Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Beginning of an Unforgettable Trip

So take everything you have ever thought about Israel and throw it out the window. This place is hard to describe and explain, yet it continues to surprise and enlighten me every single day. Tel Aviv is young and vibrant where the atmosphere parallels that of any other Mediterranean city and styles are similar to those you'd find on a NYC sidewalk. The food was delicious, the beach was beautiful and filled with equally as beautiful people, and for a minute you could almost completely forget that this country has gone through any kind of hardship. To say that this is not what I expected would be an understatement and it definitely made me realize that Tel Aviv is something to experience, not just read or hear about. In general, I would say that the group definitely experienced Tel Aviv and each day was filled with a new adventure! We explored Jaffa, a quaint and old city filled with cobblestones and little shops; walked around Carmel Market where I bought a hamsa keychain which is meant to bless and provide protection; ate some of the most delicious frozen yogurt, chocolate soufflé, falafel, hummus, and shawarma ever; and soaked up some of the Mediterranean sunshine.

Old port in Jaffa

Everyone enjoying this beautiful weather at Carmel Market
Pretty sure this is heaven.
I really enjoyed Tel Aviv and am glad that we started our trip in this city, but I'm ready to explore the rest of Israel! This morning we made the short hike to our apartment-style dorms at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The guys and girls are split into their own apartments and each person has their own room. To top it off, this is the view from my window: 

Yes, that's the Dome of the Rock in the background.

Our first day in Jerusalem was filled with a tour of Hebrew University (which is hands down the most gorgeous campus I have ever seen), a hectic yet exciting grocery store run, and dinner up the street from our dorms. Everything is relatively close to our accommodations and easy to navigate. So far Jerusalem is not what I expected that it would be, either. I have heard so many people speaking perfect English to one another, with no accents. From my experience thus far it seems like people speak better English here than they even did in Tel Aviv. I am excited to explore this ancient and complex city over the next two weeks. I have a feeling that I am going to have my eyes widened quite a bit. I won't deny that it was sobering to see some of the settlements and part of the wall separating the West Bank today. This will undoubtedly be a learning experience for us.

Tomorrow we are going to be attending the lecture of Dr. Simon Perry, a professor in the Graduate School at Hebrew University's Institute of Criminology in Jerusalem and Co-Director of the Program in Policing and Homeland Security. Following this we will be visiting the Dead Sea, which I am extremely excited about! One of the best parts of this trip so far has been the group of people on it, each adding a unique interest, experience, specialty, and personality. Needless to say, this opportunity is unlike anything I have ever experienced before and I can't wait for all that is to come in the next two weeks! 
Cats are everywhere!
View from campus of  the wall separating Israel and Palestine.
The group!

No comments:

Post a Comment