Hiking Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon “Crater”)

This week, a couple of friends from a closed local hiking group and I went to two days hike in Makhtesh Ramon to celebrate my birth day (29). Even though I passed through Makhtesh Ramon dozens of times with my car, this was my first time ever hiking inside it.

First Day: Mitzpe Ramon to The Carpentry

We began our hike in Mitzpe Ramon at the Mountain Negev field school where we parked our car and began to walk on the MaKhtesh wall to The Camel “Mountain” viewpoint.

On the North Wall of Makhtesh Ramon

From there we began our way down inside the crater, it took us about one hour as we did it slow and steady. Inside the crater, we went for two hours more enjoying its beauty, in every other step the color of the rocks are changing between red, yellow, orange, pink and black. There were also a lot of different plants thanks to good winter we had this year in Israel.

We finished our day hike in “the Carpentry,” where we left one of our cars (this place is accessible from the main road). Unfortunately, it was already late (After sunset) and we had to bring our other car. We did our night at Gevanim Camping lot which surprisingly was pretty quiet and not a lot of hikers parked there (It’s Passover week right now in Israel)

Day #2 – Sa’aronim Mountain

Sa’aronim Mountain is the mountain at the Southern part of the crater. We began our day walking all the way between Gevanim parking lot to Be’erot Parking lot through Wadi Gevanim which is also 4×4 road. Near Be’erot parking lot there are some ruins of a Nabataeans Caravanserai where we take a stop in the shade of its walls. From there we continued to Sa’aronim Natural Spring which had water flowing and a lot of plants and went inside Ramon Gate (which is also the entry point to Nekaot Stream hike)

After walking inside Ramon Gate, we began to climb up to Sa’aronim Mountain. It was a very very stiff climb, which I wasn’t expected at all, and I have a habit that I don’t stop in the middle of the climbing, it took me about 10-15 minutes to climb it to the top, and I used most of my energy. But once I finished the climb I got my reward!

A panoramic view of the crater from the southern side, it is a point of view I’ve never had!

After resting at the top, we went on the side of the mountain all the way back to our cars enjoying the magnificent view.


4×4 Trip to Jordan – Day #2 Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum… It is so close to Israel but so much different than the views we have here! Nature is absolutely amazing

We began our way from Aqaba to Wadi Rum at the old Hijazi train station, the train meant to bring prayers to Mecca all the way from Istanbul through Damascus. The construction of the railroad stopped multiple times, one of them during the WWI when the local Arabs bombed the train as part of their resistance against the Ottomans. It was the first time I heard about Arabs fighting against the Ottomans.

Before arriving in Wadi Rum we stopped on a huge dune of sand and began to play on it, we climbed up and down the dune with our SUVs.

After playing around, we finally arrived to the Wadi Rum and its visitor center. First thing everyone noticed was the enormous rock formation called “The “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”.

And here began our 24 hours journey in Wadi Rum! And oh God, it was so breathtaking.
First of all, the landscape of the flat desert with so many rock formations that are thrown randomly (or not)

Second is the high range of colors of the desert, yellows, oranges, reds, violets… and even some greens. Everywhere we drove the color got changed

Third thing was the high amount of Bedouin camps around the Wadi. We entered two of them and they have been extremely friendly, they also were surprised to hear that we are Israelis. We stayed in one of the nicer camps in the desert. And had great meal over there with tasty lambs, and great Bedouin tea.

I felt it is a must to wake up at sunrise in Wadi Rum, and it was definitely spectacular

Last but not least, there are so many beautiful natural arches which creates beautiful natural frames


4×4 Trip to Jordan – Day #1 Eilat -> Aqaba

I dreamed a lot of time to cross the border and travel to Jordan, But never thought it is going to be that way!

My friend Amichay had mentioned for a long time that he is going to a 4×4 trip in Jordan with an Israeli group using his own Jimny. But only until two weeks before the trip I asked him about the details and how I could join. He didn’t have a place in his car, but we realized that I can partake in the stuff car! In the same moment, I called the guide and reserved my spot!

We were a group of 4 cars, and we met near Kibbutz Eilot just before Eilat. We introduced each other for the first time and went quickly to the border to pass to the other side.

On the border, we had to pay a fee and change our car licenses to Jordanian one. We bought some alcohol in the Duty-Free store and passed the border. On the Jordanian Side, we met our local guide Abdullah which is a close friend of our tour guide and also a fascinating man, a Bedouin that born in the caves of Petra and also knows to speak Hebrew very well (and other languages), more about him later.

Also, a Jordanian Policeman joined the group, this is the law for groups. Unfortunately, he didn’t speak English, and most of us didn’t speak Arabic (including me), so we couldn’t communicate with him that much and get to know him. Which is a shame, probably could tell delightful stories about living in Jordan and about serving the king.

After finishing all the border control bureaucracy, we finally arrived at Aqaba!

In Aqaba, we toured the local market, where we could buy Sweets, Herbs, Tea, Coffee, Keffiyeh and different velvets and fabrics.

After finishing the tour, Amichay, Alex and I went by ourselves in the city. We saw all the lucrative hotels of Aqaba – which are enormous, they look likes palaces, and one day I will definitely try them!

I think the most special part of the day was to look at Eilat from the other side for the first time. The Red Sea was also super quiet and clear and made us wanting to scuba dive here

We finished our day with a nice glass of the Whisky we bought on the Duty-Free.

Caesarea – Wave After Wave

 

Caesarea is a highly popular touristic site in Israel, and for a reason! It is a magnificent archaeological site from the Roman era, and in comparison to other places in Israel, most of it wasn’t ruined!!

Caesarea-7

But this is not the subject of the post. Don’t you remember? I’m visiting all the beaches of Israel this summer!

This weekend I’ve been to a self-awareness retreat which took place at the Water Sports Center of Caesarea. While the retreat, we had some long breaks to enjoy the location of being by the sea. And to digest all our experiences during the retreat.

 

View this post on Instagram

Wave after wave 🎶

A post shared by SeñorTraveler 🇮🇱 (@senortraveler) on

I paid attention that there are good beginner waves for surfing. I learned Surfing back then when I was backpacking South America, during my time In Florianopolis, Brazil. Since then, Surfing becomes one of my traveling hobbies. Whenever I travel, I look up for locations to surf. But as much as I love Surfing, I don’t practice it on a regular basis; it’s not that important to me than other things. But when I have the opportunity, I do it. And this weekend it was just in time.

After the one-hour surfing session, I got some writing inspiration, and I realized why I love surfing.

  1. It’s FUN and full of adrenaline.
  2. Surfing is retrying over and over.
  3. Surfing is getting into the water only to get back to shore.
  4. Surfing makes me practice patience.
  5. Surfing is about choosing which wave you take and which one you don’t.
  6. Surfing is to feel the right moment.
  7. Surfing makes me practice self-trust.
  8. Surfing is about seizing opportunities.
  9. Surfing is about elevating myself up on your two legs even though the chance of crashing is high.
  10. When I crash with the wave, I don’t have other option than losing myself to the power of the wave until it gets soft, resistance won’t help, but may break my back.
  11. Surfing is about feeling the ocean and understanding it.
  12. Surfing is about enjoying one wave, detach from it and continue to the next one.

 

If you have never tried Surfing, I’m inviting you to do so. I rent the surfboard at FreeGull. It was my first time using their service, and also surfing in this spot. Their service was good and thoughtful. They gave me useful tips about the surfing locations and some extra time for free. I didn’t try their guidance, but I guess it is as good as their service.

Dor Ha Bonim – The Most Picturesque Beach in Israel

Wow, This summer is going crazy!

Israel is so hot and humid these days, that even when I try to go for a short hike, I find myself laying on the beach eventually XD But this is for another post!

Today, I want to introduce you to one of the most beautiful gems on the Israeli Coast Line!
It’s a nature reserve called Dor-Habonim, which I’ve been there already twice this summer, in different parts of it. First time I went with Naama, my girlfriend, to Dor Beach near Kibbutz Dor, this is the south part of the reserve. It’s a beautiful beach consist of two lagoons, where you can lay on soft sand or go for the rocky area and take a cool panoramic picture of the beach or of the waves crashing on the rocks!

From the beach looking north, we saw a hill, and a trail to climb it up. Once we got to the top we found out Tel-Dor, it’s an archeological site of the biblical port city “Dor.” But enough with history 😉 We climbed up to get a panoramic view of the coastline!

IMG_20180609_173931-COLLAGE

On another day, I went with my sister to Ha-Bonim Beach, the north part of the natural reserve. It is also a lovely lagoon, with soft sand. It is also a place where you can have camping overnight. The beach located near Ha-Bonim Town. And there is also a skydiving spot over there!

After spending time on the beach, we took a short walk on the trail facing south. When we suddenly the “Shells Bay” revealed, it is a small bay, full with shells, of course, that seems to be taken from a movie. A very romantic spot! Shame that Naama wasn’t with me there!

Continue on we got to another panoramic viewpoint over the Mediterranean coastline.

We could continue on the trail, it keeps all the way to Dor Beach (no roundtrip), but we were hungry, it was very humid and we had only one car. So we came back to our car, turned on the air condition on full power and went to eat lunch at Zichron Yaakov XD

 

How to Get There?

You can come with public transportation only to Bonim Town, and from there, your only option is to hitchhike or a walk for 40-50 minutes. In my opinion, it would be better to come with a bus to the city of Zichron Yaakov or Fureidis (links for bus routes from Tel Aviv) and from there to take a taxi to the beach (5-7 minutes ride)

With a car it is much simpler, of course, just take highway 2-north and exit right to route 70 after passing Caesarea, then on the first left turn, turn to highway 4-north. After some minutes you will a sign for a way to Dor Beach from your left, and some minutes later a sign for a route to Bonim Beach also from your left.

Tel Aviv MOST secret beach

Israel has been blessed with a long Mediterranean shore from the limit with Gaza in the south to the border with Lebanon in the north, along with the coast there are a lot of beautiful and different beaches. In the weeks to come, I’m going to visit every one of them.

And the first to go is

– The Tzuk Beach –

The Tzuk Beach is the most northern beach of Tel Aviv. Just a few steps away from the city of Herzliya. It is a beach with the best facilities in Tel Aviv, and it is also the only one which is not free of charge, meaning you’ll have to pay some amount to get in properly.

BUT…

If you go a little bit north on a dirt road just before the entrance (where everyone parks their cars), you will be able to enter for free, without any consequence. We called it “The Breach” (in Hebrew: Ha-Pirtza).

“The Breach” is the only beach in Tel Aviv where you can have a natural view of all over the coast of Tel Aviv to the mosque of Jaffa. And it is also the only place in Tel Aviv where you can have a view over the beach from a natural terrace. There is no wave breaker here, so once it’s windy, it’s the perfect place for windsurfing/kitesurfing and even for surfing (just be careful with the rocks).

CliffBeach-TLV-001

The best time to get here is just before the sunset

CliffBeach-TLV-002

 

How to get there?

By Bus:

From Tel Aviv Bus Main Station (Levinski st.) take bus number #566 towards Rosh Ha-Hain (it passes along Dizengoff st.). Ask the bus driver to stop at Levinski College (on Namir Rd.). Then walk about 20 min to beach.

By Car:

Drive on Namir Rd to north all the way to “Unichman” st, turn left and continue straight all the way.


p.s – On “The Breach” part there aren’t lifeguards, only in the paid area. Keep safe!

 

Start with WHY

Whoever traveled in South America, India or Thailand probably met a lot of young Israelis backpacking around after they finished their military service at the IDF or their bachelor degree. Yes, traveling is quite a popular thing among young Israelis, and I wasn’t different. When I was 12 years old, I saw my cousin came back from South America. After I had seen his pictures of all of the extraordinary places: Rio de Janeiro, Machu Pichu, Iguazu Falls…, I decided to travel there after my military service too. And I actually did it, I realized my dream!

Little did I know that three weeks into the trip, I will feel a new feeling that I have never known before. It was the feeling of… RELAXATION & FREEDOM

chile-torres-del-paine-glaciar-grey.jpg

You see, as a perfectionist high school student who worked his ass off in the unstoppable race of getting high grades, a self-taught software engineer and one who served under high stress in the Israeli army to secure my country, I was in a state of doing all the time, working non-stop!  And then, I was at the hostel’s patio in Mendoza, Argentina, and I remember that I laid on a hammock, read a book, and talked to random people in the hostel.  It was the first time in my life that I did nothing and still enjoyed, just from being. It was also my first time as a solo traveler after I split away from my Israeli friends in Cordoba. That means I chose to do nothing.

Since then, on the same trip, I experienced different aspects of this feeling, for example, I rent a bicycle and rode by myself along the “Seven lakes route” for a long full day, and enjoyed every second of it, especially the little things along the way.

On the other hand, those times when I wasn’t proactive, I felt miserable and tired. Once I took responsibility, I used my freedom to choose and knew that I can rule my world, to be whoever I want to be.

After ten months of traveling in South America (and Cuba and Canada), I came back to Israel, sent my C.V. and began my journey as a Senior Software Engineer in a startup company. Which is also something I’m passionate about, and I’ve been working there since then to make the world more efficient on a daily basis.

Back then, I thought that I won’t backpack ever again. Because now I have significant responsibilities in my work. To my surprise, I found out that by being proactive one more time, and by planning ahead with my employer, I was able to make some backpacking trips again. This time for Mexico, Spain, and Costa Rica, and celebrate total freedom once more.

Between all the travels I tried to have the feeling of Relaxation and Freedom in my everyday life but didn’t find a way. Until…

One day, a friend of mine introduced me to meditation. With practice, I managed to get into the relaxation state and to take things with ease, be less stressed and to enjoy the moment. Suddenly I realized that freedom doesn’t appear only when I travel, but at every moment, in every decision, in every step.

Traveling doesn’t have to be just abroad. It is unrealistic for me to travel a lot overseas and keep my day job.  Israel is such a diverse country: deserts, mountains, lakes, snow, seas, swamps, we have everything here! And I want to enjoy it as much as I can, even more than any other place in the world and to share it with you.

So why blogging? What is SeñorTraveler all about?

The SeñorTraveler project is a platform.
It is a platform to share those feelings and the experiences with everyone.
It is a platform to create a community of travelers who want to join and explore with me Israel and the world.
It is a platform to add more information about traveling and the life in Israel and to help travelers to fully experience Israel.
It is a platform for me to get better in English as a writer and as a speaker.

I hope you will enjoy my posts, my journey, and that it will also be helpful for you.

Leave a comment to show your support and tell me what do you wish to know more about Israel.