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Israel now and 30 years ago

by Miriam Ernst

(Advertising) In July HolidayCheck has sent me on a blogger time travel to  Israel. The trip was about discovering a destination, where my mother had been before I was worn.

My mum and I have always had a good relationship and many things in common: For example, we both love to travel, my mother through her work as a stuardess, I through the many times I travelled with my family as a child. More or less every two years I travel together with her to some new destination, this time however I should experience the similarities differently:

My journey to Israel

Israel has always been so far away for me, a destination I really wanted to experience, but also one I couldn’t quite reach. Although it has only recently become a trend destination, my mother was already there over 30 years ago and travelled the country together with a friend. So I followed my mother’s example and started planning the trip to Israel together with my friend. I book all my trips online and in single steps: First I search for the flight, then I read reviews on suitable hotels and finally, I read reports about experiences of excursions on site. How do you do it? Online booking or the direct route to the travel agency?

After landing, when I entered the country, I already had my first flashback into the 90s: The questioning reminded me of my mother’s experiences. She told me exactly what I was experiencing: Questions over questions about our hotels, planned trips, work, how we met each other and more.

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv 2018

Tel Aviv 1987

When you travel to a tourist destination that has been established for over 30 years, the experience is certainly different than what I experienced. Tel Aviv had very little in common with the city my mother told me about. Every neighbourhood in Tel Aviv has its own character: The famous Rothschild street, which reminded me of a modern party area, the Dizengoff-Street which is filled with modern shops and restaurants and Old Jaffa, which looks like an abandoned city during the day and houses the heart of the city at night. Old Jaffa is also the neighbourhood that fascinated me the most: established and modern restaurants are here next to small bars that place unfitting chairs on the street, just to find more space for the guests. At many corners live music plays and local traders sell handmade jewellery and bags. I have never experienced this atmosphere in a city before and I am still fascinated by it today!

Old Jaffa 2018


Somewhat disappointed, since I could not re-live any of my mother’s experiences in Tel Aviv, our journey continued to Jerusalem, the city of which I still have the most pictures of my mother. The city image was exactly the same as she told me. The local history and experiences are unique and the mosque is by far one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. No wonder my mum took photos there. Unfortunately, as a woman and not a Muslim I could not visit the mosque. But on the Temple Mount, only a few minutes by car from the city centre of Jerusalem, we managed to get a fantastic view of the city, the beautiful mosque and I happened to be at the exact stop my mom had been.



Jerusalem 1987

Jerusalem 2018

The dead sea

Of all the experiences in Israel, my mum told me most vividly about the Dead Sea. I personally had expected very little, as I could not imagine that in the middle of the desert, with 45 degrees and a lake with such a high salt content a swimming paradise could be discovered. But my mum remembered the details so well that we searched for the exact beach.  When I realized that it still existed, I decided that I couldn’t miss this part of her trip:

Dead Sea 1987

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to see of all the details my mother told me about.

‘Watch out for the salt blocks, they made the swimming really disturbing, because I was all the time afraid to touch them’ my mother repeated several times. These dangerous salt blocks, which look beautiful on the pictures, were unfortunately nowhere to be discovered. All I could see was a dark lake. Then, when I took the first step into the water I had to laugh out loud when I felt exactly what my mother had described it: The deeper the water gets, the more it is as if your feet are pulled away from the ground. When I tried to lie down in the water to imitate my mother’s photo, I really noticed the power of salt for the first time. I didn’t manage to sit down in a 20cm deep water but immediately floated on the almost impenetrable surface – what a strange feeling. But it was a great experience!

Dead Sea 1987 – My mum

Dead sea 2018 – me









Happy, that I had managed to re-live the experience of my mother and to imitate the perfect photo of my mom, we made our way to our last stop in the desert before my time travel brought me back to reality in Frankfurt.

Thank you, HolidayCheck Team, for this experience!




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Linda Reed Friedman 14 October, 2018 - 1:29 PM

What a treat – Thank you. In 1980 we went on a dig in Tel Gerisa (long gone) outside of TelAviv. Sponsored by the University of Tel Aviv and Stanford University in the USA. It was an amazing 4 weeks. To see the pictures of the places we visited was delightful. Your 1987 picture of Jerusalem is the one I remember.

Miriam Ernst 21 February, 2019 - 11:03 PM

Wow incredible that you have been there during that time as well! Did you ever go back?


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