TEL AVIV, Israel – Wow, what a start to my trip, literally.Before I even boarded the plane from Newark to Tel Aviv the challenges began.
I was at my gate with 90 minutes to spare before boarding began, and as I handed my passport and boarding pass to the El Al Airlines staff member when it was time to board, the trouble started.
To put it simply, they didn’t believe I was traveling to Israel to just visit my friend and then backpack Europe with just a backpack, but literally, that’s all there is to it.
After an hour of being asked questions and having everything in my backpack being inspected in a private room as I was scared not knowing what was going to happen, I was cleared and was the final person to board the plane – two minutes before takeoff.
So that’s one way to start the trip, by not even knowing if you’re going to be allowed on the plane.
However, I appreciate the safety precautions they took. After all, I’m not the most typical person that usually travels to Israel, and just with a backpack for two months. So I rather have that safety be taken than letting just anyone on the plane.
Then, after a smooth 10-hour plane ride, I arrived in Tel Aviv, as we flew over the Mediterranean Sea and then there he was, my best friend, Ron, waiting for me.
We didn’t waste a second once I dropped my backpack off at his apartment and changed into my bathing suite – away we went to live it up.
First stop: an authentic hummus breakfast. Holy cow, this was some good stuff. Hummus with oil, tahini sauce, a hard boiled egg and beans to be eaten up by fresh, hot pita bread. After a meal like that and a walk through a beautiful market filled with an array of food delicacies, I knew I made it – my adventure has begun.
As one of Ron’s friends said to me, Tel Aviv can be best described as a combination of Italy and Miami – it’s an extremely modern city, with a huge European feel, with palm trees everywhere you look and a huge getaway for many Americans.