hip restaurants, bars and clubs. Not to mention - THE BEACH! We danced, we drank, we ate, we smiled until our cheeks hurt, and then we took a nap on the beach. Not too shabby!
Favorite Restaurants + Bars in Tel Aviv
Abu hassan - This place is known for having the best hummus in Tel Aviv. After a whole lot of taste testing, I can agree!
Old Man and the Sea - A classic Israeli Shipudei (kabob) restaurant located on Jaffa Port. Shipudei means that when you sit down, you will be immediately served 22 salatim (salads). Thats right…. 22. Good luck saving room for your meal!
Cafe puaa - My favorite restaurant from the entire trip. The food is seriously SO good, we went back a second time! Located on an adorable street in Jaffa!
Carmel market - A great way to sample the local food. Don't forget to grab a freshly squeezed pomegranate juice! SO YUMMY.
Manta Ray - Best seafood I've EVER had, and I live in Boston, y’all! A bit pricey, but WORTH IT. If you’re lucky, you'll get a seat on the balcony overlooking the Mediterranean!
Jaffa flea market - Lots of jewelry, rugs and a fair share of random trinkets.
Vitrina lili - This place is known for having the best burger in Israel. You’re probably thinking - who goes to Israel and orders a burger? Well, what can I say… I’m American.
We set out from Jerusalem to Masada at 2:30am. Yuuuuup… We hiked up Masada in the dark and from the top, sat beside the fortress walls to watch the sunrise. Soaking in breathtaking views of the Dead Sea and Jordan.
The Dead Sea
Ahh, what a funky experience! We didn't rent a car for this trip. It wasn't really necessary for us! But to get to the Dead Sea - you need a ride. Our driver gave us 1 hour at the Dead Sea and initially we were worried that wasn’t enough time, but once we rubbed the mud on our bodies, began floating and the salt started to suck up every ounce of moisture in our bodies…. 1 hour turned out to be PLENTY of time. Ha!
Jordan // Petra
Jordan still feels like a dream. We took a day trip to Petra through a tour company called Tourist Israel. If visa paperwork and boarder crossing stresses you out - I would recommend booking through them. They handle everything for you. Petra itself is one of those places thats so unique and breathtaking, its really hard to wrap your head around it - I left questioning everything - did that really just happen?! Yes. Yes it did. Camels, ancient cities, rolling dunes, gypsies. What a dream!
We were in Jerusalem at a very interesting time. Just 3 days after President Trump declared it as the Capital of Israel. Yes, we were a bit on edge setting out for Jerusalem. The reality is - Western media is really good at pumping fear into our brains. Of course, there are terrible scary things happening in the world - but its important to remember that what we hear about a place isn’t always true. I felt nothing but pure love and open arms for the entirety of this trip. Especially in Jerusalem. Im so happy I didn’t let fear stand in my way, and I can only hope the same for you.
We hired a private tour guide for our first day in Jerusalem. His name is Dvir. He was awesome - he toured us through ALL of the old city. The Muslim, Jewish, Arminian, and Christian quarters. I was so happy to have Dvir by our side that day - I never had to worry about navigation, and was able to give all of my attention to the tension rich, ancient city.
Favorite Restaurants + Bars in Jerusalem
Talbiye - Random french restaurant we stumbled upon for dinner one night. Home of some damn-good cocktails.
Abu Shukrin - Best hummus in the entire world. I kid you not. Do yourself a favor and GO! Located in the Old City - Muslim Quarter.
Maharanee yehuda market - Our favorite market in Israel. Top quality everything. We caught it right before Shabbat started. What an experience to see the city so lively and then totally quiet down. Its beautiful.
Israel + Jordan. You have my heart.
I can't wait for the day we meet again.