One of the best parts of travelling – no question – is the chance to sample local food. To do this experience justice, I’m going to publish a series of posts (my Ultimate Guide to Eating in Israel) to cover all facets of our culinary exploration. This is Part I: where we ate in Israel, a highlights reel.
Ah, Benedict. While it’s perhaps not the rustic local street-vendor fare you’d expect from adventurous travellers, we loved Benedict so much that we ate there no fewer than three times during our stay (read about them here, here, and here).
We discovered Benedict when we awoke, jet-lagged, at 4AM on the morning of Day 2. We flipped through the Time Out Israel magazine, helpfully supplied by the hotel. The article that proved to be our holy book – 33 More Things That Will Definitely Happen When You Move To Israel – referenced a “drunk early bird special at Benedict”. We weren’t drunk (yet), but we were certainly starving early birds. Flipping through the magazine and a quick review on Google Maps led us to the nearest location: Rothschild Blvd 29, Tel Aviv – just up the road from our accommodation.
It probably won’t come as any great shock to those of you who have followed this blog for a while, but… we didn’t do a great job in preparing ourselves for our honeymoon. One thing that we really should have locked in ahead of time is managing money in Israel. There were a lot of tips and tricks that, had we known before we left, would have made the trip much smoother. Here’s everything with which we really should have armed ourselves before we jetted off, put all together in one place, just for you!
Formally, Israel’s currency is the Israeli New Shekel, but pretty much everyone calls it by its former name: the New Israeli Shekel. This gets abbreviated to “NIS” a lot. Technically, the NIS breaks down into “aragot” (100 aragot to the NIS, so it’s the exact equivalent of cents in the dollar), but we didn’t see prices in aragot all that often. Most prices are rounded off.
When you choose an unusual destination for your honeymoon, you accept the risk of encountering everything from a mild case of the hiccups to outright life-or-death disasters, without much guidance. Them’s the breaks. Still, we’re philanthropic sorts, so we put together the type of list that we wish we’d had before taking our honeymoon in Israel. Here’s everything* first-time travellers need to know about the Holy Land:
(1) There are no pharmacies.
OK, perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration – there are pharmacies, but they are needles in the proverbial haystack. If you don’t pack an adequate stash of toiletries, you will likely end up trading all of your shekels and your first born for a deodorant stick at the “am:pm” (which is kind of like the bastard child of Woolworths and 711). Be sure to take everything you need with you (and, ladies, this goes triple for sanitary items – you have zero chance of finding your preferred brand of tampons).
Without a doubt, this is the most frequent question that we get asked. Why Israel?
Well, we knew right from the outset that we weren’t going to have a traditional ceremony with a church and a dress and all that malarkey. Similarly, from that very first “should we take a honeymoon?” conversation, we knew that we didn’t want to go to Fiji or Hawaii or any other typical warm, sunny beach. To borrow a cliche (as we are clearly loathe to do), it just didn’t feel like “us”.
Other couples we knew had done those honeymoons at resorts with cocktails and leisurely beach-side strolls, and they’d all had a wonderful time… but we just couldn’t mentally insert ourselves into those beach resort selfies.