When I Went: Mid-June through early July, 2011
Was That the Best Time of Year to Go? This is a great time to visit Israel. The weather is sunny and about 70 degrees each day.
Why I Went There: My father was born and raised in Israel before he came to America to marry my mother. So, for the first time in my life, I went to Israel to see my family.
We Stayed Here: A small house in a village called Jatt (not for tourists!)
You Won’t Want to Miss: Haifa and Jerusalem. The historical and religious sites are breathtaking. Tel Aviv is where the party is at, and it has the most variety of food. And don’t forget the hundreds of gorgeous beaches. Caesarea Beach is great, with a notable historical background: They turned this former war zone into a place where Israeli youth drink and hang out.
Eat Here: At Petra in the Jerusalem market. There’s great Mediterranean food all over the place. Definitely try (at any restaurant you go to) the hummus, falafel, and tabbouleh.
Play Here: The Beach Bar at Caesarea Beach. Great view of the water and fabulous gelato, coffee, drinks, etc. Any of the restaurants on the beach in Tel Aviv also have great hookah, and the best part? You can walk in barefoot, straight from the beach.
If I Went Again: I would go explore more of the sites in Bethlehem and not be so afraid to cross over to Palestine—everything is less expensive there.
How Did You Get There From Dallas? It’s a 14-hour-plus airplane trip, so be extra prepared. I flew Continental. The flight attendants were not friendly, the food wasn’t good at all (I actually refused the last meal despite being hungry), and their flights are always running behind. Unless you’re in first class, no one is smiling at you.
Other Tips For Fellow Travelers: Here’s a great place to find restaurants in Jerusalem (it includes shopping and markets, since it’s a big tourist town): http://www.gojerusalem.com/discover/category_23/Jerusalem-Restaurants. And here’s all you need to know about Tel Aviv: http://www.tel-aviv-insider.com/index.php.