The University of Haifa provided students with a tour of Jerusalem on one of our first weekends in Israel. (Something important to note: Friday and Saturday are considered the weekend here in Israel instead of Saturday and Sunday like in the US. This is because of Shabbat.) Jerusalem is about a two hour bus ride from Haifa. Although it was intended to just be a day trip and tour, some of my new friends from the university and I decided to stay in Jerusalem for the rest of the weekend, so we reserved rooms at a great hostel in the heart of Jerusalem called Abraham Hostel. During our stay we had the opportunity to tour the Old City, have a Shabbat dinner at the hostel, and enjoy the nightlife in Jerusalem by going to an event that was organized by the hostel.
After arriving in Jerusalem about 30 of us students from the University of Haifa International School were directed around the Old City of Jerusalem by a tour guide provided by the University. We learned many interesting facts about the way that the city is organized and we saw many unforgettable landmarks. We visited the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and ancient ruins dating back thousands of years. We also stopped for lunch at a delicious shawarma place. This was a long exhausting day filled with fun and a lot of walking and by the evening three of my friends and I were excited to head to the hostel and get some much needed rest.
Before coming to Israel, I never had the opportunity to stay at a hostel. Based on my experiences, I highly recommend staying at hostels when travelling as a student. They are usually significantly cheaper than other options and provide a sense of community. The Shabbat dinner at Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem was delicious and a great way to meet new people. The next day my friends and I went to lunch at a nice French restaurant. After lunch we went sightseeing in the Old City of Jerusalem which is home to many important religious sites for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. That night we went to an event that the hostel was hosting and became friends with some other travelers from all over the world.
The following morning we ate a delicious (and free) breakfast at the hostel and made our way to the bus station to make the quick trip back to campus in Haifa. I am planning on taking another trip to Jerusalem before I leave Israel because I really enjoy the city. Jerusalem has such a rich history you could spend several days there and still have more to discover.