Visiting Israel, and the amazing places within it, has been a dream of mine, and one I wrote on my bucket list for We Blog Travel. To be honest it was in the top two and felt more like a wanderlust craving, that might never happen. I wasn’t without my apprehensions though. Like most people who have never visited I guess, you are influenced by the news reports and worries about civil unrest and violence.
I am visiting after an invitation from Vibe Israel, here is what they say about themselves :
‘We are a nonprofit organization based in Tel Aviv that runs complimentary week-long tours of Israel for online opinion leaders who write about areas in which Israel has a unique offering.’
The idea behind the tour is that we learn about Israel through “Israel Buddies”: Israelis with the same areas of interest as we have. We were a small collective of bloggers from the USA and Australia, as well as me from the UK. We are all parents, mums and we all are passionate about many things related to parenting.
My first post is now live : People, passion and pride. I hope that it gives you a snapshot into life as a working Mum in Israel, the personalities of Israelis and the environments.
The second post, is all about places that are perfect for visiting with your children.
This next post, is going to be a rather photo heavy one, and a day by day run down of what happened. So many people have asked about my time in Israel, I thought it was a great way to share it as a whole. I’ve tried my hardest to include as many people as possible that we met on the way…
Day One :
After settling in to our hotel suites at the boutique Diaghilev Hotel in Tel Aviv, we then enjoyed an intimate dinner at the Cordelia Resturant in the Old City of Jaffa. I met the other four international bloggers, and our guide for the week, the amazing Adva. Who everyone fell in love with!
Day 2 :
Meeting the founder of Vibe Israel – Joanna Landau, who gave us an overview in her talk to us, ‘Israel at a Glance’. She is so passionate (and rightly so in my opinion) about Israel and it was fascinating to hear her thoughts.
We then went on a tour of Jerusalem, something I will never forget. I met some amazing ladies, in what was a hot, sweaty and mind-blowing experience, of arguably one of the most holy and religious places on the planet .
Efrat Leket and Adi Harpaz, who are the founders of Momday. Which is a life coaching company exclusive mothers. They were both super stylish too, how can you look so good when it’s so damn hot!
Ira Khrakovsky (@irahok) who is a Mootherhood and Lifestyle blogger at Umamiblog, who I fell just a little bit in love with, it would be hard not to. We shared so many simularities, even down to previous jobs we had had. I felt she was a kindred spirit!
Tamar Arava and Dina Alfrasi who are the co-founders of IG Israel. Oh my, they are amazing photographers/videographers, and it was a pleasure to meet them.
Dina and I in Jerusalem, looking very Raiders of the Lost Arc (Image : Tamar Arava )
Image : Tamar Arava
Finally that day, we experienced a traditional Sabbath dinner, hosted by Tamar Hadar and Efrat Adiv. It was such a privileged to experience something so personal, we could have chatted forever!
Lunada Museum – you can read more about my experience of the Museum HERE. I love this image taken of the international group of bloggers I was with, who I now can call my friends.
We then visited the Dead Sea, one the 7 natural wonders of the world. If you haven’t ever visited I implore you to, if you get a chance.
Loved that mud!
I met Hila Ovil Brenner A serial entrepreneur for the past 18 years. CEO and co-founder of KeyDownload
Jeff Ravis and Arik Zeevi. Jeff is the one of the co-founders of Go Vivo, which is a very cool idea of getting our children active with cool technology. Arik, is the chairman of the advisory board for Go Vivo and Olympic and world medallist in Judo.
Jonathan Arad the CMO of Wanna a parenting marketplace, where parents can buy and sell goods and services within their communities.
All of the images with the logo VibeIsrael were taken by
the talented photographer : Shani Sadicario.
This trip really was full of laughter and friendship : Kelly and Arik Zeevi.
We then met up with our Israeli buddies, to spend the afternoon. I met with Chadva Kleinhandler and Rina Revah to sample the delights that Jaffa had to offer. Including this gorgeous view from Rina’s beautiful home.
It was then time to meet three extremely vibrant and passionate women at our dinner at Lumina at the Carlton Hotel, a kosher restaurant. Each one of them telling us about their Israel and what was important to them.
Maski Shibru, an very beautiful actress, drama teacher and director in Israel.
Sarah Pachter, an ultra orthodox author and journalist. Sarah had so much energy, with 11 children and numerous books under her belt, I really don’t know how she does it. Definitely with a sense of humour. From the moment she wafted into dinner, she captivated us with funny stories, and real life tales of her life. You can read or order her latest book HERE.
From Iris Shani, we had a fascinating insight into her work for Keshev, as she advises parents, families and children with ADHD. Amazing lady!
Great food, and even better company.
We visited the studio of Sarit Shani Hay, I am going to write a separate post about my time here, as I am sure you will want to find out more about this designer!
We fed the cows, chickens, collected eggs…oh and frolicked amongst the sunflowers!
We then had a healthy cooking workshop with the TV personality and Paula Rosenberg. More about this in my foodie post!
We had travelled up to Nazareth the evening before, staying at the Fauzi Azar Inn. An incredible place, where literally the history and importance of the place oozed out of the rocks that surrounded us!
Just through those arches was where I slept.
We had a tour of Nazareth including a Church said to have been built around the home of Mary and Joseph.
On purpose I’m not mentioning the food very much, as I am going to do a separate post on this. However Abu–Ashraf’s resturant, deserves a special mention. In the old city of Jerusalem, it was incredible place I’ll be covering in more detail. We were served pancakes that blew my mind called Kataiyf.
Next stop was Tuti Bamoshav, where we were introduced to lots of children’s brands, both established and new. Special mention to a couple of brands that I loved.
The lady below is the designer – Yael Oz-Carmon, who is behind Hollamama, which makes accessories for women and mums, including lovely charms for prams. I have a charm necklace from Hollamama, that I wear all the time, since I received it. She provides international shipping so definitely something to look at.
We also met the founder of Gitta bags, who make amazing baby changing bags, nearly made me rethink having another…
It was then time to get ourselves active and blow away those cobwebs. We headed off to a local school gym and met the infectiously excited to be exercising Mamanet. They are the first ‘mommy’ Hcdorst league in the world. It actually a game similar to volleyball, lots of fun and had a fantastic community feel. They are heading to the UK too, I think this would be a sport I could definitely be on-board with!
We had a play, made complete fools of ourselves, but it was great fun, and actually just what we all needed I think.
Which was my birthday, and it started off just how all birthdays should with bubbles and ended with bubbles actually, thanks to my lovely hosts! We had a brunch at a hotel in Tel-Aviv before heading to the shuk to buy some present to take home to our families. Shuk are magical places, where you can buy absolutely everything from souvenirs, fruits and vegetables and toy AK47’s. *ahem*
I bought some dead sea beauty products, and some gifts for my daughter, even haggled at one stall!
Then it was time to visit the Daniel Rowing Centre for a tour and to meet the Paralympic rower Moran Samuel.
The Daniel Rowing Centre is named after the late Daniel Amichai Marcus, who was killed at the age of 21 in a traffic accident with three of his best friends: Mosh Miller, Avi Levi and Eran Farchi. It is an amazing place that provides incredible training in many watersports, including Daniel’s love, which was rowing. It also provides an infrastructure for olympic and paralympic rowing in Israel. The facilities are used to both teach and nurture champions, regardless of your circumstances.
What a lady Moran was, so inspirational!
We then had to say our goodbyes at a party at the rowing centre, where we met up with some of the freinds we made on the Vibe Israel journey. There *may* have been tears!
It was the best trip I have even been on, and I mean that so sincerely. I feel like it changed me in so many positive ways. I want to thank Vibe Israel for allowing me to be involved in this trip and too many fellow blogging buddies…lets do again!
Images with Vibe Israel stamp are by Shani, all other images have been credited, unless they are mine.