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Trip Report Israel December 2010 trip notes w/recommendations

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Just (barely) got back from Israel. Went to Tel Aviv, Galilee, Jerusalem, Bethlehem. We would like to highly recommend the services of two independent guides. David Gurevich for Galilee and Jerusalem at david@touchisrael.com and for getting around Bethlehem and Palestine Sam Salem at guide.holy@gmail.com. These are two keepers.

We are independent travelers and made our way around Tel Aviv (port of Jaffa, Carmel market) using the shared ride sheroot transportation. Hotel recommend is Tal Hotel. There's not a lot in this city which is a cross between Los Angeles and Panama City, FL.

We picked up a car rental with David and saw Caesarea, Mt. Carmel, Nazareth (which is 98% traffic and 2% sites to see.) Some people parachute, some run marathons, I rent cars in foreign countries for a rush.

Spent night at Hotel Ramot in northeast Galilee, the most peaceful view in the world. Then hit all holy sites in Galilee and made it to Beit Shean which is the coolest archeology dig we've seen since Pompeii.

We rented an apartment in Jerusalem that was superlative. VRBO.com number 191207. Right by pleasant Arab neighborhood at Damascus Gate. Ate at Al-Quds daily. David took us through each step from Mt. Olives to Church of Holy Sepulchre. Don't miss the "disputed ladder" story.

Sam took us into Palestine including Herodian and then Bethlehem. He knows everyone. Then we hit Masada and Dead Sea.

Advisories: Watch Friday nights and Saturdays are shabbat and things close. Don't answer questions that weren't asked by soldiers or customs people. Tell your guides to avoid "bus stop restaurants." There are no Starbucks in Israel. And fill up on Taco Bell before you go (you will miss it amongst all the hummus.) Travel while you're young (these hills will kill your knees).

Sam was extremely helpful is getting us accommodations when weather cancelled our flights. BTW, St. George's Guest House is a great place to stay, especially for families.

This is my second time to Israel and it just keeps getting better.

Nashville, TN, December 2010

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