Categories
Eilat

Saturday Morning in Timna Park

Timna Park is one of the most interesting spots along the way to and from Eilat. My family and I decided to take one of our guests to the park on a warm Saturday morning. It was 32 degrees outside at 8:30 a.m. Yes, I highly recommend coming here in winter.

Timna Park is a huge park, covering about 15,000 acres, full of beautiful desert scenery and some historical spots. The Timna Valley was the site of the first copper mine in the world. While touring the place for only a couple of hours, we found many ancient mining shafts. The Egyptians have spent a long time in this area, mining copper, so we also found some ancient Egyptian inscriptions on the rock walls (at “The Solomon Pillars”)  and the remainings of an ancient temple. Our guest, who came from abroad, said she’d never seen a place so enchanting like this.

Some sites to see in Timna Park:

The Arches Site:

The Arches are made of sandstone and are one of the most beautiful sites in Timna Park. You can climb up to the larger arch by using a ladder of bars stuck in the stone. There’s a short and beautiful trail leading from the arch back down, with a high ladder along the way. All around this area there are also some ancient copper mines, which are closed so you won’t accidently fall into them. One collapsed mine is open to the public, so you can crawl through it if you don’t mind getting a bit dusty.

See the two holes far in the distance?

The Mushroom:

The Mushroom is one of Timna Park’s most iconic rock formations. It’s made of red sandstone, that’s been shaped like a mushroom by erosion. Near the Mushroom is a kind of visitor center, with information about the process of copper smelting. If you’re coming with children, there’s also a model of a copper smelting oven, which all of you can try to operate.

The Mushroom is there… Can you spot it?

Solomon Pillars:

The Solomon Pillars are also one of the top rock formations inside the park. These pillars are also made of sandstone and were shaped by erosion along the cracks in the hard red sandstone. They’re called Solomon Pillars, but the truth is that Solomon most likely didn’t come here to mine copper. The Egyptians (and other ethnics), on the other hand, did. If you’ll go a bit right from the place photographed in the photo below, you’ll find an ancient Egyptian temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess, Hathor. You can also climb up to see an Egyptian inscription in the rock.

The Solomon Pillars. Can’t miss them

Also, make sure to stop at the Timna Articial Lake and fill up some plastic bottles with colorful sand, so you can take something back home.

A colorful bottle

Practical info:

The park is situated about 25 km from Eilat, a 20 minutes’ drive from the city. It is possible to take a bus to the station that’s situated in front of the road leading to the park, but you should get ready for a lot of walking if you’re not coming with a car. It’s recommended to visit Timna Park by car. Elsewise, you will have to hike or bike in the park all day and maybe more. I’m not a biker, but I’ve heard there are awesome bike singles all around the park! And it costs just 60 ILS for a half day bike rental from the park’s entrance.

There is a mid-range entrance fee. 

The park is open Sundays to Thursdays between 8:00 and 16:00 and Fridays between 8:00-13:00 (in Winter). In Summer the opening hours are shorter. Check out the official site for hours – http://www.parktimna.co.il/EN/.

There is an option to camp inside the park. For more details about this option, email the park at timna8@parktimna.co.il.

Pin this post for later!


See how you can combine Timna Park in your trip to Eilat – 3 to 5 Days in Eilat: Travel Ideas.

If you liked this post or found it useful, please don’t hesitate to like, share or comment (:

Also, if you think anything is missing or have any more questions, please send me a message through my Facebook pageBackpack Israel or email me through lior@backpackisrael.com.

And if you’re planning a trip to Israel, don’t forget to check out my FREE app – Travel Israel for Android and iOS.

Yours,

Lior

Categories
Food Tel Aviv

“The Best Falafel in Tel Aviv”

I’m not a big fan of falafel, but people here love it. Two days ago I met a young girl who is part of an interesting program named “אחי ישראלי” (or in translation to English: “My Brother is Israeli”). I can tell a lot of interesting stories about our meeting, which took place thanks to CoachSurfing, but today I would like to concentrate on the falafel side of the story.

The truth is, we didn’t talk a lot about falafel. We just talked a bit about my website, Backpack Israel, amongst other things, and then she said that I should recommend a specific falafel place in Tel Aviv, located on King George Street. “They sell the greatest falafel I’ve ever tasted, and it’s only 6 shekels for a meal!” she said. But when I looked on the Internet for a falafel place on that street, I found a lot of results.

“There’s no way I’m going to find your falafel place!” I said.

She said she’ll search for it for me and after a few minutes she found the place. “Falafel Ratzon,” she said, “That’s the one.”

Then she took a peice of tissue paper and wrote the details down on it:

“Falafel Ratzon

King George 17

Tel Aviv”

So if you want to taste one of the best falafels in Tel Aviv, you should make your way to Ratzon’s. 6 Shekels is without a doubt a superb price! Enjoy.

Opening Hours: Sundays to Thursdays from 10:00 to 20:00, Fridays from 10:00 to 15:00.

Visit Falafel Ratzon’s Facebook page – here.

Categories
Festivals & holidays Jerusalem

Best June Festivals in Israel

Planning on visiting Israel in June? It’s almost summertime! You might want to know about some of the best festivals going on in June in Israel. Here are three of the best festivals taking place in June:

Israel Festival

One of the most important cultural festivals in Jerusalem, founded in 1961. Enjoy many musical, dance and theatrical shows, performed by artists from Israel and abroad. You need to purchase tickets beforehand, through the festival’s website – http://israel-festival.org/prices-and-specials/?lang=en.

The festival is not free of charge. 

Where? All around Jerusalem.

When? 26th of May until 11th of June.

Looking for a hotel in Jerusalem? Find yout hotel here.

Just Be Naked – Pashut Festival

If you’re interested in a truly special experience, we urge you to book a place in this unique festival, taking place in the Israeli desert. Pull off your clothes and feel truly free of masks. Take part in interesting lectures, workshops and parties. You do not have to be nude if you do not want to.

The festival is not free of charge. 

Where? In “Desert Ashram”.

When? 9-12 of June.

For more info, visit the official website of Pashut Festival.

Sunbeat Festival

One of the best global beat festivals in Israel. Enjoy plenty of live shows, parties and DJ music with local and international artists! You can sleep in a tent in the park during the festival.

The festival is not free of charge. 

Where? Nature Reserve Jordan Park in the northeastern Sea of Galilee.

When? 12-13 of June.

For more info, visit the offical website of Sunbeat Festival. 

 

 

Categories
Eilat Free things to do

An Artistic Tour of Eilat

Almost a year ago I opened a blog called “mark APPoint“. Sadly, I couldn’t find the time to really work on that blog and after a few posts I kind of abandoned it. It’s a shame, because that blog was beautiful. I’m thinking about renewing my work on it. But at the meantime, I have this blog and you guys, and would like to share with you one of my old posts from “mark APPoint”. It’s called “First Challenge: Ziona Tagger’s Sketches of Eilat“. The post takes you on an artistic tour of Eilat, through the eyes of one of Israel’s greatest artists, Ziona Tagger. Very short tour, completely free of charge. Have a look.

Categories
Eilat Food

The First Ice Cream Parlor in Eilat

There’s always something new to discover. Today I visited the first ice cream parlor in Eilat, “Pini Lek”, which was opened in the city in 1958. I’ve been living in Eilat for around eight years now and haen’t been to this parlor… It’s located near Mor Centre (מרכז מור), a small commercial centre on Eilot Road, about a 15 minutes’ walk from the touristic downtown city.

It’s a very small parlor, with a few round tables and chairs. You can pick from an average number of flavors and there are also some options for vegans and people who don’t like a lot of sugar in their ice cream. But what makes this parlor special is its special cones. Homemade cones, brought to you in a cup. It looks like a flower. Very strange sight, but delicious. I ordered the special cone, a scoop of cookies ice cream and a scoop of cherry ice cream.

What did I like about this place?

* It’s small and quiet. The parlor does sit on a main road, but not in the touristic side of the city, so not many cars drive by. My friend and I enjoyed a great ice cream and because there wasn’t much noise around, had no problem chatting.

* The ice cream is tasty. Unlike other ice creams, that can taste quite badly, this ice cream was great!

* The price is great! You pay according to weight, so the more your ice cream weights, the more you pay. I paid only 11 shekels for my ice cream (2 scoops). Ice creams usually cost 18 shekels +.

* The ice cream seller was very nice and friendly. 

So if you fancy a good ice cream in Eilat, make your way to this special place, “Pini Lek”. Every Eilati will know how to point you there. Now I do, too.

Categories
Eilat Transportation Trip Planning Tips

Buying a Bus Ticket in Israel

A few days ago I got a message from a visitor to my site. She said that it could be great if I would have added to the site some info about bus tickets in Israel.


Before you read on, just making sure you know that there’s no public transportation during Shabbat and some holidays in Israel. Want to learn more? Read – There’s No Public Transportation on Shabbat 


In Israel you don’t have to purchase a bus ticket before getting on the bus (update: this will change in Jerusalem beginning June 2018 and in Tel Aviv beginning December 2018. You will need to get a Rav-Kav and purchase a ticket before getting on the bus). You usually buy your ticket from the driver the moment you get aboard. But there is an exception and it’s the Egged bus driving to and from Eilat. That bus has reserved seats in it, so if you won’t purchase a ticket before getting on the bus (you can do so starting from 2 weeks prior to your travel date), you might arrive and find out that there’s no empty seat for you. Then the driver might let you stand the whole way to your destination or refuse to get you on, and in that case you will have to wait for the next bus to come.

To purchase your ticket beforehand, you have three options:

1- Go to the bus station at least a day (and up to a week) before your ride and order a ticket from the ticket booth. You can also come on the same and try your luck – there might be an empty seat, but might not be.

2- Dial +972-3-6948888 and reserve your place through costumer service.

3- Reserve your place online, through the Hebrew ordering system.

In the two last cases you will not get your ticket immediately. You will get a reservation number, which you will use later in the self service ticket machine, situated in every central station in Israel.

Here is the full guide to buying a bus ticket from/ to Eilat:

In Israel, you usually pay for your bus ticket only when getting on the bus. But there’s an exception – the Egged bus leading to or from Eilat, which has reserved seats. You can pay for the ride to or from Eilat when getting on the bus, but then you’re risking the option of standing all the way or worse, having to wait for the next bus to come because there’s no room for you on the first one.

Buses Driving to/from Eilat

So which buses are those with the reserved seats? Here’s a list:

To/ from Jerusalem (spelled ירושלים in Hebrew) – line 444 (stopping at Mesada and Dead Sea), 445.

To/ from Tel Aviv (spelled תל אביב in Hebrew) – line 394 (stopping at Be’er Sheva), line 390 and line 393 (stopping at Be’er Sheva).

To/ from Be’er Sheva (spelled באר שבע in Hebrew) – line 394 (final stop Tel Aviv if coming from Eilat), line 392 and line 397.

To/ from Haifa (spelled חיפה in Hebrew) – line 991.

So how to buy a ticket to/ from Eilat?

Here’s the video guide and below you can find it all written down (for those who prefer the written word):

1 – Enter the Egged website

2- Click “Book online” on the header menu.

3- Click “Tickets to Eilat”.

4- Dial the costumer service through +972-3-6948888 or purchase your ticket online by clicking “Order Ticket Online (He)”.

5- A new window will pop up, directing you to the reservations system of Egged in Hebrew. 

Look at the picture below to understand what you should do:

6- After filling in all the data and clicking “המשך”, you will be directed to the timetable of your requested bus route. Choose the time that best suits you and click on “המשך” to get to the next step in your reservation.

7- Congrats! You’ve made it to the final step – payment. Fill in all the details. choose the method of payment and click “אישור הזמנה” to complete your reservation. In the picture below you can find out how to fill in everything:

Important note: When filling in your passport number, do not type an alphanumeric ID. The section only works with numbers, so type in your ID with numbers only (no letters).

8- After completing the reservation, you will get a reservation number, which you will use afterwards, so keep it!

If you’re planning on getting on the bus from one of the main stations, you will find in the station a self-service ticket machine, called “Eilatomat”.

One type of Eilatomat. Here you need to click on the button to your right (red circle)
The second screen. Press the left button

You will need to get your ticket from this machine by putting in your passport number (ID number) (מספר דרכון / מספר ת.ז. / מספר תעודת זהות) and reservation number (מספר הזמנה). The machine operates in English as well. You can get your ticket up to two hours before your departure time. I advise you to arrive at the station at least 20 minutes before departure. If you’re getting on the bus at a stop that has no station, show the bus driver your reservation number (write the number which appears on the screen after you complete payment). The driver should already have your name in his or her list.

Note – if you also buy a return ticket online, you will get a 20{f224ba440c8e8489685f5be0eb52a1764ff3ab93b94d860236479bc3f69cbf7f} discount on the ticket.

Still having problems with purchasing your ticket? I’ll be happy to help you. Send a message to my Facebook Page: Backpack Israel. I can also book the ticket for you at a service charge of 10 ILS.

Enjoy your ride!


Found my post useful? It would be great to get a like, a comment or a share 🙂

If you need help with planning your trip to Israel, have a look in the app I made with Travelkosh – Travel Israel on Google Play and iTunes

Head pic credit: Grauesel CC BY-SA 3.0 from Wikimedia Commons

Yours,

Lior

Categories
Free things to do Tel Aviv

Greeting You in Tel Aviv – Free Walking Tours

Are you planning on coming to Tel Aviv soon and wondering what’s the best way to see the city? Well, the best way to see it is through a local’s point of view. And that’s why I recommend you to check out the wondeful program – Tel Aviv Greeter.

To be honest, I’ve only heard about this program a few days ago, when I stumbled upon “Live, Laugh, Leipzig“, an interesing blog written by a couple who jumped for a short visit to Israel. I highly recommend checking out their impressions from Israel. Very valuable info in there…

So, back to Tel Aviv Greeter. The couple from “Live, Laugh, Leipzig” loved the concept. I myself haven’t used the program, so they are the only ones that can really recommend it firsthand.

I did take a look in the program’s website. The service is given to foreign travellers by Tel Aviv residents, who love their city and want to show you around for free. There is no tipping policy as well. They will show you around the city for about 2-3 hours and then you can start wandering around by your own.

How do you get a Greeter? You need to fill out a form through the official website of the program, preferably at least three weeks before your planned visit, so that the organizers can try to match you the perfect Greeter.

The official “Tel Aviv Greeter” website: http://www.telavivgreeter.com/.

Did you use “Tel Aviv Greeter” while traveling in Israel? Do you know of some other cool program that can help budget travellers? I will be happy to hear about your experiences in the comments or here- through my contact form.

Categories
Festivals & holidays Jerusalem Tel Aviv

The Best May Festivals in Israel

In Israel we like to have fun, celebrate occasions, discover new things and just enjoy our time. If you’re planning to come to Israel in May, you might want to know about some of the best festivals taking place in Israel at that time of year. Here are three of the best festivals taking place in May:

Light in Jerusalem Festival

This light festival is one of the most impressive festivals in Israel, taking place in Jerusalem. You can wander around the Old City of Jerusalem and admire the beautiful works of art that lighten up the Old City Walls. I’ve been to this festival last year and was enchanted by the wonderful light shows! Free of charge.

Where? The Old City of Jerusalem.

When? 25th of May until 2nd of June.

For more info, check the official site of Light in Jerusalem Festival 2016.

International Photography Festival

If you’re interested in photogrpahy and planning to visit Tel Aviv-Jaffa while in Israel this May, you should take part in this great festival. Hundreds of photographers will showcase their works of art in the different galleries, and many more photographic activities will take place. The festival requires an entry fee. 

Where? Jaffa Port and The Old City.

When? 23rd of April until 7th of May.

For more info, check the official site of international Photography Festival.

Jacob’s Ladder Festival

One of the leading music festivals in Israel, taking place next to the Sea of Galilee (Kineret). This is the festival for all you music lovers. You can enjoy many different concerts, alongside other activities, such as dance and music workshops and yoga sessions. There’s planty of room for tents. The festival requires an entry fee. 

Where? Nof Ginosar, situated next to Kibbutz Ginosar, next to the Sea of Galilee.

When? 19-21 of May.

For more info, check the official site of Jacob’s Ladder Festival.

Categories
Trip Planning Tips

Backpack Israel – The Beginning

Yesterday I published “Backpack Israel” after thinking about it for over a month.

The idea popped up while I was travelling in South Africa.

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

All along my trip, which lasted about two months, my heart was in Israel. If you ever had the chance to travel somewhere in the world, you must have heard the popular question: “So where are you from?” I, of course, replied that I am from Israel. The first number of times I replied with hesitation. We, Israelis, have the idea that people around the world don’t like us and that they will give us a frown or worse – hurt us – if we tell them where we are from. My parents taught me from a very early age to try and not speak Hebrew abroad and to not wear any Israeli symbols. They were fearful that that will bring anti-Semitism. So that is why I replied with hesitation at first, but I found out very quickly that there is nothing to worry about. All the travellers I met reacted very well when I told them I was from Israel. Some have even been here before, and others would like to come. When I told some travellers that we in Israel think that the whole world hates us, they told me that I was wrong. We are exaggerating. Not all the people take the news seriously and a lot of people know that they can’t really judge us.

Then we started talking about Israel. Most travellers I’ve met know nothing about Israel. They don’t know that there is a mandatory military service in Israel, they don’t know that Israel is more than a desert and they don’t know what language do we speak there. They think Israel is not safe, because all they heard about is that Israel is in an everlasting war. So is Israel safe? Yes, it’s very safe. If you’re thinking about travelling to Israel, the main thing you should worry about is not your safety, but rather your wallet. Israel is expensive. That is why I opened “Backpack Israel” – to try and give you tips that will hopefully make your visit to Israel more affordable. And to give you a lot more information about all the subjects you’ve always wondered about: Israeli politics, culture and history.

So now I need to start working! The site will be under construction for a while. Hope to finish the basics in about a month from now!

In this blog I’ll give you some more personal stories about life in Israel.