If you’re anything like me (and based on the fact that you read a running blog, you are) then you enjoy a little bit of sweat with your vacation. Maybe that’s just a quick beach jog before you lounge in the ocean, maybe it’s a marathon followed by a fabulous dinner, maybe it’s a week long wellness retreat… or maybe it’s a little bit of adventure and exploration.
When I received the invitation to come to Israel for a fitness tour, I was thrilled at the prospect, but didn’t truly realize what an amazing adventure I was about to embark upon. Following are some of the Israel activities we enjoyed which might just give you some new ideas for thinking outside the box on your next vacation. These are certainly not the activities I anticipated when thinking about a country more known for history than adventure.
In case you missed it, previously I shared who I traveled with and all about the why and what I learned from the trip and additional details will be going up in a second post today and on AmandacBrooks.com because there really is way more than I should be trying to cram in to 1 post!
Yoga on a Mountain Top
What a phenomenal way to start the day after an overnight flight. Driving out in to the Jerusalem mountains we entered the small town of Nataf and while we had a beautiful outdoor space with views, the weather chose to very uncharacteristically rain which meant we enjoyed our practice inside a yurt with the light pounding on the roof creating an insanely relaxing atmosphere!
Well-known yogi, Talia Perez lead the class and routinely amazed with her insane flexibility! Additionally, this was my first chance to meet the women behind Roco Runs, which is an Instagram account I’ve loved for years now due to their pure joy of running. Talking more with them at events throughout the week it became apparent that they truly want to help others embrace FUN!! Like me they aren’t focused on the clock, but unlike me they have an amazing posse to run with all the time…yup I’m inspired to get that done.Jerusalem Half Marathon
A big part of this trip was the Jerusalem Half Marathon, not just because of the race but all the things we did surrounding the race. I wrote up a full race report, plus all the other exciting events, so check it out! Mountain Biking in the Judean Desert
This is the adventure which surprised me the most…of course I loved the beauty, but I’m no mountain biker and I was initially very concerned that I wouldn’t be able to do the trip. Our adventure was lead by some SERIOUS mountain bikers from Gran Fondo, which meant at the start as we headed straight down a hill of very large rocks they were calling it “easy”….this left a few of us staring at each other and wondering WTH.
But then you see these rocks and you think…ok maybe I can try to go just a little farther. Because when else am I going to be riding through canyons in the middle of the desert. The rock formations are all white, but eat has these lovely striations which are indicators of every year that has passed to create them.
The rock is also soft to the touch, which meant we found ourselves riding through sand many times as the rock had simply crumbled.After about 2 hours of riding, we hopped of the bikes and took at mile hike to a look out point that allowed us to see over the Dead Sea and a beautiful vantage point of the canyons we’d been riding through. It was amazing and beautiful….and Dai and I were having HANGER. Since we were generally stuffed from amazing meals, it made the hanger funnier and we appreciated having a partner in the need for food. Post hike we were rewarded with some tasty treats and mint tea before finishing our ride…and well then yes heading out for our actual dinner. None the less, there was something really fascinating about being in the middle of the desert, sweaty, dirty, dusty and enjoying a cup of tea!This side of Israel might surprise you! Mountain biking, running and more #travel Click To Tweet
Dead Sea Recovery
Taking my love of Epsom Salt baths to the next level was a dip in the Dead Sea which is 70% salt. To our great fortune we arrived at the spa leading down to the beach just after close and they happily let our little VIP clan in, which meant we had the entire place to ourselves instead of being surrounded by hundreds of tourists.Stepping in to the water, we instantly realized sandals would be needed thanks to the sharp hardened salt that coats the bottom. Luckily Source had provided us some at the Expo, so we waded in to the cool water and found it to be roughly shin deep for quite a ways…so the only thing to do was sit down and watch as you miraculously float!
Beyond the fun floating the dead sea is sought out by people (and as one of the Seven Wonders) because of it’s reported healing properties:
- water contains minerals such as magnesium, bromide and sodium
- mud is spread on skin to exfoliate
- the air is free of pollens and toxins at 1,300 feet below sea level
- reported to detox, sooth stress, help the body heal and reduce swelling
Just as wonderful as the water to me was the surroundings. Across the water the mountains of Jordan are visible and behind us the sun was setting over the mountains where we’d been riding just a few hours earlier. Fit Skate
After biking, hiking and Dead Sea time we still weren’t quite done with the day. Instead, we spent a little more time at the lowest spot on Earth testing out a creative new workout called Fit Skate. For those who like organized classes and trying new things, it would definitely be a super fun workout with music.Fit Skate developed their own mini skate boards which are used for the classes. From strength the stretching moves it forces you to activate your core and balance. Definitely something fun to mix things up, but I do admit I can’t see myself doing it very often.
I thought I could put it all in one post, but I still have so much more to share with you about this trip!!
Checkout Part 2 of the adventure, where I’ll tell you all about sailing with blind sailors, Judo, Krav Maga, and more!
READ MORE ABOUT THIS TRIP:
Top 9 Israeli Foods (what to expect, what you’ll love!)
Jerusalem Half Marathon Report
What I learned about Israel and overcoming travel fears
What place have you visited that really surprised you?
Best adventure you’ve tried while traveling?
Other ways to connect with Amanda
Many photos thanks to the talented Shani Sadicario.