Israel For Two


Welcome to our tour of Israel (and a side trip to Jordan). 

For those of you who haven't "traveled" with us before, our blog enables you to see the sights, partake of the food, and experience some attitude as we explore -- without the expense, travel hassles, inoculations, or the risk of Montezuma's revenge.

Some of you may recall that Wendy and Emily went on the dual narrative trip to the region sponsored by Hands of Peace in October, 2014 (through Mejdi Tours). That trip was ably led by Husam Jubran and Yuval Ben-Ami. This time just the two of us are traveling (no group!), but we were lucky enough to once again secure Yuval as our guide. So we had complete say so over where we are going and what we will see. However, to help you visualize, here is politically-questionable map (complete with misspelling of Mediterranean) from a sample itinerary that pretty much covers our route.

For reference, Jerusalem is at 31 degrees north latitude. This is about the same as Marrakech, Morocco (our last trip) and, in the U.S., New Orleans. The time is 8 hours ahead of CST.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Tel Aviv

We arrived at Ben Gurion Airport around 10:30 am after a 10 hour flight from Toronto. Our tour includes VIP treatment which meant we were met at the gate by an airport security person. She took us to a private elevator, down to ground level, where we got in a van which whisked us to a special passport control area. There she gave our passports to the agent, who quickly issued our visas. Then outside to a waiting car. Ten minutes from plane to the car!

Got to the Dan Tel Aviv Hotel around 11:30. It was clear we were in Israel by the sign in the elevator:

Our room overlooks the Mediterranean. However, unlike views we've had from places like Nice and Capri, we were looking at a very angry sea. Huge waves and white caps as the wind was blowing at least 30 mph. The palm trees were bending in the wind and the Israeli flags were starched straight out. The sky was slate gray.  We got settled in and planned to walk off some jet lag and explore the area. Went downstairs.....took 20 steps from the front of the hotel and could barely walk through the wind gusts. Turned around and went back to the room to look at options. By the time we got back up, it was pouring sheets of rain! We chose wisely. Waited about an hour (the rain had stopped) and tried again. Got about 30 steps this time before retreating to the lobby. Decided to take a taxi to Roladin bakery to partake of the sufganiyot; special filled donuts for Chanukah. 

Even though early dinner was only an hour away, Wendy could not resist (what a shock).  She chose a chocolate ganache filled dipping-dot-covered hunk of calories.  Worth every one.

The bakery was right next to a large mall, so we went in to check it out. Always fun to see local stores and products (like "The Giving Tree" in Hebrew), and of course there was a McDonald's and a Burger King.

Back outside, it was not windy at all, so we decided to walk toward the sea and our dinner restaurant. Along the way we stumbled upon the Carmel Market....a large semi-enclosed soukh. Lots of great veggie and fruit stands (with huge figs and pomegranates), and nuts, spices, flowers, and halvah, along with more local items.

When we came to the end we kept heading west toward the water. As we got closer, the wind picked up and it began to rain again! Arrgghhh....we were soaked (had decided to leave our umbrellas in the room since we figured they would have been shredded by the wind). Luckily we were able to snag a taxi to take us to Manta Ray restaurant. Wendy and Em had gone here before, so we knew it would be good. They had been able to eat outside; obviously, we were not as fortunate.

Started with the most amazing bread, and mezzes of eggplant hummus (which we have made at home), cauliflower salad, greens with salmon. Wendy ordered the same bass as last time and Wayne had scallops and shrimp with bacon mash! Yes....a real trayf meal.

Sadly, no room for dessert.
A cab ride back to the hotel, and we managed to stay up until 6:30 before crashing.
Tomorrow, our first day of real touring with Yuval.

Happy to have you along.
W and W

No comments:

Post a Comment