A few days in Tel Aviv
After a smooth flight with one stop in Vienna, we arrived in Israel right at sunset. After a surprisingly quick entry check, we started to discover our first stop Tel Aviv by a short train ride and a city walk to our hostel. The latter we booked in advance. We didn’t feel unsafe all the way by foot even though it was already way past sunset. So we carried our backpacks on our shoulders happily – not knowing the next days would held a lot surprises for us.
We planned our way through Israel (and Jordan) quite well. That means we booked the hostels for the very first and last days of our trip and knew what routes we would prefer to take. Such knowledge always makes it much easier to be spontaneous 🙂 The second day was meant to explore Tel Aviv, the third to go to Jerusalem from where we planned a three days trip to Jordan. After that we planned to go back to Jerusalem and Bethlehem and the last days were blocked for the Northern parts of Israel. I even upgraded my trusty Fuji X-T20 to the mighty Fuji X-H1 and also bought the „tank“ – the Fuji 16-55mm F2.8 to accompany the Fuji X-H1. But it turned out very differently. Due to Corona.
Staying in Mitzpe Ramon at the edge of the Makhtesh Crater
We followed the country’s actions and changed all routes. We asked in our hostel for recommendations and did not go to Jerusalem the third day of our trip but to Mitzpe Ramon. It took us three hours by train and bus.
Mitzpe Ramon is a small town in the Negev desert of southern Israel. It is situated on the northern ridge at an elevation of 860m overlooking the world’s largest erosion cirque, known as the Makhtesh Ramon (basically a large crater). We stayed in the Meever hostel which is run by Dan and Yanif who created their own version of a home for backpackers and travellers. We for example stayed in a caravan in the spacious backyard of the hostel. Mitzpe Ramons main attraction is probably the Makhtesh Crater with its numerous hiking trails. For the first one and half days we mainly stayed at and around the hostel because the weather turned from warm and sunny on the day of arrival to really cold, windy and rainy on the second day.
Fortunately, on the third day the weather turned back to dry, sunny and warm so that we could tackle the hike down to the bottom of the crater without fearing to get swept of our feeds. The unique landscape of the Maktesh Ramon made hiking trough it an amazing experience – until we reached the highway which let up back to the edge of the crater. After having hiked through the desert for more than four hours we didn’t feel like walking another one and half ours along the highway back to the top and tried to hitch a ride. Luckily, the first passing car stopped and took us back to Mitzpe Ramon. The dusty trails really put the weather sealing of the Fuji X-H1 and Fuji 16-55mm F2.8 to the test and both performed without difficulty.
In the late afternoon we packed our bags and hopped on the first bus, due to it being Friday and Shabbat the public life is on holt until sunset, to Be’er Scheva and further to Jerusalem.
The wonderful vibe of Jerusalem
The greatest time of our trip were the three days in Jerusalem. Jerusalem combines tradition, religion, food and new ways of life such easily that it is a blessing to be part of it. The sand stone around each building was just the final visual touch. Unfortunately, Corona started to become a major issue as the days progressed. At first it was only about Israel closing the boarders for incoming travellers. Not much later our flight back home was rescheduled for the first time with many more times to come.
During the day we really enjoyed strolling around the Old City of Jerusalem and having the one or other chat with the, due to the lack of tourists, bored salesmen. At night we spent most of the time trying to figure out whether we can stick to our plan of flying back home on the upcoming Friday or whether we have to take another flight as all airlines had started to merge and cancel flights. The entire situation let to an odd atmosphere in the hostel as most guest were having the same issue and worse. Depending on the airline you were booked with receiving information seemed to be a major challenge. Fortunately, we were booked with Austrian Airlines who kept us informed the entire time.
After three nights in Jerusalem we took the bis back to Tel Aviv and stayed for another two nights at the same place we stayed at before and enjoyed the sun as much as possible. Knowing that the weather back in Germany won’t be nearly as good 😛
In the camera bag for the Israel trip
- Fuji X-H1
- Fuji 16-55mm F2.8
- Fuji 14mm F2.8
- Fuji 23mm F1.4
- Fuji 56mm F1.2