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).
Alright, folks: Night 2 is where our honeymoon adventure in Tel Aviv really kicked off, so the next couple Travel Diary entries will be monsters. Grab yourselves a glass of wine, and strap in!
Last we left off on our second evening, we were headed back out into Tel Aviv after a bit of a nap. We retraced our steps to find a couple more second-hand bookstores we’d passed earlier in the day. The first two were a bit of a bust (one stocked only books written in Russian, for instance), so we stopped at a bar – Port Said – to fortify ourselves with a drink and a snack. This was our first opportunity to try our luck with a couple of local beverages: an Almond Arak and a Spritz Said. (Now, Arak is a whole other thing, one with which you should definitely be familiar before venturing into Israel – see my guide to drinking in the Holy Land here.)
After all that, we made it. We landed safe and sound in Tel Aviv, just two more among the 17 million plus international passengers that have passed through Ben Gurion Airport.
The second flight was looooong, and particularly dull: check out our “amazing” window seat view!
I’m sure the view of the Mediterranean underneath this wing is stunning. Hmph.
… and yet, it was still one of the best flights of my life. Why? Because the airline finally got my gluten-free meals sorted!
After months of planning, and a detour via Brisbane for a family BBQ post-ceremony, we were finally there: embarking on our honeymoon! We were in for a heck of an outbound journey, two flights and one stopover flying Australia to Israel.
Flight CX156 was due to depart Brisbane Airport at 12:55AM; the journey up to Queensland before departing was worth it in that regard alone (as the Sydney Airport Curfew Act restricts any departures/landings after 11:00PM, effectively canning your night-flight options). My parents very thoughtfully dropped us at the international terminal around 10:00PM, and away we went.
We strode in: determined, strong, prepared. We knew that this was probably our best shot at attaining that ever-elusive dream of the Honeymooner Perk. It was late at night, after all. We looked tired, and happy. Our rings were only marginally more sparkly than our smiles. Who could resist our charm?
Believe it or not, selecting an unusual honeymoon destination ain’t all beer and skittles. People will ask you questions, they will have opinions, and it’s left entirely up to you and your spouse-to-be to shut that shit down and stay true to your vision.
Maybe you’re considering Israel as a location for your own honeymoon. Maybe you’re on the fence about some other unusual adventure. Maybe you’re our family and friends and you’re just here to figure out why the fuck we made such a ridiculous choice. Whatever your bent, we present to you: the pros and cons of nominating an unusual destination for your honeymoon.
(FYI, we heretofore and hereafter consider an “unusual” destination to be any other than: Hawaii, Jamaica, Mexico, Tahiti, France, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Greece, Puerto Rico, Belize, Spain, and anywhere else frequented by a Kardashian.)
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.