I loved taking a cable car up to the high desert and touring around the ancient fortress Masada.

Israel continues to amaze me and I’m so glad I made it here to keep on learning the rich history around this fanscinating region.

Masada is located near the shore of the Dead Sea, 450 meters above the level of the Dead Sea. To get into the palatial fortress high up in the mountain, we no longer need to hike all the way up through the snake path like ancient people did. A 3-minute cable car ride is all we need. Of course, the option of walking up the Snake Path is available for you if you choose to. I didn’t see anyone on the Snake Path in the 40+ degree heat though. These cable car are quite big but look rather small from a distance, you get a sense about how high the fortress is.

Enjoy the view to the Dead Sea once you step out of the cable car. The colours are so incredibly dreamy and I looked forward to a dip and float in the Dead Sea soon.

Masada was one of many splendid creations by Herod, king of Judea. It was built in the style of the ancient Roman East. “The camps, fortifications and assault ramp at its base constitutes the most complete surviving ancient Roman siege system in the world.”

I adore everything old and beautiful. People have different travel preferences. Some like watching wild life, some like going to beach resorts. I like exploring ancient ruins. Give me any old castle, temple or old side street, I could wander and get lost in time 100% content.

I’ve certainly learned a lot of about of King Herod from my Israeli trip. One clever man he was. Superbly clever. He built a luxurious palace in the middle of a desert, high above the ground. He used the geographically strategic advantage of Masada as  as refugee against his enemies. This palace was well – stocked with food and water, well – equipped for defence in case of a seige.

King Herod even brought water all the way up there to build a large Roman bath house! Imagine having a bath and sauna in the dry desert, 400 meters above the ground! My simple brain would give up the idea immediately but King Herod made it a reality.

Floor plan of the bathhouse. It is really huge!

Sauna room with water holes

As you walk around the site, you’ll find thick black lines run through the walls of those ruins. That is a mark to let visitors know that everything below the black line is part of the original construction while everything above the black line is done by later restoration.

The whole national park is simply stunning, I don’t think any picture could capture its really beauty but I was trying to capture it nevertheless. 🙂

Look how high it is. Ancient people used to climb up by foot!

Over looking the Dead Sea. Falling in love with the views again and again.

Visiting Masada is a must while you are travelling in Israel. In case you worry, the site is well – facilitated with bathrooms, free chilled drinking water, snack bars and a restaurant serving delicious buffet.

Open Hours and Cable Car Operation:

Apr – Sep: 8am – 5pm

Oct – Mar: 8am – 4pm

Most people commented “You are very brave” when they found out I was travelling to Israel on my own. Middle East, is unsafe for travellers in many people’s eyes. My personal experience in Tel Aviv speaks otherwise.

I was of course, a little concerned flying into Israel without knowing anyone but the airport transfer all turned out fine. My hotel room in Tel Aviv, to my surprise, had direct views to the beach. I could see the sun beaming, people running on the beach and colourful paragliders all over the sky, just like they do over beaches in Sydney. Best of all, I could watch sunset on the beach in my room! That was a perfect set up for a day dreamer like me.

My schedule was tight, there were so many places to see, no time for day dreaming. Everyday I was on a day tour to explore different parts in Israel and this country really fascinates me. One day I met Sharon, a (medical) Doctor from Cape Town, who’s been to Tel Aviv before. My trip turned out to be even better.

I was travelling alone and intended to keep pretty much all to myself. My plan for that evening was to walk alone on the beach, enjoy more sea breeze and another beautiful sunset. Sharon called me from behind on my way back to my hotel and asked if I’d like to go for a walk on the beach together. “Sure,” I replied. She looked nice and a company like that doesn’t hurt. But we didn’t just had a little walk on the beach, she took me to the Old Town of Tel Aviv and showed me around. Without her, I wouldn’t know how wonderful Old Jaffa is – that was like the best personal tour ever. And I couldn’t be more grateful.

Looking back to the new town from old town Tel Aviv – a mixed world of old and new:

Approaching the old town:

Iron cannons left from when Napoleon conquered Jaffa in 1799:

The iconic bell tower of Franciscan Church:

Keep exploring… We watched sunset together. There wasn’t a single cloud on the sky, which allowed us to watch the last bit of evening sun dipping into Mediterranean sea. And the wonderful, winding sandstone alleyways – I could walk in those for days! Israelis are such creative, artistic people. You’ll be amazed how beautifully decorated the doors and side streets are.

I’m not a religious person who could tell the religious significance of many old monuments, but words can’t express how much I appreciate the beauty and rich history of Old Jaffa!

Jaffa Port at night.

Tel Aviv is modern and fun with a brilliant mix of old and new. You can feel the relaxed, happy and romantic Mediterranean air in the whole city, day and night. No wonder it’s been such a popular holiday destination for Europeans.Note to people from Jerusalem who said there’s nothing in Tel Aviv: That’s not a true statement. Please don’t mislead your guests:). Old Jaffa is one of Israel’s most ancient cities and there are plenty to do and see. For people who are scared to travel to Israel, please don’t listen too much to the media. 🙂 It’s totally safe to travel to, even for a not so confident, single female traveller like me.

I didn’t know where Rosh Hanikra is; didn’t even have time to Google it before I went. I simple trusted the driver and the tour guide that they’d take me to somewhere rather amazing. They surely did. It was more than an amazing experience.

What is turquoise blue? The colour of sea water here is! Looking down from the top of the cliff, I couldn’t stopping thinking how impeccably, naturally beautiful Israel is.

Following along the board walk, we were about to take a short cable car ride down the cliff to see those spectacular grottoes that used to be only accessible by capable native swimmers and divers. This cable car is supposed to be the steepest cable car in the world, with a 60 degree gradient. One yellow, one red. They are easily the cutest too.

The steepest cable car in the world

The steepest cable car in the world

I was about to explore the grottoes in peace. All of a sudden, groups of screaming school kids rushed to the entrance. I was pushed in every direction inside the tunnel but it didn’t spoilt the spectacular sight.

Walking out of the tunnel, you’d be welcomed by those white chalk cliff faces and more stunning scenery. It felt like a dream.

My selfie skill sucks but who could resist a photo with this dreamy background?

Rosh Hanikra is right on the boarder of Israel and Lebanon. This sign clearly shows the distance to capital cities of both countries from this point.

Across the road from that wall, is the boarder crossing. Residing in a country so remote from any neighbour countries, it still fascinates me how close it could be from one country to another.

I’ve been wanting to see Egypt for as long as I remember, but never had a strong desire to explore Israel. Since I decided to go Jordan and Egypt and Jordan anyway, it’s logical to tag Israel along. This might be a once in a life time opportunity to see this part of the world. You know, Australia is so far far away from everywhere in the world.

My first day day trip started from Haifa which was different from my tour itinerary but somehow things got mixed up. It’s another story and all part of travelling adventure. By the end of the day, I was glad the tour started Haifa because it showed me how stunning Israel is!

I’ve seen the pictures of Bahai Garden on the internet before so I know it’s beautiful. On the other hand, places can look a lot better in photos than reality so I was prepared to be underwhelmed. Oh my. How pessimistic I was – the view to Bahai Garden in Haifa is simply breathtaking! I took numerous photos of the garden but wasn’t sure photos did its justice.:) From top down or bottom up, the garden is just picture perfect from different angles. Look at the amazing colour of sea water – true turquoise blue! I fell in love with the view immediately.

Israel is also a super technology advanced country. The tour bus was well equipped with USB cable charger, free Wifi. Those popular apps like Whatsup and Waze are all developed by Israel. As you can see, there are a lot of office buildings located here in Haifa. The bus windows were nice and clean so I snapped a few city shots of Haifa while we were driving away.

Bahai World Center – a UNESCO World Heritage Site

View from the upper terraces on Mount Carmel

Remind you of somewhere?

Can’t wait to share all the other amazing places in Israel!