Firstly, to Israel, where an infectious spirit of confidence and
creativity abounds, no more obviously than in the beachfront bars,
boutiques and Bauhaus buildings of Tel Aviv, barely a one camel
town a century ago but which has now swallowed up the ancient and
still charming port of Jaffa.
Away from this famous city within a city, and despite a sizeable
population in a relatively small area, Israel has many areas of
staggering beauty and remoteness such as the Negev Desert, which
remains home to Bedouin settlements, and the freakish phenomenon of
the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth.
Israel is also a country that engenders a strange sense of
reassurance, even in first time visitors. After all, anyone raised
in a Christian country will have a certain innate familiarity with
place names such as Nazareth, or Bethlehem and Jericho in the
Palestinian West Bank. On the subject, no visit to the Holy Land is
complete without a visit to the West Bank, even if just for a day
trip to Bethlehem, when we would always recommend seeing more than
just the Church of the Nativity with your Palestinian guide.
And then there's Jerusalem; part Israel, part Palestinian West
Bank, all enigma. No city comes close to matching Jerusalem for
heritage, mystique and convoluted history, and we only work with
the most accomplished guides who can bring this highly complex and
highly rewarding place vividly to life. Put simply, this small
sliver of Eastern Mediterranean Holy Land packs more of a
historical punch than any place on the planet.
But it's not all about history - Israeli food is as good as most
in the Middle East, and the locals have a strong and infectious
desire for living life to the full. This is also a surprisingly
good destination for family holidays with weather to knock ours
into a cocked hat, and all just five hours away with daily direct