Do you have a bucket list? I do, and it consists of a lot of traveling around the world. Israel, one of the most historic countries and regions that shares within its boundaries three of the world’s major religions was never really on my bucket list. However, after getting the incredible opportunity to travel there to visit my brother, I highly recommend it as one of the top places to put on your list to visit during your lifetime.
Israel has something to offer for everyone, whether you are a history buff, or seeking religious enlightenment, or if you are an international foodie. It is a mixture of old world traditions and architecture meets the modern era. Tel Aviv, the capital, is right by the sea, with great scenic views, great food, and a beautiful sea port. Israelis are really into natural foods, and the organic juices made of beets and spinach and all kinds of nutritious fruits and vegetables were my favorite! Absolutely a must try for the health nut in you. And do not even get me started on the hummus, how do you say “yummy” in Hebrew again?
Jerusalem is one of the holiest places for Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. The history behind this beautiful city is breathtaking, interesting and sometimes sad. Despite the intermingling of different cultures, one can feel the tension among the different religions as they share common space but not common doctrines.
As a Christian, I could not visit this historic land and not see the places that are symbolic to my faith, including the very birthplace of our messiah, and the very reason for my own name, “Belen.” Better known as Bethlehem in English of course. Other “must sees” are the Dead Sea with its peculiar salt and mineral qualities, Caesaria, an ancient Roman city built by Herod the Great in honor of Caesar Augustus, and another of Herod’s incredible constructions, the great city complex in the desert mountains, Masada.
It was a trip of a lifetime full of wonderful memories, family bonding, history, and religious connection. One I will never forget, and one that I recommend to add to your bucket list.