After spending only one day in Tel Aviv, I headed out for Jerusalem to meet up with an old friend, Ron, who I met during my travels in Kiev, Ukraine. Many of the travelers I meet along the way ask to reach out if I’m ever in their hometown, but rarely do our schedules align - as in the case of Stephan from Cologne, Germany. I'm always hopeful to cross paths again with the people I meet on the road, but I know it’s always a long shot. When Ron messaged me saying he had a few free days to visit Jerusalem, I scrapped my original plans for Tel Aviv and quickly departed Tel Aviv even though I’d just arrived into the city. Since Ron is originally from in Israel, I couldn’t pass up the chance to travel around with a local.
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Contrary to what you hear in the news, the one word I’d use to describe my time in Lviv is “tranquil.” Even though the city is full of activity, it never once felt stressful like the bustling streets of Manhattan that I'm accustomed to. Moreover, my hostel was full of quiet local Ukrainian travelers instead of boisterous, inebriated vacationers I found through much Europe. People here kept to themselves and few, if any, spoke more than a few words of broken English. Day and night the noise level at the hostel was kept at a minimum and for the first time on my trip it felt like I was in a person’s home rather than a hostel. At first it was refreshing not talk to anyone, but within a few days I was eager to chat, and that’s when it hit me…