I’m a very lucky student, attending a program that requires me to travel to Israel each winter. Because this seminar is required, it’s also paid for – which is how I’m able to afford this trip in the first place! From Prague, my sister and I went back to Paris for a day, and then I headed off to Tel Aviv to meet up with my graduate program for an intensive traveling seminar, which is comprised of a series of meetings with academics, business people, and nonprofit executive directors. At the end of the seminar, I also scheduled time to travel and enjoy the gorgeous weather.

I was so excited to meet up with friends from my program – these are my running teammates! In fact, we were able to schedule some training runs on the trip. Talk about dedication, this means that I had to wake up at 5:30 AM, while it’s still dark outside. We ran several times along the beach, and watched the sunrise. The Mediterranean is a beautiful place. We also spent some time in Jerusalem, waking up early to run the city’s many hills. I have to say, hill running is really hard, and Israel can be really hot, even in the winter! I think the weather is unseasonably warm right now, and I only brought my fleece-lined running tights. I actually ran in my pajama pants to avoid the fleece!

After the end of my program, I traveled to a city a bit north of Tel Aviv called Netanya. Netanya is a beach town, along the western side of Israel. The weather was hot, and perfect for a beach day. My friend and I didn’t notice the jellyfish until we got out of the water! We also went to a soccer game; Israel participates in the European league, and this was a serious cultural event! People danced and sang in their seats, and the Netanya team won in the last minute of the game.

In the stands at the Maccabi Netanya game

If you have never been to Israel before, I’m not sure how I can describe the food. It’s the most delicious food – so many vegetarian options, fresh vegetables in everything, and dairy that is just so delicious. I eat so well in this country, though I will admit that the amount of veggies, hummus, and dairy is a little bit of a shock to my system. Something that I love about this country is that vegetables are always appropriate: carrot salad for breakfast, yes please! I love eating vegetables at breakfast time, it seems like such a healthy start to the day. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if Israel is so healthy that people there only eat vegetables – oh no, there’s oil packed in everything. Also a little shock to my system.

In all, I can say that this trip has been amazing. I love to travel, but I think I’m ready to come home. Healthworks, I miss you!

– Hannah