I have just finished my second month in Israel. Sadly, only one left before I finish my internship. I'm still travelling around the country and I've taken an apartment for myself, leaving the hostel life behind.
When I got to Israel, I was questioned by an immigration officer about the reason of my stay. "Isn't three months a long time for such a small country?". I still do not understand his question.
The country has a surprising amount of diverse landscapes, lots of history and wonderful people to meet. With the internship at Criaterra, the beaches and the travels, I have not been able to see all that I need, nor all that I want. I have to say that Shabbat and its public transports dilemma does not encourage me to move on weekends. Indeed, in Israel we work from Sunday to Thursday, leaving Friday and Saturday as our weekend. During these two last days of the week, there is no public transport from about 3pm until next day's sunset. A pause happily welcomed by the population and also by most businesses. So that is Shabbat: the day of rest on the event day of the Jewish week (but beginning well before Saturday).
Even with little time left to travel and some obstacles along the way, I have seen other places and met extraordinary people. Here are some highlights...
A city full of life where big building neighbour beaches. You can always see people on the coast, specially on Shabbat. Families and friend gather there with all the BBQ gear. There are good vibes there, with strangers asking to look after each others' belonging while they go take a dip in the sea, or just to pass the salt.
The Carmelit Market has fresh produce every day (except during Shabbat, of course). You can also eat local there, in the middle of a very happy souk. Chakchouka, falafel, smoothies, houmous, fried sea food and countless vegetarian dishes. I have almost tried them all.
Overstay, the hostel where I stayed for 2 months, is full of life 24/7. Rooftop, swimming pool, bar... I have to admit to not sleeping much during the first two weeks.
Contrary to what one may think, the hardest part was to know many beautiful people and seeing them go, one after the other. The hostel welcomes new volunteers and receives guests everyday. But, no matter what, you get attached to people (hugs and kissed to everyone reading this, I miss you).
A little visit to with Mathias et Irma, in a city located in the Negev desert. Here, you can easily reach 113°F (45°C)(under the shadow)(at 7pm)(yes...). We stayed at the Silent Arrow hostel, somewhere in the desert, between the city and he alpaca farm. Complete scenery change under the traditional tunnel shipped tent that protect amazingly well from the heat.
Fresh watermelon upon our arrival is a must. Sunset at the Camel watch, besides the crater, a dream. Visiting randomly during the annual city party, priceless.