From Tel Aviv, we flew to Stuttgart, Germany with an overnight stopover in Belgrade, Serbia. Our luggage was checked through to Stuttgart, so we were traveling leanly while in Belgrade!
We landed in Belgrade late in the evening and were picked up from the airport by our hostel. We got more than a transfer – we got a semi-tour of Belgrade. It was fun to see some of the city’s landmarks – like the parliament building – all lit up, especially since we were in town for such a small amount of time.
We wandered around the neighborhood surrounding our hostel, grabbing a drink and a slice of pizza at a random window.
From Jerusalem, we took the bus to Tel Aviv. The second most populous city in Israel, Tel Aviv is the country’s financial capital and known for its lively atmosphere. Also of note: Tel Aviv sits on the Mediterranean Sea and has a lovely stretch of beaches.
While in Tel Aviv, we stayed with a friend of a friend who lived within walking distance of one of these beaches. Unsurprisingly, we spent our first afternoon and early evening walking along and relaxing on the beach. Continue reading Exiting the Middle East via Tel Aviv→
There was so much to see in Jerusalem (more than we could reasonably see, actually), but that didn’t stop us from using it as a base for a couple of very interesting day trips. One day, we took the bus to Bethlehem, and, another day, we rented a car and drove to Masada and the Dead Sea.
It was an easy bus ride from Jerusalem to Bethlehem,1 and we were able to navigate the city on foot once we arrived. As we walked from the bus station to Manger Square, we passed through some market streets.
After a (not so) quick lunch, we made our way to the Church of the Nativity, which is famous for being constructed above a grotto in which Jesus is said to have been born. The emperor Constantine and his mother first commissioned a church on this site in 327 AD. That first church was destroyed by fire, and a replacement was constructed in 565. Over the course of the next centuries, the Church of the Nativity has been restored, renovated, and expanded many times.