A Long Time Ago In Bethlehem... | Guest Blog Post Series

Tell us a little bit about yourself - who are you; how your blog came about; anything else you'd like to add:

My name is Sherry Bekhet and I am 26years old. I actually didn't hear about this blog, I know about it as I am good friends with Mili.

What is your preferred style of travel? 

I would like to think I am a relaxed amateur traveler, but traveling is definitely a hobby.

Do you get to travel quite often? 

Yes, I usually travel to 1 new destination every year, with the random domestic flights too.

For the purposes of this blog - think of a destination where you travelled that you'll give us some hot tips on in this blog and tell us the destination below

Israel

When was this trip (month and/or year)? Do you recommend this time of year to visit this place? 

Oct/Nov 2017, definitely yes as it's not too hot and not cold either, but it's usually busy anytime unless you go in the peak of summer(which is June/July). This is the hottest time of the year though, and if you reside in a cool country, you will not be able to cope with the pure heat.

How many days did you stay in this place? 

12 days in Israel.

What was your choice of accommodation? 

Hotel

What was the name of your hotel/motel/backpackers (if this applies to you)?

Miami Hotel(More of a Backpacker-Tel Aviv), Pilgrim Residence(Bethlehem) & Armon Hayarkon (Tel Aviv).

Was this accommodation conveniently located from public transport and/or major tourist spots? 

Miami Hotel definitely was, as it was smack bang in the middle of the Beach Area in Tel Aviv, so if you're an avid hiker, you can easily walk a smooth walk to Old Jaffa City, which is around 8km walk one way. Pilgrim Residence is close by to the Nativity Church-which is an amazing, beautiful and a religious place where the manger of Jesus was. There are other sites nearby, but transport is not too far too. Lastly Armon Hayarkon is on the other end of the Beach Area in Tel Aviv, so it's far from tourist sites, however there are so many forms of transport near by, and it's easy to navigate if you have a local map(which is free). Both Miami Beach hotel and Armon Hayarkon were legitimately 2-5min walk from the beach, which made it even nicer.

 View from Miami Hotel balcony. Copyright: Sherry Bekhet

View from Miami Hotel balcony. Copyright: Sherry Bekhet

What was your experience staying at this accommodation? Highs, lows, what made you choose to stay here - would you recommend staying at this place? 

Miami Hotel is nice if you're looking for cheap accommodation and love the beach balcony idea. However, if you are always out for a nice spacious and clean hotel, I would not recommend this. The service there is amazing though, and they have a very cute pooch. The Pilgrim Hotel is very nice, spacious, with an amazing view from your bedroom balcony and from the hotel balcony as well. The hotel service is also brilliant too. However, I have to say Armon Hayarkon is by far the best with service, even though the room wasn't as big. Never the less, the service was the highlight here, as not only did they accommodate my friends (who didn't have a booking), but they also upgrading my room because my friends needed to place their luggage somewhere. On top, whilst waiting for the room in the lobby, a lovely lady working for the Hotel, brought us all (my friends and I) drinks, and cake. So I would easily say that both Armon Hayarkon (Tel Aviv) and Pilgrim Residence (Bethlehem) are recommended for all travellers.

 View from the Pilgrim Residence hotel balcony. Copyright: Sherry Bekhet

View from the Pilgrim Residence hotel balcony. Copyright: Sherry Bekhet

If you were to go back to this destination - would you stay here? 

Yes

Did you book (group) tours or see the city by yourself? 

Combination of both

 Top of Mount Olives. Copyright: Sherry Bekhet

Top of Mount Olives. Copyright: Sherry Bekhet

 

Give us a glimpse into some of the sights you saw - (what did the sights entail, how long should they spend there etc.)! How should one plan their day when selecting certain sightseeing options? 

I went to a lot of places, I went to many sites in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Jericho, Dead Sea, Tiberius. In each location I did a lot of sightseeing, however it is recommended you do a tour all around the above cities, as there are some places you would not know existed unless you're on a tour. I also went to the very well known-The Dead sea, the saltiest sea water in the world and also the lowest point on earth. I also went to Masada, which is a desert where King Herod's castle remains are. You can hike up the mountain or take cable cars to the top.

 The dead sea. Copyright: Sherry Bekhet

The dead sea. Copyright: Sherry Bekhet

Speaking of sightseeing - What do you recommend an absolute must do? 

The church of the Holy Sepulchre, Tel Aviv Beach, the Dead Sea, Old Jaffa City, the new tel aviv port, carmel market, Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery. However doing a tour of the main cities is great, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Jericho.

 Church of the holy sepulchre. Copyright: Sherry Bekhet

Church of the holy sepulchre. Copyright: Sherry Bekhet

Depending on your style of travel (i.e. solo, group, family, luxury, budget) is there a tour or an attraction that you would recommend to someone who's looking to travel like you, should do? 

I like to travel with 2 or 4 people max. I also like to spend my money on sites, cultural food but not as much on accommodation. Therefore I suggest/recommend travellers to see The church of the Holy Sepulchre, the dead sea, Old Jaffa Port (free), Masada, Tel Aviv Carmel Market, the Baha'i Gardens and the new Tel Aviv port.

 Carmel Market. Copyright: Sherry Bekhet

Carmel Market. Copyright: Sherry Bekhet

Food - that's the important stuff! What were your favourite restaurants/food joints etc. to go to? Tell us all about where we should and shouldn't go? 

I fortunately booked my hotels with food, so didn't get a chance to try much around. However I did try some traditional food called "Sabich", which is egg like patty, with fried eggplant, tahini, salad and some mediterranean spices. Make sure you buy it from a good restaurant, rather than stalls off the road side. But they eat falafel, shawarma as well, so those do try them too.

What was the highlight of your trip? Whether it is related to the destination or the way you travel is up to you (maybe both)?

My highlight is watching the sunset in Tel Aviv beaches. By far the best in the world. Also going to such holy sites like the church of the Holy Sepulchre is very moving, not sure how or why, but something about the place that touches me.

 Sabich on Tel Aviv Beach with the sunset. Copyright: Sherry Bekhet

Sabich on Tel Aviv Beach with the sunset. Copyright: Sherry Bekhet

What was an absolute low of your trip? And how can one be prepared to avoid it if they are visiting this destination? 

The absolute low was that the tour group I was with were not all keen to walk long distances etc. However, this is something that I can not prevent nor control, therefore I didn't really have a say. Make sure if you travel, you make sure you know who you are going with, or book multiple tours (that are no longer than 2 days) so you are not stuck with the same people. My tour was 9-days, hence the issue.

Any hot tips or extra information that you'd like to add before you sign off? 

Yes, you must at all times, carry your passport and visa with you at all times. The reason being is due to Israel being split into 3 bodies, and each body is looked after by different governments. Therefore there are borders whilst getting into in and out of different cities i.e from Bethlehem to Jerusalem. Also, make sure you buy water from am:pm shops (they're like 7 eleven shops), because water is scarce and expensive from any convenience stores. You can pay 5 shekels in am:pm for a 2L bottled water, whereas you can pay 20 shekels for a 1.5L in a convenience store.

What's your next destination? 

Not sure yet, I usually plan these trips 2-3months before I travel.

What are your social media and other links where readers can find you? 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sh3rry91/