Throughout our travels whenever we mentioned we would be visiting Israel there were 2 common replies:
1. Head tilt, confused eyes… Hu? What country?
Israel is tiny. The only people in Asia that know Israel are the ones that see so many Israeli tourists they think it’s one of the largest countries in the world.
2. Ohhhh really…isn’t it dangerous?
Floating in the Dead Sea – Only dangerous if you get the water in your eyes
If it’s not yet, this little tiny country in the Middle East deserves a place on your bucket list. It’s incredible to think that a country you can hike across from East to West in just 3 days, also has crystal clear blue oceans, mountains with hidden waterfalls, the lowest and one of the saltiest seas on earth, deserts you can get lost in, amazingly fresh delicious food, and a rich history that can touch your heart no matter your religious background.
Freshly squeezed Pomegranate juice
Delicious falafel, hummus, and pita lunch
If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you should know that up until now we have taught English in Cochin and Sumatra, farmed in Bali and Guangzhou, and been summer camp counselors in Fukuoka. After our first volunteering experience through Workaway we were hooked and tried to be part of one in every country we visited after that.
In Israel, we got the chance to work at the Living Good Farm in Hamra. Picking fresh organic dates straight off the tree, how could we resist?!
Our week on the farm included: picking fresh dates off the tree using this awesome U-shaped tractor, sorting the good dates from the bad ones while getting our hands sticky with all the sugar, separating small, medium, and large dates to go in their respective boxes, and of course trimming trees and pulling weeds (something we’ve done on every single farm!)
Did you know it takes about 14 liters of water to grow one date (qty estimated by the farmer)? This farm is separated from Jordan by the Jordan River and uses water straight from the river to irrigate the Date Palms!
View of the Jordan River and Living Good Farm from above
Aside from out of this world delicious dates, this was one of the most amazing volunteering experiences because of how welcome the owners Eyal and Ram made us feel.
The volunteer house at Moshav Hamra
Hiking up desert mountains to see sunrise and ancient ruins
Andres teaching other volunteers all about Sheshbesh
Volunteers from all over the world ❤
Because the Living Good Farm is located in the West Bank, we were able to take a day trip with the other volunteers to Nablus, a Palestinian city. Something we’ve been reminded of this year is the importance of making sure we know both sides of any story before making up our minds and opinions. Visiting Nablus was a very unique and eye opening day trip.
Walking back into Israel after our day trip to Nablus/Shechem
Exploring the old city of Nablus
The mint vendor really wanted a picture with the foreigners
We also got to hike and camp in some beautiful and unexpected spots:
Our plan at the Dead Sea was to set up our tent at one of the campsites. But we couldn’t find it… so instead we just put our tent by the shore hoping no one would notice. When a security guard told us no tents allowed, but staying here without a tent is fine, we packed it up and slept under the stars!! The most amazing thing was swimming in the Dead Sea in the dark with all the desert stars gleaming brightly.
In Tiberias our plan was to bike and camp around the Sea of Galilee but when stumbled upon Yardenit, a hippie camping area on the shores of the crystal blue Jordan River, we ended up sleeping here and hiking in that area instead!
- The Lemon Tree
- The Prime Ministers
- Son of Hamas
Both Andres and I have visited Israel multiple times and every single trip we always see, feel, hear, and taste it a little differently… and love it more.