Last year in October me and my mum went to Israel for a week. Our mission was to visit my brother, who was staying there as a volunteer at a kibbutz.
It is a beautiful country, and I became totally mesmerised by the diverse culture and history. Even though I didn't believe it would happen, I think a piece of my heart was left there. I've been thinking about the trip a lot during this year. I will most definitely go there again.
Most people go there on group trips, but I would recommend travelling by yourself. That way you'll discover the real country and culture. People there seem so open, so if you're travelling with public transportations and have time to walk around you'll have a lot of interesting encounters.
Enough about that. I won't give you a massive chunk of information, but rather my tips for when you go there. And a lot of beautiful pictures. Enjoy!
There are a lot of beautiful and historic places to see in Jerusalem. Maybe too many to actually be able to handle on a short visit. Even though you'll want to see them all, take some time to just wander around the old town, and new town as well. Sit down in a park and enjoy the moment.
A place I would highly recommend to visit is Yad Vashem. It is a museum dedicated to the holocaust. It's located a bit outside of central Jerusalem, but you'll easily find your way there. I could easily have spent an entire day there. It is huge, so if you go, make sure you have enough time to walk around. And don't worry about entrance fees, it's completely free to enter.
Israel is a land filled with good food. You better be ready to eat a lot of kosher. One must-eat is definitely falafel! It will never get better! And as a little dessert (or huge dessert) find your way to the Arabic part of Old Town in Jerusalem for this unforgettable experience. Knafeh, or knafeh with cheese, which is some sort of pastry. I can guarantee you'll never experience anything like it. But since it's made of cheese, you don't need too much to fill you up. The tree of us shared this piece, and it was more than enough.
If you want to eat non-kosher pizza while you're in Jerusalem, find your way to Jacob's Pizza (close to Jaffa Gate). I've heard it's the only place in Jerusalem that serves non-kosher pizza.
EIN GEDI NATURAL RESERVE
We went for a walk in Ein Gedi nature reserve, one among many nature reserves and national parks. It's a beautiful place where you can hike up on the mountains and get a great view of the Dead Sea. And a lot of small ponds where you can take a relaxing bath after walking. Prepare yourselves for heat, and bring a lot of water.
THE DEAD SEA
Going for a swim in the Dead Sea, as you probably all have heard, isn't something you should do it if you have any open wounds. Just don't do it. Try to avoid getting water in your eyes and mouth. It hurts. And doesn't taste too good either.
A good idea is to wear flip-flops or other sandals when going into the water. It can help prevent injuries. The rocks on the bottom of the sea are all really sharp, so you'll most likely get some wounds if you don't wear them, I did at least.
Once you get up and dry in the sun, don't be alarmed, but you'll have a coat of salt cover your entire body. I used that as a body scrub, worked rather well I think!
When I think back on this trip my heart is filled with joy. It felt like a privilege to be able to walk where all that biblical history took place. Quite the experience.
If you have been to Israel, what did you think? Or do you want to go?
It´s that time of the year again. The time to watch the world come back to life.
That is what I love about living here in the north, you get amazed every spring. Amazed by the wonder of life.
Finally it is time for me to write something, I have had trouble to figure out what to write about. But now I've got a story from this weekends adventure. Enjoy!
The day was here, me and two of my friends had planned to take the weekend off and go for an expedition to an island a few kilometers offshore.
Straight after work on friday, we packed our stuff in the car and drove about hundred kilometers to the place where we would start our small expedition. The weather was okay, a bit overcast with the sun shining trough the clouds. We were a bit late, so we wouldn't have many hours of light left, but we were optimistic and went out anyway.
Picture taken by @benjaminstreng
My paddling skills aren't maybe the best, because I have been out in a kayak only three times before. But the only way to get better is to get out there, into the wild and cold waters.
At first the sea was calm and easy to paddle through, but that's because we were in a bay that was protected with reefs as a natural breakwater. After the first hundred meters of unsteady paddling, I was finally getting used to my kayak and it started to feel good.
Pictures taken by @benjaminstreng
When we got closer to the reefs we started to hear the sound of waves breaking over the rocks. But we didn't let that scare us and continued to paddle. Quite soon we did pass the protecting reefs and started to feel the waves. We hadn't come far before we got pushed into a bunch of rocks and stones, stuck there we realized that we had to carry our kayaks over the reef "island" to continue our trip. After a bit of struggling we got all three kayaks over and continued our expedition.
The waves started to get annoying, they came obliquely from behind and I had lost my rudder and did not have anything to support my feet, so it was quite unsteady. However, we proceeded even though it was a bit tough.
Picture taken by @benjaminsteng
Suddenly a wave came up from behind and suprised me, a second later I was upside down hanging, stuck in the spraydeck. Everything went so fast so I didn't have the time to fill my lungs with air. I never had the chance to learn how to do an eskimo roll so I dropped my paddle and started to try to loose the spraydeck that I was stuck in. That did not work so well, I couldn't see anything because it was dark and I could not find the rope that was attached to the spraydeck. Well, I did not have time to stay under just to find some rope to pull so that I could get free, insteed I used my arms and body and tryed to swing/ drag myself up. It almost worked, half way up I managed to bend and push myself out of the kayak. I came up to the surface gasping for air and clung myself onto the kayak. It was freezing cold, and the nearest island was about seventy meters away. Benjamin came paddling trough the waves to help me, while Jonatan went to see were we could take ashore.
Benjamin had a rope that he tied to my kayak so he could drag me, because I could not get up on the kayak myself, and it was also filled with water. So there I was floating after my kayak while Benjamin paddled like never before.. Closer to land the waves got bigger and it started to be difficult for my friend to not roll over like me, so we had to loose the rope. Unfortunately the knot was to tight so he couldn't loosen it. Luckily I had my spring assisted knife in my pocket, I swam there and cut the rope. It felt like it was from a movie or something.
Meanwhile Jonatan had found a protected spot betwen som rocks were we could take ashore.
The island that we were on wasn't the one we had planned to go to, but because of the circumstances we did not care about that. Now the the main thing to do was to get a fire going and change the clothes to something dry.
When the heat from the fire drove away the coldness my mood came back, it actually was quite nice. A crackling fire and the smell from some meat that was getting ready in the ember, so peaceful, it was perfect. To be out in the wild with friends, talking about life and stuff, hearing the sounds of the night, the waves and the fire, thats something we should do more often.
In the morning after a long night sleep in a two person tent with two other guys it felt good to go out and stretch my legs. We ate a steady breakfast with sausage and bread and a cup of coffee. After that we just enjoyed the nature and the freedom. We explored the island, that actually was very beautiful, had a lot of smooth cliffs and pine trees. Interesting how you can do just nothing for hours when you are out in the nature, sitting in front of a fire or something and not feel any restlessness and stress, that would not work at home were there are stuff to do all the time..
The day went on and it was time to take our kayaks and paddle back, this time an other route. The way back went much smoother, and soon we were back on mainland. It had been a wonderful trip, even thou it didn't go as planned. Much thanks to my friends Benjamin and Jonatan for the company and the help when needed! We'll do it again :)
This past weekend was one of our favourite weekends, the annual Juthbacka Market in A´s hometown. It's a two day long market, like a gigantic flea market. About 800 vendors selling everything from dinnerware and old toys to motorcycles and homemade crafts. I heard that this year about 40.000 visited the market, even though the weather was cold with occational rain.
We visited both friday and saturday since we'd been looking forward to it all summer. And there is no way to find all you need in one day, if that's what you want. My tip is to come well rested and with a filled stomach. Look closely and feel, otherwise you will end up not buying anything.
This year we didn't have anything we were searching for, but as always we found a bunch of things we didn't know we needed. Since it's so big I think the best way to be pleased with your purchases is to just buy it if it's a price you're willing to pay, and then to not look and see if you could get it cheaper. Because there is always someone selling the same kind of thing both cheaper and way more expensive.
I'm really pleased with our purchases. Here are a few of our bargains, mostly kitchen supplies this time. I also found a good cast iron frying pan, which I've been searching for previous years. It's such a joy to find things you need at a good price. The coffee grounder from the 30's, that many would just have as an interior detail, we are going to use because it still was in good condition.
If you're a fan of flea markets this is definitely the one to visit! Since me and A became a couple I've visited the Juthbacka Market every year. Maybe one day we'll be among the vendors, selling things we no longer need.