University of Haifa International School Student Blog
Finally – it’s Christmas! The semester is drawing closer to its end but for me one of the most exciting times waited, as my sister and her husband came to visit me for the holidays J
To show them around in Israel I combined all my knowledge and favorite places from the Study Tour I attended in the summer program and my own experiences in Israel, with the people and their habits with what’s written in the travel guidebooks.
We rented a little car and spent a week of intense traveling:
After arriving from the airport we went for a nice dinner in the German Colony where all the Christmas lights and the tree were still decorating the street in preparation for the Holidays. For my family coming straight from the cold weather in Hamburg it was amazing to be able to sit outside at night in just a sweater, even if that clearly pointed us out as tourists, as most Israelis are already wearing their winter coats.
Over the next days we day-tripped our way through the country, starting off in the North, with visiting Akko and Zfat for a stroll through their cute and narrow streets.
For the 24th we went to Nazareth to see the Christmas parade. The streets around the Basilica of Annunciation where the parade ended were packed with kids dressed like Santa, tourists and mostly locals. It was fun and got us into the right festive mood for dinner, presents and card games in the little apartment my sister had rented – wearing Christmas hats it was just like home. The day after, the 25th, we decided to stay in Haifa and went on the guided tour through the Baha’i Gardens, which was just beautiful. Then we took a long walk up the hill to Stella Maris from where you have an amazing view over the port and Downtown. Unexpectedly, we got to take a little cable car down to the beach, to reward ourselves for the steep hike up the mountain.
To top off the Christmas days we traveled to the Dead Sea on the 2nd day of holidays. Even if I had been before, covering yourself all over with the mud and “hanging out” on the water is just an impressive experience and fun every time!
From there we went to see Jerusalem, the city you could write a page about of its own, so you have to see for yourself. My favorite that day: Receiving an insider-tip from a friend, we climbed on the roof of the old Austrian Hospiz there for the most amazing view over the Old City. It was just after sunset and we got to see the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives, the Churches and Mosques and all these amazing places in the fading light.
This was definitely a busy week, but more than amazing how many places I got to visit again in such a short time. It felt like re-taking the trips I had done so far all over again which extended my memories of the places I had been to over my time spent in Israel. Now, that I only have a few weeks left to spent here, I hurry to squeeze all I haven’t seen yet into my travels with a friend from home who is coming to visit me as well – therefore I am excited for the next days to come J