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Trip Report 2 Great Weeks in Israel !

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Trip Report: Aug. 24th - Sept. 3rd / 2010

We had a wonderful visit to Israel. Many thanks to the Posters and DEs on this forum for making the planning easier and successful.

Arrived IAD/LONDON/TLV with no problems with airline, transfer or arrival. The new Ben Gurion airport is quite attractive and easy to negotiate; we are US Citizens and had an easy entry.

TEL AVIV: HOTEL DAVID INTERCONTINENTAL for 3 nights allowed for R&R in that warm, sunny TA weather and seeing Jaffa, Shuk Ha Carmel, the Bauhaus area, the Boardwalk, Neve Tzedek, the old ports and - just moseying around or sitting in a cafe. Great restaurants (Nana, Manta Rey, Abu Nassar-Hinnawi in Jaffa(see reviews) and glida, glida everywhere-especially halvah/with bitter chocolate flavor - delicious! I was not enamored with the hotel (see review), but got what we expected and such a great location !

The highlight was the Wednesday 9:30 AM, Free, English tour of old Jaffa. [just meet at the bell tower]

Rented a car from AVIS, right in the hotel, at the end of our TA stay. No problems renting or driving, though DH was prepared with Route numbers, and YOU NEED THE JUNCTIONS, as route #s are not always extant. (Returning from the North to Jerusalem, we spent some time in the Krayot because of this, so, a caution - the Krayot are not actually all that interesting :-)

En Route we spent ½ day in Caesarea - facinating, worth a longer visit; we had a lovely lunch there.

GALIL: We spent 4 nights in the Galil - 2 with family in Yodfat for the joyful B’nai Mitzvah of twin grands - and 2 in AMIREY HaGALIL HOTEL SPA (see review). Amirey Hagalil was so relaxing and beautiful and congenial - we just loved every minute of it. (Only the Shabbat breakfast left something to be desired - even then there was yoghurt and fruits and granola, etc., so no serious complaints.)

Other family members were in the Zimmers in Amirim, a bit higher up the mountain. Also very nice and with a good pool.

From there we visited Acco, Tzfat, Karmiel (for supplies and earrings) former Kibbutz Gesher Haziv and the Kinerret - and then ran out of time for Rosh Ha Nikra or Nahariya.

Acco was definitely a highlight - so can you see a pattern here ?

JERUSALEM: Dropped the car as soon as we entered the city. Three nights in the Harmony Hotel - charming, welcoming, gracious and comfortable. While some of the rooms are said to be small, ours was fine for a couple. And we loved being on the midracha and in walking distance to the Old City and met some interesting travelers in the nightly Happy Hour and in the excellent, breakfast buffet.
The highlight of Jerusalem was a Day Tour with Guide SHRAGA HECHT. Shraga’s knowledge of history, archeology, religion and language was remarkable. He was thoughtful in planning the day around my Jewish and my husband’s Christian backgrounds. And our mutual interest in Islamic culture. Shraga also was receptive to changes based on either our interest or tired husband. DH and I both recommend him highly. He can be reached at: shragat@bezeqint.net.

The next day, our niece took us on a walk to the Russian Compound and to Bezalel and then to the German Colony for lunch - all different and all quite interesting. We loved Machaneh Yehuda as we just strolled around and saw the vast array of fruits, veggies, coffees, clothes and those intriguing, spicy smells…...We had another really excellent taste of Israeli coffee here.

So then our trip came to an end. The Harmony Hotel gave us a wakeup call, and then a second (just in case) for a 4:00 AM Taxi pickup to the Airport. Yawn!

And we are busy planning our next trip. Again, many thanks to those who have contributed to the wealth of information on this Forum.

~MarnieWDC

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