Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Looking Back at Israel - Preparedness, Companions & Accomodations

I promise to get to the sites, but first I want to describe the trip.

Our flights were nice. We were able to fly directly from Newark to Tel Aviv. Although it was a long plane ride, I preferred it to stopping in Europe and having another layover. Hubs and I are moderately well-traveled and knew to wear comfy clothes, dress in layers and bring along toiletries. It is nice to take a break on the flight to brush teeth, remove/replace contacts and refresh. For, when arriving in the morning, after flying all night, the fun starts immediately.

Our trip was fast paced; we fit a lot of things into a little amount of time. It was designed that way to keep costs & time-away down. To prepare, most of the group got together 4 times before the trip. We were briefed on the places we would visit and why, on what to expect and on what to pack. This was an extreme benefit in all ways. We could read over our notes each morning and know what the day would entail and I think we packed extremely well.

The group sitting on all that is left of the Temple.

We were a large group of mostly familiar faces from our church. We also had some new faces and were able to get to know each other well. For spending all day together, we got along very well. Hubs and I were among the youngest travelers and were very happy to have our cousins along to bring the median age lower.

Cousins headed home

We stayed at a variety of hotels. Our first night was at a Jewish hotel on the coast of the Mediterranean in Netanya. It was a very nice, clean hotel where it seemed many people would come for the weekend to get away.

Outside of the Blue Bay Hotel, Netanya

The next two nights were spent at a Jewish Kibbutz, or collective community, on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

The front of the Kibbutz Kenneret hotel with our bus driver, Joel.

Our fourth night was in a youth hostel at the foot of Masada. This was my least favorite spot and fortunately we spent very little time there. The rooms left much to be desired, but it was in a very convenient location to hike Masada the next morning.

Looking down at the Masada Hostel as we begin the trek up Masada.

Our last nights were spent at a hotel inside the old walls of Jerusalem. This hotel had a medieval feel and was a favorite of mine. We were situated on the wall of Old Jerusalem and could peep out of the slits in the wall to see the rest of the city. Once we arrived in Jerusalem, we walked everywhere. Our location was very situated for that, and for visiting the local shops.

The Knight's Palace in Old Jerusalem.

Our accommodations all had a western feel. There was nothing more unusual than dealing with the electrical outlets. It was all excellently planned and we never had to worry about our trip arrangements.

Now that I have the particulars out of the way, I can focus on the sites in the upcoming posts!

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