A lot of people ask me why I started a travel blog. They usually follow it up with nonsense like “…because you don’t appear to be any good at it” but at that point I get all punchy. My brother and I took an awesome trip to Israel in 2012 and I wanted to document it and tell the stories of the trip instead of just saying “good” when someone asked how it was.
As I’ve been doing lately, I’m going to write a single post reviewing the entire trip (for those of you who like longer-form posts), so stay tuned for that post coming either tomorrow or over the weekend, but in the meantime I wanted to post my 5 favorites from Israel, a place to which I’d like to return very soon.
1. Garden of Gethsemane – Jerusalem
It’s hard to keep religion out of things when you visit a place called the Holy Land, but the Garden of Gethsemane was an incredibly moving place for me. Local tradition says that some of these olive trees are more than 2000 years old, which would mean they witnessed the events the night Jesus was arrested in this very garden (if you believe the New Testament to be accurate).
2. Valley of Tears – Golan Heights
One of the fiercest tank battles in history occurred during the Yom Kippur War in 1973 in the Golan Heights. Israeli and Syrian forces fought hard for four days on ground near what is now the Syrian border. Syrian forces eventually withdrew after the outnumbered Israelis managed to stand their ground. Some of the tanks which were destroyed during the battle have been left where they fell as a memorial to those who fought in the battle. In the background of the picture you’ll see a city in Syria, the border being between this hilltop and the city in the background.
3. The Old City – Jerusalem
The Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem looks surprisingly quite new, with fairly uniform architecture and design elements. My brother and I were walking down an alleyway one night and I thought the various sources of light were just beautiful and got lucky with this HDR image from my (at the time camera) Fuji X10.
2. Sea of Galilee – Golan Heights
The last night of our trip involved driving from the Golan Heights to Tel Aviv before our journey home began early the next morning. Part of that drive was along the hills beside the Sea of Galilee where we saw this beautiful sunset. I wanted to pull over to take a picture but the roads had no shoulders and the land next to the roads was identified as active minefields so I had to settle for this picture as I drove towards Tiberias.
1. At the Western Wall – Jerusalem
The Western Wall is one of the holiest places of the Jewish faith. It refers to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, where The Temple stood before being destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Jews from around the world come to the Western Wall to pray and leave papers with prayers in the cracks of the wall. As my brother and I left the wall I happened upon these older gentlemen having a conversation and thought it was a wonderful composition with nice reflections off the floor of the plaza and interesting subjects. Just a quick fleeting moment that I was lucky enough to capture before it was gone. Even though I didn’t really know what I was doing with a camera back then it’s still one of my favorite pictures ever.