Everything you Need to Know about Ein Karem – The Prettiest Village in Jerusalem

Ein Karem in Hebrew translates to Spring (Ein) of the Vineyard (Karem) and I have never come across a more be fittingly named place than this. The picture perfect village sits in a valley southwest of Jerusalem surrounded by rolling hills and spectacular views. Getting here from the city centre takes just 20-30 minutes by car.

What Makes it so Special?

Church of St. John the Baptist


So, it’s believed that John the Baptist was born in this village. A Franciscan church has sat at the holy Christian site of the Church of John the Baptist since 1674. Inside there are mosaic floors and a cave believed to be the exact place of birth of the saint. The church sits atop a small hill surrounded by pine trees.

Mary’s Spring


Ein Karem does indeed have a very important spring that gives the village its name. It is believed that Mary (mother of Jesus) stopped here to quench her thirst before she climbed up the hill to visit her cousin Elisabeth (mother of John the Baptist).

Why is it so Pretty?

IMG_3389Walk around the narrow winding slopes and it’s all dainty limestone houses, magical gardens and brightly painted doors. Houses have a typically Middle Eastern aesthetic and are low buildings with flat roofs which, in the past, were used as another room for sleeping, drying fruit and clothes.

IMG_5425Pretty decorated gates lead to small entrances through whimsical gardens. The houses are a few hundred years old and were first built by Arabs. During the War of Independence in 1948 most of the Arab community abandoned their homes and the village.

IMG_9494New immigrants from Morocco, Iraq and Yemen were settled in the abandoned village because others thought it to be too old-fashioned. They craved for a more modern way of life in the city. The immigrants however, started to build what is today an enchanting little community.

IMG_9558As well as its old-world charm Ein Karem also boasts art studios, cafes, shops and a boutique hotel and is home to a community of artists. The village attracts millions of visitors every year from all over the world including Israel itself.

Is There Anything Else?

Sisters of Zion Abbey

IMG_2625Any walkabout around Ein Karem will bring you to the Sisters of Sion Abbey also known as Notre Dame de Sion. It was once an orphanage and is now a retreat which accommodates visitors in two houses set within its breathtaking garden. You can book yourself a very serene stay here if you wish.

IMG_3394The convent sits on a hill-top. So it offers spectacular views over slopes carpeted with wild flowers, wide open lush green spaces, native pomegranate groves and a luscious green valley.

IMG_3404Ein Kerem is a mystical, alluring place away from the noisy, modern metropolis that will simply take your breath away. No visit to Jerusalem can be complete without a visit here to this captivating place.



  • In collaboration with Jerusalem Development Authority. For more information on Ein Karem and Jerusalem visit: https://www.itraveljerusalem.com/
  • WIZZ Air flies to Tel Aviv from London Luton on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Fares start from £102.99pp one way. For further information visit www.wizzair.com.
  • Yehuda Hotel – Double rooms with breakfast start from £112pp.  For more information visit: http://www.byh.co.il/?lang=2

11 pictures to prove that Paris is the undisputed city of love.

What can be said of Paris that hasn’t been said a thousand times? Of it’s beauty, food, fashion, culture? A city immortalised by the murmur of a thousand words.

On this, my 11th visit to Paris, what can be said that is not an echo of words past? What’s to ”see” in Paris? As I breathe, move, talk, laugh, eat and smile…I wonder. How many words will I need to express a feeling? Paris is infectious, like love.  As love travels through your being,  as you would surrender, so you do to Paris. Some things cannot be seen or heard. They can only be felt from the heart.

 11 pictures to prove that Paris is the undisputed city of love:

  1. This icon of eternity.
Meet me here.


2. These love locks on Pont d’lena (Jena Bridge).

Be mine.


3. This beaming bride on Pont d’lena.

You make me so very happy 🙂


4. The Seine and The Marne.

The Yin and Yang.


5. These beautiful ones slaying it in the park.

Adore me.


6. This rainbow bubble in Jardin des Tuileries.

Rainbows and bubbles.


7. This invitation of love.

Call me.


8. This place to meet.

Talk to me.


9. This blushing rose.

You make me blush.


10. This place you cannot miss.

I will wait for you forever.


11. This utterly beautiful Parisian sunset.

Kiss me in Paris.








What’s good Singapore!

As a frequent traveller I can say that I have passed through a few airports in my time. They generally do not stick in my mind for any reason. However, as far as airports go Changi airport is a monster! It was voted the World’s Best Airport (Skytrax 2016). It’s certainly easy to see why. There are grand open spaces with sculptures, art, massage chairs and hundreds and hundreds of shops. If you really wanted to you could possibly spend a couple of days there. The single most memorable thing about Changi airport? Baby changing facilities in the men’s washrooms. Talk about progressive.

Travel and guidebooks list lots to do in Singapore. However, as with any short stay planning your time well is key because this is a great big place. I had no intention of doing everything on my list. So I chose Gardens by the Bay due to it’s proximity to my hotel. There’s a real “otherworldly” sense about Singapore. It’s certainly true here. These vertical gardens are set on reclaimed land and stretch an impressive 250 acres. They look and feels more like a feat in architecture and engineering than in gardening. If you would like a better view of the gardens you can purchase a ticket for the train which takes you up to an elevated walkway. Visitors can walk between each of the 5 vertical gardens.

If you really love gardens then by all means walk the walk.

If you like a little grit every now and again go to Chinatown. It’s vastly underrated in the guidebooks. As the name suggests, Chinatown Food Street is packed full of street food stalls. How many dumplings can you eat in an hour? Well, go find out! The food stalls are packed with locals – a sure fire sign that you’re onto a good thing.

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of Chinatown you will also find the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. It’s a place of worship for Singaporeans as much as it is a museum for travellers and tourists. Standing majestically in the middle of Chinatown it offers a glimpse of everyday life in Singapore.

As with all Buddhist temples you will need to be dressed modestly before you enter. Don’t worry if you find yourself in shorts like I did. Thankfully, cover ups are provided. With 5 floors filled with beautiful and curious objects there is enough here to make your entire trip worthwhile.


The ceiling of the grand hall on the ground floor is decorated with hundreds of gold lanterns. Thousands of tiny carved  identical statues of Buddha are inserted into the walls. Each Buddha has been individually carved by a different sculptor and is marked with a unique serial number. Each room is home to colourfully decorated statues. You can purchase flowers and incense from the temple premises as offerings for the Buddha.

There is a lift to all the floors which is handy. The mezzanine floor gives a great view of the main hall below. There is also a wax works museum of prominent monks of Asia on this floor. There is an outdoor garden housing the prayer wheel on the fourth floor. The garden is a riot of colourful orchids. Flowers bloom in abundance here due to the humid climate.

The top floor houses the tooth relic of the Buddha. It sits behind a glass screen in a golden casket. There were lots of people meditating on this floor and no photography was allowed. It took me over an hour to see everything inside this temple. If you are planning a visit make sure you give yourself plenty of time too.

On a broader note, public transport in Singapore is amazing. It’s punctual, affordable and clean. So getting around any where is easy and stress free. There is an endless list of things to do here. It has the feeling of a giant theme park where the fun never ends if you can keep up. There are water parks, night safaris, bird parks and light shows. Millions of dollars have no doubt been spent constructing them. And they truly are impressive.

Would I go back? In a heartbeat! There are places I have since read up on such as Kampong Glam and Pulau Ubin that I would love to explore. Another trip might be in order!


Demi xx

Travel tip: I travelled to Singapore from Colombo on a 3 night package deal booked with Hema’s Travels, Colombo, Sri Lanka.