Jerusalem, Israel

I chose to celebrate my 23rd birthday by spending a night in Jerusalem, Israel. As someone who lives in Tel Aviv (another city in Israel), I don’t often get away from the big and vibrant city, so a trip to Jerusalem for two days was a refreshing experience and just as special for me as a vacation abroad.

I spent the night at Alegra Boutique Hotel– an amazing boutique hotel in the picturesque and pastoral Ein Kerem neighborhood. The neighborhood has a rural character and is surrounded by mountains, valleys and forests. It is considered a sacred place for Christianity and full of impressive churches and monasteries.

The hotel combines old and new – the building itself is almost 200 years old but the rooms are innovative, well equipped and tastefully decorated (each room is designed differently). I stayed in the studio suite near the reception and spent most of the time on the hotel’s stunning roof, which overlooks the entire area. The stay included a breakfast that was no less than perfect- very special and different with a touch of Jerusalem flavors. Although the hotel has 13 rooms, we felt like we were the only couple in it, and I warmly recommend it to anyone who wants to enjoy the quiet and the exceptional intimacy.

We spent the first day in Jerusalem mainly at the hotel, and in the evening, we went to the restaurant called Machneyuda – Assaf Granit’s chef-restaurant. The restaurant is characterized by loud music, a happy atmosphere and waiters and bartenders who treat every diner as if he was staying at their home. We ate Kurdish pastry with cheese and spinach, polenta with mushrooms, parmesan and truffle oil, and a lamb T-bone with bone marrow and roasted pumpkin. Everything was seasoned perfectly and super delicious. For dessert we ordered a chocolate bar with ice cream and nuts, which of course came with firework candles and songs for my birthday.

On the second day in Jerusalem, after (obviously) eating breakfast at the hotel, we drove to the Armon Hanatziv Promenade, which offers spectacular panoramic views of the Old City, the Mount of Olives and the Temple Mount. From there we drove to the Mahane Yehuda market, which contains many stands of vegetables and fruit, meat, bakeries and delicatessen. The market is colorful and lively and has many restaurants with classical Jerusalem food that is always fun to eat.

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