I don’t care much for sun-soaked beach breaks.
Well, that’s not exactly true. I’ve had some great times at the beach, whether that’s was on a lads holiday to Magaluf, or creating memories in Croatia a couple of years ago.
I find value in everywhere I travel, but if it was up to me I would pick a more active holiday. I love city breaks and going to parts of the world where there’s plenty going on and the itinerary pieces together to create a non-stop adventure.
I guess I get that from my family. Fortunately, my parents were never the type to lounge by the pool all day or insist on topping up their tan from dawn to dusk. One of the best holidays I’ve ever been on was an all-inclusive in Turkey when I was 11, and while we could have stayed within the confines of the resort, with its waterslides, private beach and unlimited food and drink, for the full two weeks, we ventured out and saw some pretty awesome stuff.
From the mud baths and white terraces at Pamukkale to the architectural gems of the ancient Greek town of Ephesus, we were able to make the most of our stay and avoid being your average Brit abroad. To sit around sunbathing for several days seems painfully boring and would have been a massive waste of my vacation.
Yet those times have seemed a world away over the past few months. Despite not living in a weather hotspot, northern England has been subject to terrible conditions over the past few months. In addition to the usual grey skies, high winds and miserable rain, we’ve had the Beast from the East, its baby brother and more than the usual number of sub-zero days lasting long into spring.
I’m used to it, but I don’t enjoy it, and I certainly can’t remember the United Kingdom suffering from such a bad bout of weather in my lifetime.
When I rocked up in Jerusalem last week, my usual indifference to sunshine wasn’t apparent, but it did help that Good Friday in Israel was marred by clouds and even more rain. Fortunately, it only stayed around for a day and when I woke up on Saturday I was basking in the glorious warmth.
I was on more of a city break, the kind where I’m on my feet for hours, walking around and experiencing Jerusalem’s top attractions. It’s on these trips that the sun tends to work against me and it did in a way, I was sweating and I got sunburnt – but it didn’t matter.
For once I was actually enjoying this uncomfortable ‘inconvenience,’ feeling the warmth on my skin after switching long jeans for short joggers. It wasn’t Dubai in the middle of summer hot, but it was warm enough to be noticeable and what felt like a million degrees away from home.
I took some time out on the Saturday afternoon to go to Teddy Park, just outside the Old City, to simply sit on the grass and enjoy the weather. That’s not me at all, I like to always be active and on the go when I’m abroad. But this time it was different. We’d been shit on so much by the British weather that I thought I would take time to appreciate the star that heats our Earth.
I was one of the best bits about going to Israel. That’s not to say there’s a void of things to do there – far from it. But I finally started to understand the yearning for sun that other British people have.
I travelled back to the UK in a t-shirt and shorts on Monday. What was a comfortable outfit in the Middle East was, unsurprisingly, unfit for Manchester. I got back to Blighty and with the exception of one cool, sunny day, the weather hasn’t changed much. But my Easter break in Israel has definitely got me fired up more than ever for a long, hot summer.