Happy New Year 2017! It’s a new year and also time for a new monthly recap. After spending three weeks in Turkey, I finally moved on and flew to Israel at the beginning of the month. I spent two weeks traveling around Israel and Palestine, then flew to Cyprus for a few days, and from there to Jordan. I was planning to stay longer in Jordan, but it was just so cold that I had enough. I booked my flight to Bahrain and ended up staying only a week and a half in Jordan. I spent my Christmas in Petra, Jordan, and New Year’s Eve in Bahrain.
Countries Visited: Turkey, Israel, Palestine, Cyprus, Jordan, Bahrain = 6
Cities / Towns visited: Turkey: Istanbul; Israel: Tel Aviv, Caesarea, Haifa, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Masada, Ein Gedi; Palestine: Bethlehem, Jericho, Qumran; Cyprus: Larnaca; Jordan: Amman, Jerash, Ajloun, Madaba, Petra, Wadi Rum + Mount Nebo and the Dead Sea; Bahrain: All over the country
New Countries: Palestine, Cyprus, Jordan, Bahrain = 4
Country Count: 75/197
Modes of Transportation Taken: Bus, minibus, airplane, train, jeep, taxi (I’ve been traveling for four months and the first time I took a taxi was in Jordan)
Places I’ve Slept in: Hostel, hotel, Airbnb, airplane
Nights without bed: 1
Somehow I managed to decrease this number. The only time I didn’t have a bed for the night was when I flew from Jordan to Bahrain (with a three-hour layover in Dubai).
I had wanted to visit Petra for so long, and now I finally made it there. I had met a German girl in a hostel in Jerusalem, and we met again in Amman. We decided to book a little bit of nicer hotel for Petra (it’s always so much cheaper when you can share a room with someone). So we spent five days together exploring Petra and Wadi Rum. I spent my Christmas in Petra, and it was probably one of the best Christmases ever!
This is probably the most vegan-friendly city I’ve ever been to. I didn’t have time to try all of the vegan restaurants, but I’ll try to get together a post of some of the places I went to. Tel Aviv is also LGBT-friendly city, and I had so much fun checking out all of the lesbian parties city has to offer.
Reading the news
Terrorist attacks have been happening everywhere I’ve been traveling. First, there was a bomb attack in Istanbul near the stadium and then another one during a New Year in a nightclub. After spending so much time in Istanbul and meeting amazing people there, it is just devastating to hear what’s happening over there.
Then I traveled to Jordan, and I was about to visit Kerak Castle when I heard that there was a terrorist attack as well. Now I’m in Bahrain and just this morning armed men freed inmates (who were convicted of terrorism charges) from a prison.
I’m not a fan of cold weather. I never complain if it’s really hot, but if I’m freezing, that’s like the end of the world. It’s been too cold for me since Albania – and I was there at the end of October. After that, I traveled to Bulgaria, Turkey, Israel, Palestine, Cyprus, and Jordan. And I’ve been freezing my ass off. Cyprus was probably the lowlight of the month. I only stayed there for three days, and the whole time it was cold, windy and rainy. I stayed in an apartment with a lovely sea view but even the apartment was so cold that I was just laying on a bed in my sleeping bag and under three blankets, wearing all of my clothes – and I was still freezing. This continued in Jordan, and that’s when I decided to skip Lebanon and booked a flight to Bahrain instead. Such a shame I couldn’t enjoy Cyprus. I had read this post on things to do in Cyprus, and I had to admit I didn’t do any of those things.
There was just so much to see and do in Israel that two weeks wasn’t enough. I loved Tel Aviv because it’s both vegan-friendly and LGBT-friendly city. I loved Jerusalem because of the culture and interesting sights. I loved Masada because of the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever seen.
As I already mentioned, Petra was my highlight of the month. I was there during Christmas, and it was perfect timing because it wasn’t too crowded at all. I think that most of the people will travel after Christmas.
Anastasia, Tel Aviv
If I could only pick one vegan restaurant in Tel Aviv, this would be the one. Laid-back atmosphere, healthy and tasty vegan dishes and delicious smoothies.
Gala Gelateria, Tel Aviv
100% vegan ice cream shop offering gelato, frozen yogurt, waffles, crepes… Yum!
Hummus El Sham, Haifa
There is a famous hummus and falafel restaurant in Haifa which is featured in Lonely Planet. I don’t travel with guidebooks so I’m never aware of these places but I was traveling with a girl from my hostel, and she had a guide book. We checked out the famous restaurant, but there was a huge line of tourists waiting for food, and they didn’t have any free seats. I spotted a small local restaurant just on the other side of the road, and we decided to eat there instead. The food was fantastic and cheap! Best hummus and foul I’ve ever had! And also some kind of a chickpea paste (not sure of the name) which was really tasty. This restaurant doesn’t have an English name (yet), but it’s located opposite of HaZkenim and right from Felafel Michel (another famous falafel restaurant from Lonely Planet). If you make it there, say hi to Stefan!
Abu Zagleh, Amman
The problem with eating in Jordan is that you are always charged more because you are a tourist. I’m traveling on a budget, and for a long time, so it really bothers me when people try to charge me more. I’m not just visiting your country for a few days and then going back to my day job! I asked the prices in several restaurants in Amman but always ended up eating here because they don’t charge you more than locals. You can clearly see the prices on the menu and the prices are same for both locals and tourists. The food is also delicious. So if you are looking for an affordable restaurant in Amman, eat here!
Ein Gedi in Israel, and the Dead Sea in the distance
A random girl watching the sunrise at Masada
Me watching the sunrise at Masada and also one of the first GoPro pictures I’ve taken!
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Coming up in January 2017
I’m flying to Comoros in two days, and honestly, I don’t know anything about this place. Comoros is a small island nation in Africa, next to Madagascar. I’ve never heard anyone traveling there, and I can hardly find any information online. My plan is to fly there and try to find out about ferry options to Madagascar (I’m not sure if there are any). From Madagascar, I would like to continue to Mauritius. Let’s see how this goes… Wish me luck!