This summer was the first in the past six years during which I decided not to go enjoy the cool weather in Berlin, a city where I lived that is still special to me, and change my destination. Those who know me well also know how much I love Israel: most of my closest friends in Milan and many of those around the world have a connection to this country. So, without thinking twice, I challenged myself, organized everything and left on my own, trying not to think of how hot it would be: I booked two flights that would allow me to stay in the “Holy Land” for about three weeks. I didn’t really have any particular plans other than relaxing, sleeping, eating, going to the beach, spending time with old and new friends and their families, visit new places, have fun, and improve my Hebrew. Of course I managed to do all of this but I also brought home benefits that you cannot find in any store: I had time to stop and think things over, listen to myself… basically in these three weeks I also worked on the new and better version of myself.
I stayed most of my time in Shapira, a neighbourhood of Tel Aviv in a little two-story house surrounded by greenery, a house that a friend lent me and that I had all to myself. I visited the White City plenty of times and I have to say I find the southern hoods most charming: visible aircon units outside buildings dripping water on the pavements, the roads unkempt, cats everywhere and dry palms dotting the landscape… all these things are part of the area’s charm, too. I rented a bicycle for my days in the city, and I just cycled everywhere. Needless to say, I discovered plenty of new restaurants and bars while in Tel Aviv (some of them are listed in the gallery, I didn’t take many photos though). I liked going to Jaffa during the day, and I liked swimming there because the beach was way less crowded: on weekdays, I only had to share it with a few surfers and some people with their dogs.
I travelled to the south of the country to meet a friend who started managing a former eco-friendly commune with his friends in a moshav, an Israeli kind of agricultural, cooperative community. This was located in Nir Moshe, not far from the Gaza Strip. Another friend of mine is an archeologist, and I visited some sites in the mountains west of Jerusalem with him, and then went swimming in an ice-cold stream. I also went to Haifa to see another friend, I took time to visit prophet Elijah’s cave, and enjoyed a wonderful view from the top of Mount Carmel. I then travelled up north, to north Galilee, in a kibbutz — also a type of community here, which can be either agricultural or industrial — called Kfar Hanassi. A dear friend who lived in Milan is from this area, and we roamed around, exploring streams, lakes, remains of old villages, eucalyptus groves and lots of fields. We enjoyed tasty food and even went on a wine tasting: I really felt at home. From there, we drove to Safad, one of the four Jewish holy cities, and to Rosh Pinna: they were amazing! I also enjoyed a super tasty family barbecue at a friend’s place in Modi’in.
I had so much fun and I can’t wait to make my way back to Israel. I lived some fantastic experiences that enriched me so much, and learned a lot about myself. Everyone should travel on their own once, I really recommend it. It might sound intimidating, but I promise you you will go home feeling energized like never before. Think about it! Shalom y’all!