That thought’s popped up again – where to go on your hols or gap year? Want two totally different destinations that have both faced political turmoil but are alluring, breathtakingly beautiful and perhaps a place to find your inner you? Read on as Ainur Imangali guides you on your path.
The country where the Earth’s highest peak Mount Everest is situated is as magical as it is challenging. So, if you are a ‘hopeless’ adventure-seeker this is a place where your sturdy legs should take you to. Nepal is famous for its trekking routes to Everest.
Despite the fact, that the highest peak is in Chinese Tibet, Nepal can offer you an ascent to Everest’s southern peak, which is, just imagine, 8 760 dizzying metres high! While someone is considering whether to conquer Everest (you might be inspired by last year’s epic movie) or not I can suggest you bear in mind some other extreme experiences you can try in Nepal – parahawking and rafting, for instance. Parahawking, you say. It’s a curious mix of paragliding and falconry, which actually means that while flying to the highest highs with your parachute you’ll be followed by trained falcons, which can land on your hands. It’s really something that can take your breath away. Who ever thought of the idea is a crazy genius…I think.
If you’re not interested in extreme tourism, explore the irresistible cultural heritage of Nepal by introducing yourself to Buddhist monks and Hindu ascetics in Nepal’s towns. Nepal has a diverse amount of medieval temples and pagodas which you can see in each part of the country, including the capital Kathmandu.
You’ll delight in seeing the monkeys running amok around the temples. It’s a unique experience to watch and while most of us back home live close to an urban jungle, it’s so hard to truly be at one with the world at large. Nepal’s a place to empty your mind and let your energies flow. It’s truly a blessed experience.
Historic Jerusalem and the Middle East’s party city, Tel Aviv
The two striking cities of Israel are surrounded by the historic myths from the past and the modernity of the present.
Jerusalem, from that perspective, can plunge you into a mix of cultures which are tightly interconnected thanks to the four quarters surrounding the Old City – Jewish, Armenian, Muslim and Christian. It allows you to be witness to a sense of biblical times where all religions grew and split and cracked and yet these four religions are still evident in their purest forms.
Praying takes place around the Western Wall and Al-Aqsa Mosque which were both built very close together.
To enhance your sense of this fascinating mix you can follow the route from Temple Mount straight to flourishing Mahane Yehudah Market. There you can experience all the flavours of a middle- Eastern market with its wild diversity of food, drink, clothes and housewares. Start off your insight to Jerusalem from Damascus Gate which is believed to originate from Roman times in the 2nd century AD.
Known as the party capital of the Middle East, Tel Aviv can offer you a totally different experience. Marked by its 1930 Bauhaus buildings it offers beautiful promenades where hordes of people, locals and tourists alike, are out buying from falafel vendors and fruit and vegetables from local kibbutzim and vineyards.
It’s a place to holiday and have fun in the sun.