Israel- the Non Stop country

  Abhik Dutta, Director & Co-Founder of  The Wanderers gives a brief synopsis of his trip to this ancient land and comes away fascinated.                                                                                                                                           

Known as much for its Biblical past as it is for its vibrant present and a promising future, Israel embodies a great ‘never say die’ spirit that encompasses the very life of Israel.

I had always wanted to visit Israel having grown up reading books about the country and its people, how the state was formed, about kibbutz life, their culture of innovation, the politics and religion of the region, the holocaust etc. So, when I got the invite from the Israel Ministry of Tourism to visit the country, I already had one leg in the El-Al flight!

Tel-Aviv, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea is a city on steroids! An active city, where people are forever on the go. Cycling, running, skating, sailing, segwaying, dancing. Always moving. No wonder its called the Non-Stop City. Jaffa, is the exact opposite. Quiet, reflective, artsy, historical. To escape the noise and pulsating rhythm of Tel Aviv, we headed for the quiet lanes of the Old city of Jaffa where we visited the Ilana Goor museum (which is also the current home of this gifted artist).  At the Nalaga’at Centre located near the wharf, we got a taste of different wine in a pitch black restaurant called BlackOut, escorted by blind waiters! A most humbling experience.

An orthodox jew pedals up a street in Jerusalem

In Jerusalem, we followed a local family through the old streets as they celebrated the Bar Mitzvah function of their son’s coming of age. I prayed at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where Lord Jesus Christ was crucified and laid to rest, then headed down the lanes to the Western Wall or Kotel (earlier called the Wailing Wall) where I prayed once again donning a ‘kipa’. Later, I visited a Roman Catholic Franciscan cemetery to pay respect at the grave of Oskar Schindler, the German who saved over a thousand Jews during WW II. Remember the movie Schindlers List?

I also visited the Holocaust Museum. It was a deeply moving experience. The architectural marvel hides the brutality, pain and suffering depicted inside its grey walls as it takes you through the history of the Holocaust with heart rending stories of suvivors, bringing their pain closer to our hearts. And finally, after 2 hours, I emerged at twilight from the dark corridors of one of last century’s most sordid periods to a patio overlooking the dazzling lights of Jerusalem. A sign of light and hope for the future?

While traveling to the Dead Sea we took a cable car ride up to the hilltop fortess of Massada (over a 1000ft high), now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built by King Herod in 30 BC. It has majestic 360 degree views of the Jordan Rift Valley and Dead Sea on one side and the desert landscape on the other. I decided to run down the  ‘Snake Path’ on the way down- a decision that affected my gait over the next 3 days!

That evening we drove in Landrovers into the Judean desert to watch a surreal sunset and the next morning I was up at dawn to master my ‘water floatation technique’ on the Dead Sea. As opposed to the Jordan side of the Sea which is rocky (I happened to visit Jordan in September earlier this year), the place where we entered the water was sandy  and well-maintained. We floated around for the better part of an hour before heading back to our hotel and drove onward to Eilat on the Red Sea.

Solomon’s Pillar, Timna Park

Eilat is hedonism at its Middle Eastern best. The Red Sea is perfect water sports, scuba diving & snorkeling during the day and post sunset, the city makes a quick switchover to the good life full of great cuisine, music and clubbing. Blessed with year round mild weather (water temperature rarely dips below 20deg C), Eilat is the perfect place for relaxation in Israel. We snorkelled in the Sea, discovered the beauty of Timna Park and its ancient copper mines nestled in the magical surroundings of the desert and as the lights of the city dazzled, we made our way to the Three Monkeys Pub to listen to an English band and down a few beers..a perfect way to wind up my short trip to Israel!


-by Abhik Dutta, Director & Co-Founder of  The Wanderers

Insiders View on Marseille

The Wanderers in conversation with Cyrille Saboya

Everything the guide books or tourism websites won’t tell you about the place

One little known fact/trivia that everyone should know about when travelling to Marseille?

The If Castle on the island If, famous for the Count of Monte Cristo is located in Marseille or that Marseille is the oldest city of Marseille with 2600 years of history

What is a must buy/take – away when in Marseille?

Soap of Marseille

What is your advice to first time travellers?

Notre Dame de la Garde for the panoramic view

One thing to definitely pack when travelling to Marseille?


One activity anyone travelling to Marseille should not miss?

“The Calanques” National Park

Where should anyone, travelling to MARSEILLE, definitely get their picture taken?

Notre Dame de la Garde and the Mucem, the new national museum with a great architecture

Which is the best place to get a panoramic photo?

Basilica Notre Dame de la Garde

Best place to enjoy sunset/sunrise?

Corniche, the seaside road

Corniche Turquoise

 Most romantic place to take a special someone to?

Boattrip at sunset in the bay of Marseille or in one of the typical little marina. Les Goudes for example

Best place to have local food?

Typical little marinas on the seaside road

Your favorite local dish and drink that you would recommend.

Bouillabaisse fish soup/ dish, Pastis aperitif.

One place only the locals would know.

Le Grand Bar des Goudes


A local festival you feel more travelers should come and see:

Fiesta des Suds/ Marsactac electro music 

The things guide books will not tell anyone about Marseille? 

That Marseille has changed and is “A must see city in France” and that Marseille is as much city as a beautiful National Park.

Mucem Fort St Jean 

Is there any particular month you would not recommend travel to MARSEILLE and what would that reason be?

Maybe in February as it is a bit cold (5  to 10° C) . June and September are peak season for the hotels so the prices are quite high. But July and August are OK.

In one sentence, Marseille is a Secret.

Marseille has completely changed.

I was born in Aix en Provence (25 KM from Marseille). I arrived in Marseille 10 years ago and I was amazed by the diversity of landscape of the city and the beautiful National Park and the sea.

Since 2013 Marseille has completely changed and i am proud to promote the oldest city of France and the trendiest city of France today.

Check out our latest package on Italy