Traveling to the Holy Land

The Dead Sea, Israel

The Dead Sea, Israel

So you have finally decided to fulfill a promise you made yourself and booked a trip to Israel, the Holy Land. The security situation weighed on your mind but then you came to the realization that the press always exaggerates the facts on the ground. That, coupled with your strong belief in fate, was the decisive moment which had you visit your travel agent and book the adventure of a lifetime.

And in that respect you are most certainly correct – the Holy Land is one huge adventure. In a country shaped by millennia of conflict and history, the home of three major religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; Israel has something to offer everyone.

Although Israel is a tiny country – smaller than New Jersey, with a population of less than 8 million; that population is very diverse not just religiously but also according to where they originally emanated. Consequently, the citizens of Israel are culturally very diverse. Walk the streets of any city in Israel and you will hear not only Hebrew and Arabic being spoken but also English, Russian, French, Farsi, Moroccan, Amharic, Spanish – suffice to say, anything goes. And with every ethnic group bringing its own food and spices to Israel, suffice to say that the culinary offerings are nothing short of amazing.

Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall in Jerusalem

Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall in Jerusalem

Israel has much to recommend it but public transport is not one of them. Although there are bus and train services as well as an extensive number of taxis, national coverage is not great. The best way to see Israel is to hire a car. Long term car rental in Israel is reasonably priced and the car rental companies are reputable, with many of the large multinational companies having numerous branch offices.

If you hire a car, the country is yours to explore at your leisure. All road signs are written in English and your GPS will assure you won’t get lost. To drive from the north of the country to the south may only take 6 hours but assuming you stop to take in all the sites that are unique to Israel may take you 6 years. Israel may be small but, at least in this case, good things really do come in small packages.

Traveling to the Holy Land really is a once in a lifetime experience. However, once experienced, chances are that it will not be the last time you experience it.

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