This is the second in my series of Israeli traditions and cultural aspects that I hope to integrate into my own life in New York. Click here for Part I. Click here for Part II. Stay tuned for Part IV!
While Israel may be a small country, it is not densely populated and contains immeasurable natural beauty in the Negev desert, blue seas, and ancient mystical towns and cities. Due to the mostly warm weather and ample open space, Israelis are outdoors a lot, and hiking is a pretty common pastime, with families taking kids of all ages on desert hikes, scaling mountains, swimming in springs, and enjoying nature. We literally saw parents with toddlers on their backs and 6-year-olds dutifully climbing alongside on some of our hikes.
In my week here, Laura and I hiked a trail up to Haifa, which is a city located both on a big hill and in a harbor, and we hiked Ein Gedi, a national park near the Dead Sea. Both hikes were exhilarating, beautiful, and a great way to feel more in tune with nature.
Living in a the concrete jungle, I walk a lot but I rarely experience vast open spaces and nature in this way. To take this tradition back to the states, I’d like to go on more nature-y adventures in and around NYC (e.g., North Fork of Long Island, upstate). I’d also like to make a great effort to walk to places rather than take the subway, especially as the weather gets nicer. The upper west side has Riverside Park, Morningside Park, and Central Park and I haven’t thoroughly explored any of these yet.
[Top and bottom right: Hiking in Ein Gedi. Bottom Left: The view of Haifa from the top]
[Left: Hiking in Ein Gedi. Right: Hiking in Haifa]
[Top: A small oasis in Ein Gedi. Bottom: a view of Jordan across the Dead Sea.]