Our reader, James Savage from Northern Ireland, found food, football and friendliness when he paid a visit to the Holy Land.

From floating on the Dead Sea to cheering on “our wee country” more than 2,500 miles from home, our trip to Israel was an amazing experience.

I was in Israel to support Northern Ireland in a World Cup qualifier, but there was a lot more of the country that my friends and I wanted to see. We split our time between the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which meant that we could explore all the sights: from the beautiful beaches to the hustle and bustle of an historic city.

Modern Jerusalem impressed us with its clean streets, tram system and myriad shops, bars and restaurants. I was fascinated by the Old City of Jerusalem, a Unesco World Heritage Site that’s a melting pot of traditions and religions.

In Tel Aviv I adored the Mediterranean seafront and the Jaffa district—a port that’s retained its character as an ancient trading city while also emerging as a modern-day quarter for artists and bohemians.

 

 

"I was fascinated by the Old City of Jerusalem"

 

 

One of our most memorable days in Israel was an adventure around historical Masada, which offers breathtaking views across the River Jordan. We stopped for lunch at the nearby Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, finishing the afternoon relaxing in the Dead Sea.

Israel was unforgettable for many reasons. The local people were friendly and inquisitive, with many calling us “strong fans” and encouraging us to sing our football songs or pose for photos. The food was delicious, especially dishes such as “chicken in the oven”, schnitzel, “onion mash” and “holy bagels”.

And then there’s the nightlife: the American culture of “jamming nights” and “NFL Sundays” in Mike’s Place in Tel Aviv made it a popular venue to end many of our nights.
 

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