Every summer, we go on at least one camping trip with friends. We’re not the hardcore schlep-everything-on-your-back sort of campers but rather the stuff-everything-in-the-car-and-then-find-a-spot-in-nature-with-parking-nearby kind of tent buffs.
Anyway, we knew that this summer we’d be missing a camping trip or two because of our visit to Canada. Our friends promised to send photos.
What arrived in our inbox were photos unlike any other camping trip to date.
Insert drum roll. Our made-up award for most creative camping experience this summer goes to our friends in Tel Aviv. Their daughter, a classmate of our daughter, decided that red alert air-raid sirens were not going to ruin her summer and pitched a tent in the living room of her apartment.
“After Hamas announced the end to the first ceasefire we were apprehensive about rockets being aimed at Tel Aviv. So, we decided to pitch a tent in our home,” my friend Alona tells me.
Her two children were thrilled. You can see them sitting on camping foam mattresses with pillows and blankets in their rightful places. Huge smiles beam out from the net windows.
While we had been disappointed about missing out on the Israeli summer fun, as it would happen, our friends ended up changing their camping plans thanks to the Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza.
Of course, dozens of other camping enthusiasts still headed up to the north of the country to partake in this summer tradition of pitching tents in the Galilee and Golan Heights areas. Things were quieter there.
Camping has become so popular in Israel that the Tourism Ministry earlier this year announced it was offering grants to entrepreneurs interested in creating campsites. The grants are supposed to ensure separate camping facilities for families and young people so that those who want a quiet evening in nature won’t be disturbed by those celebrating late into the night.
The ministry also has plans for online registration for organized campsites that will let people reserve a spot ahead of time. This is crucial for peak times as campgrounds around the country often report full occupancy levels.
And though people did still venture out camping, most of our friends postponed their camping outings to later this summer and even to early autumn – with the obvious “depending on the situation” provision.
This, of course, means we can join the fun