A Very Israeli Birthday

israel-8 I spent my 22nd birthday hiking the Ein Gedi mountains, gazing at waterfalls, touring old synagogues and getting Shewarma and Green Door Pizza. I think it’s safe to say I had the best birthday to date and probably the best one of my life. Unless something crazy amazing happens on upcoming birthdays, this one can’t be beat. Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset I began the morning with double espresso…just like everyday here. That is something I will miss so much once I return to the reality of the states. We have espresso, americanos and all things good here for breakfast in the morning. Regular coffee is now boring. Anyway, at breakfast was the first birthday song of the day. I woke up at 6AM and had a slow, peaceful and early morning. My favorite kind of morning. Honey, our bus driver, picked up all 37 of us and we headed to Ein Gedi. Everyone resolved to sing happy birthday to me 22 times so I was serenaded throughout the day. The roads we were taken through were out of a movie or a dream or some other world. Picture some rolling hills, camels roaming about, and so much green and sunshine. Yes, we saw camels roaming israel-4 israel-3 israel-2 We drove by the Dead Sea. My oh my, what a sight. The mountains and rolling hills on our right and the dead sea on our left. What a life. The dead sea is the lowest place on earth at 394 meters below sea level. All the sights of the day were probably some of the most amazing things I’ll ever see. It was for sure that everyone knew it was my birthday because every time Audriana saw me she went, “Alison!!! It’s your birthday! Happy Birthday!” I love that girl. She has such a wonderful personality. As we hiked, they sang. Only about five minutes in, we found a water fall. And then we hiked up and up. Such a hard and difficult hike but so worth it. It was sure challenging but I’m so glad we could all do it. We were so so high up. I can’t quite put in to words all that we saw so I’m glad I have pictures. Once we got to the peak we came to a synagogue that was build thousands of years before Abraham and Moses. What an incredible piece of history. israel-1Photo Jan 20, 1 40 12 PMProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 preset Photo Jan 20, 1 25 03 PMisrael-6israel-5 Processed with VSCOcam with 1 preset The people were like ants as they climbed throughout the mountains. Some of the places we were right on the edge and could have definitely fallen. Frightening but exhilarating at the same time. Lavinia managed to make it and walk the whole time but she was limping a bit. Once we made our way down, we came to another synagogue that dated back to the time of Christ that had a basiclica structure. At that time, everybody was welcome to come to the synagogue as it was a place of worship that didn’t require sacrifice. Even though we weren’t in the city, there were still many stray cats in the mountains. We even saw wild animals like a herd ibex and some sort of mole rat. The birds that flew about had a chirp that sounded like a scream. Our hike probably lasted about four hours or so. And each moment was breathtaking. One of those hikes I wish I could replay over and over in my head. israel-10 israel-11 We got back on the bus and headed to a look out to one of the oldest monestarys in Israel. Although it was too foggy to see the monestary the rolling hills were breathtaking. Some little kids were selling jewelry and other things. It was so beautiful to look into their sweet eyes but know that this is probably their life. They probably try to sell these bracelets for very cheap all day long and they most likely don’t go to school. They followed us around as we looked and we played some games with them. One of them, the most talkative was named Omar. Dre found a caterpillar and handed it to me on a stick and then Omar flicked it at me. He was a funny guy and I enjoyed joking with him. He didn’t speak much English but Andrew spoke to him in Hebrew and we could communicate a bit. We got back on the bus once more and then stopped at a wonderful lookout spot where we could see the Old City from very far away. What a captivating scene. Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset israel-9 Photo Jan 20, 3 37 22 PM A few of us made a quick decision to get off the bus because Honey offered to drop us off at Jaffa Gate to go to the Old City. Lavinia, Andreea, Mandy, Caroline, Andi, Josh, Cade, Paul, Breton, Luke and I walked through the street as the sun was setting. We walked through the market streets and made it to Green Door Pizza which is right on the border of the Muslim Quarter. We’ve all heard a lot about this place and it was a little gem tucked away. Surprisingly, it had green doors. All the people were very friendly there. The walls were made of brick and a man stood by a brick oven. They asked us if we’d like vegetable pizza or meat. We made an order for seven meat and one veggie. Cade, Josh, Lavi and I went to get Shewarma as the pizza would take 15 minutes. We made our way to King Shewarma or something or other…who knows cause it’s all in Hebrew and Arabic. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with 5 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset israel-13 israel-12 I love going through the market streets, talking with locals and meeting all the people. As we walked with Shewarma in hand (seventeen shekels), we headed back to meet the others who had been eating their pizza. We all had some as well. It was a little four piece pizza with some sauce, maybe a little cheese, different kinds of meats and egg. It was nothing like American pizza and it was so good. We chatted with some of the people there for a bit. We made our way through the market streets and headed to the Western Wall so we could see the Temple Mount at night. As we walked through, herds of police and soldiers marched through, just because it’s night time. Once we made it, we realized we needed to catch the bus. We decided to walk to another stop but that led to an adventure. Somehow, we ended up walking on the rooftops of the market because we went up some stairs. From there we wandered for a bit and we got separated. Luke and I got separated from the rest of the group but eventuall found them. They somehow ended up in some boys home and other private building. Such an adventure and so hilarious. We somehow made our way out but it was an experience. We made it to the train and then the bus and got back around 8:10. Exhausted from a long hiking day and an eventful night, I reflected on such a good year as 21 had passed and looked forward to 22. I am so so blessed and this day was just an amazing example of that. I can’t believe this is my life. Thank you all for all the love and birthday wishes. Love love love! [I will be making a post about when we visited the Garden Tomb on Monday soon]

2 Replies to “A Very Israeli Birthday”

  1. I am so incred jealous of this! It’s been a dream of mine to go to Israel for years, and I’ll never get this experience, so I’m living vicariously through you, girl! What a fantastic birthday. Amazing!


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