As this blog series draws to a close, we thought we’d share our favourite memories from our honeymoon in Israel.
Stations of the Cross (Station V) in Jerusalem
We were lucky enough to receive a tour of Old Jerusalem as a wedding gift. Our tour guide, Hava, guided us through the Stations of the Cross – the path that Jesus walked to his crucifixion (the Via Dolorosa). Just past Station V, you can see the indentation on the wall where Jesus leaned against it. We had to elbow our way through quite a crowd, but we got a (crap quality) amazing photo of our hands in the marking with our wedding rings.
And here we are, folks – the very last installment of the Our Honeymoon in Israel Travel Diary.
Where we last we left off, we had arrived at Ben Gurion airport. After a meal (served with an alarmingly large lemonade) and an aborted game of Travel Scrabble, we boarded our flight to Hong Kong.
Bored in Ben Gurion, an image by us. Isn’t my new husband adorable when he’s sleeping?
After Day 8 (an attempted day-trip to Jerusalem that ended in disaster), we kept our plans for Day 9 simple. We sought to spend the day gawking through the shuks of Tel Aviv – Carmel, Levinsky, and a flea market down near Old Jaffa – picking up some souvenirs and trinkets for our nuptial witnesses back home.
We stopped in at Benedict on our way for one last amazing breakfast. This time, we shared a plate of dried fruit wrapped in bacon and drizzled with hollandaise, and omelet balls in beet and blue-cheese sauce. So good!
Dried fruit wrapped in bacon and drizzled with hollandaise = delicious! Benedict, Tel Aviv
This was the first time we had to wait for a table at Benedict. Our bodies having finally adjusted properly to Israel time, we arrived right on rush hour. Boo! Luckily, given that it was just the two of us, the wait was only a few minutes.
It won’t come as any great surprise, after our adventures on Day 7 (a road trip to Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee), that we were pretty bloody exhausted and in need of a lie-in upon our return to Tel Aviv. We wanted to shore up our reserves for what we were sure was going to be a fantastic afternoon!
(Spoiler alert: things did not go to plan.)
We had planned to make another sojourn out to Jerusalem, on our own steam this time. I’d been looking forward to checking out the world-renowned Holocaust memorial museum (Yad Vashem) ever since we first Googled “things to do in Israel“. We were also hoping to plant a tree at the biblical land plot, located about 20 minutes from the Jerusalem city centre. Museum entry is free, planting a tree is pretty reasonable in terms of cost, so if we could manage navigating public transport to and from each site, we were in for an awesome and fiscally responsible day!
Where we last left off, our wonderful weekend in Ein Gedi was drawing to a close; the morning of Day 7, we polished off a second buffet breakfast, and set off on our big road trip to Sea of Galilee!
Rowan’s favourite selection from the Ein Gedi resort’s buffet breakfast was the super-authentic cinnamon scrolls.
Our route: we planned to head north, circle around Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee, before coming back down to Tel Aviv and returning the car at the airport. We hit the road just before 10AM, and – all going well – we were on schedule to comfortably cram everything in before the hire car return cut-off at 6PM.
We rented our hire car through RentalCars.com – we got a very competitive price on a decent car with very short notice. We highly recommend them!
Day 6, our second day in Ein Gedi, was possibly the most memorable of our entire honeymoon. It was the day we visited the Dead Sea, and undertook our now-infamous sunrise hike at Masada. An alternative title for this post might be: “the time I almost divorced my husband because we nearly died on our honeymoon”.
Setting Out (Very Early)
If you’re not familiar, Masada is an ancient fortification on the top of an isolated rock plateau in the Southern District of Israel. Its name is a rough translation/anglicised version of the word for “fortress” in Hebrew. Our friends at Lonely Planet have an amazing guide to Masada and the Dead Sea available here, if you want to know more.
Rowan miraculously awoke early enough to get us out the door in time long before sunrise. The national park was about 15 minutes’ drive from Ein Gedi. We found it no problem (thank you again, GPS!) even though it was dark and eerily quiet. There were a couple of tour groups milling around the entrance (almost exclusively American), but we seemed to be the only ones heading up solo. We paid our 56 shekels to enter, and made our way in just as it was starting to get light.
I asked Rowan where we were headed. This was the moment that things started to turn. My dear husband pointed at the sheer fucking cliff-face immediately in front of us, and said “Up there!” so nonchalantly that I was sure that he was kidding.
He was not.