Hello, readers! Since all (one) of the votes I received last week requested a post about Israel, here it is!

The first thing about Israel is that…

giant birds


They have giant birds on their buildings.

(Just kidding! I took this picture at a place called Mini Israel, where there are lots of models of everywhere in Israel. I thought it was funny that real birds perched on the tiny buildings.)

The real first thing about Israel is that the landscape is very diverse. It might look like this…

dead sea

This is the Dead Sea. It’s true! You can actually float in it! But it burns any cuts you have.

… and five minutes later, look like this…


Part of the desert.

…and then like this.


This is actually the forest of trees which are planted when you get that little “A tree has been planted for you!” card.

There are so many different types of landscapes. Forest, desert, plains, lakes, coast, mountains… you name it, it’s there. Israel is a very beautiful place.

There is also lots of contrast in Israel. Some parts look like this…


bridge of strings

This is the Bridge of Strings in Jerusalem. It’s really cool-looking!

And some parts look like this.


An old wall in a mountain fortress.

In the streets of Jerusalem, you can find fancy boutiques, which are well-lit, clean, and like fancy stores in the US. But you can also find stores in small alleyways, selling souvenirs and handmade goods, where the price has to be bargained for. (For some reason, the starting price for everything is 120 shekels. But you can usually buy what you’re looking for for less than half of that.)

But I think the biggest contrast in Israel is summed up by this picture.

flowers & minesThis is a sign warning you of a minefield, surrounded by wildflowers.  The flowers add such beauty to the scene, but the danger is always there. Similarly, Israel is a rich and beautiful land. But it is surrounded by danger. Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt all border with Israel. And all of them would love to see it be part of their country, instead of belonging to the Jewish people. Soldiers holding machine guns are everywhere. Yet people still live normal, or even more-than-normal, lives. Israel is an amazing land. I’m glad I was able to go.