Last month, I saw on Facebook that my friend and designer at Amali Jewelry, Sara Freedenfeld, was on a trip to visit her sister in Israel. I was happy about this for several reasons. Firstly, this is a girl that works too darn hard and it was about time she took some time off and also, knowing Sara, I knew she’d have the type of adventures that would make for a great blog post here on Couture Musings! I was not wrong about this, as the pictures of camels, caves and sand dunes can attest! Given both of our hectic schedules, we haven’t been able to actually sit down together to discuss her trip, but she was kind enough to send me via email some answers to my questions about her trip. So in Sara’s own words:
My sister Allison is my very best friend in the whole world, and when she moved to Israel two years ago to be with her boyfriend, I was crushed. Fortunately, the time difference is 7 hours ahead, which works out perfectly. She calls me on Skype when she gets home from work and I put the computer on my desk so she can keep me company while I’m making jewelry.
I went with my other best friend, Jennie, who is like a sister, to spend my sister’s 30th birthday with her. We spent the first few days in Jerusalem where we explored the Old City and saw the Western Wall and the tunnels underneath. Although I did not grow up religious, it’s almost impossible not to feel moved by the thousands of prayers folded and stuffed inside every crevice of the wall.
Although we were still suffering from severe jet-lag, we decided to leave Jerusalem at 3:30 in the morning so we could climb to the top of Masada in time to watch the sunrise. It was a phenomenal sight, and well worth the sleepless night and steep climb. We made our way back down to the bottom at 9am with an entire day ahead of us. Next stop: a float in the Dead Sea. I have seen pictures of people floating, but nothing can really prepare you for the experience. We spent the next few hours trying to accomplish a floating yoga bow without touching our lips to the water…which by the way, is a terrible idea. I felt more like a dead guppy than a water yogini, but we had a blast.
From the Dead Sea, we drove South and spent the night in Eliat where I learned a very Israeli lesson: Don’t eat Shawarma in the street unless you want to be attacked by wild street cats. And good lord, don’t let them fool you into feeding them, unless you are prepared to lose limbs.
The next morning, we crossed the border into Jordan, and made our way to Petra. Our taxi driver didn’t speak much English, so when we asked him what traditional food we needed to try while we were in Jordan, he pulled over and bought us breakfast. This was our first experience with the warmth and hospitality of Jordanian people. By the time we made it to Petra, it was almost 4pm, so we decided to just walk around for a bit to get our bearings and start our serious hiking the next day. As we were making our way to the exit gates, we met some Bedouins who invited us for traditional tea on top of a cliff overlooking Petra to watch the sunset.
After we made it back down from our sunset tea, we roamed around for a while and accepted an invitation to have a home cooked meal in in the Bedouin village. For hundreds of years, the Bedouins made the ancient caves of Petra their home until 1964, when the Jordanian government struck a deal with them to build permanent housing if they agreed to leave their caves. Many families refused to leave, but others left for the Bedouin city that lies right outside of Petra. They are the only people to have access to Petra at night.
We spent the next day exploring Petra, which was awe-inspiring to say the least, and we were hosted in a Bedouin cave just outside the ancient city that night. We woke up the next day and headed to the desert where we spent the next few days cooking over a fire and sipping traditional Bedouin tea with more Bedouin hosts. We climbed monstrous dunes, and saw the most amazing sunsets. On the second day, we made our way to a watering hole, and met a nomadic Bedouin and his 50 camels. It was surreal.
After our time in Jordan, we headed back to Israel and spent the next few days in Tel Aviv riding bikes around the city, exploring Jaffa, and comparing Israeli breakfasts at the outdoor cafes that seem to be on every corner. The day before we left, we had a nice birthday celebration for my sister on the beach at sunset! Happy Birthday Allison!