Seniors Self-Touring Israel

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Sep 11th, 2005, 06:15 AM
  #1
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Seniors Self-Touring Israel

In November my wife and I, both 70, will tour Israel for the first time for 15 land days.
We are traveling independently and have developed an itinerary but we still have a number of questions. Regretfully, we do not speak nor read Hebrew.

1. How much does a taxi cost from Ben Gurion to our hotel in downtown Tel Aviv and is less expensive transport available (8PM)?

2. We have reservations at the Metropolitan Hotel (Trumpeldor St., off Hayarkon) at $89/night Can anyone comment on this hotel and/or recommend a better alternative?

3. We will be taking two United group bus tours: one to Caesarea, Acre and Rosh Hanikra and the other to Nazareth, Capernaum and the Jordan River. Any comments or suggestions?

4. We will have an additional three full days for self-touring in and around Tel Aviv. We will visit Old Jaffa, the Diaspora Museum and are considering driving a rent a car for a one day trip to Haifa for the Bahai Temple (hanging gardens?) and a Druze village. Please advise. In addition, can anyone recommend some delicious but moderately price restaurants?

5. We will be traveling with two small rolling carry on suitcases and a garment bag that can piggy back. What are the alternatives and costs for transport between the Tel Aviv hotel and the Jerusalem Hotel?

6. What are the best value moderately priced hotels in Jerusalem? Idem; apartments, bed and breakfasts?

7. Once again we will be taking two United group bus tours. The first is a day tour in the old city and New Jerusalem. The second is to Massada, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea .We will have an additional four full days for self-touring in Jerusalem. We would appreciate your suggestions for daily itineraries (including Bethlehem) as well as restaurants.

8. We will be traveling from Jerusalem to Eilat by an Egged public bus. We have two nights at the Caesarea Hotel at $83/night.Any comments and/or suggestions on this, or other, hotels?

9. We will be taking a day trip to Petra. Any suggestions as to what company is best value?

10. We will be flying from Eilat to Sde-Dov on the last flight (9.30PM) and transfer to Ben Gurion since our Iberia flight leaves the next day at 3.30AM! Do we have to take a taxi or is bus service available at 11PM?


paulfr is offline  
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Sep 11th, 2005, 12:23 PM
  #2
sandi
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While 70 isn't "old" - better check the max. age for car rental in Israel or whomever is the rental agency before planning a self-drive. Many countries, worldwide, have an age limit for rentals on the bottom "young" end and upper end. But road signs are in English, Hebrew and Arabic, so if you're driving you should be fine.

There are "sherout" - shared limo size taxis at the airport that will get you into TLV at a reasonable price. You can also arrange one of these for your return flight at the end of your trip.

I'll leave some of the other answers to those who have been recently and provide more substance for you.
 
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Sep 12th, 2005, 07:57 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
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wow... Lots of questions....

Allow me just few answers:

1. I think there is a train now from Ben Gurion to TLV. From there you can take a short cab ride to the hotel.

Otherwise, you need to ASK FIRST how much is the price for a cab ride to your hotel. I don't think it should be more than $30-$40.

3. Tour buses are a good, efficient way to see Israel.

4. Renting a car in Israel can be tricky. The Israelis (like MOST Mediterraneans) are crazy drivers, and even dangerous ones (though the Italians and Greek are much worse)...

I would take the train to Haifa, and a cab to the Bahai Gardens (magnificent!). But then you'll mis the Druze village... Weel, it's your decision.

Don't worry about restaurants. In Israel you can easilly find good and inexpensive Israeli/Mideast restaurants. But then if you are after high class French fod, then yes, you need to ask around...

5. With you suitcases, I think taking an Egged public bus (45 minutes) is the most efficient. They have big "trunks" under the bus floor.

6. Check the Eldan Hotel (owned by Eldan Rent A Car), known as a reasonable hotel. Bed & Breakfast are not something that you can find in Israel's llarge cities, but mostly (and really great ones) in the Galillee.

7. Again, tour busses are a very good way to see Israel.

4 days in Jerusalem is plenty. You'll take at least one whole day for the Old City, 1/2 a day in the Israel-Museum, 1/2 day in Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum (newly renovated and very impressive), Go to the Machne Yehuda SHUK (open Market), visit the older parts of Western Jerusalem in the downtown, Go to the old orthodox Jewish quarter of Meah Shearim -- but dress very conservatively... Ask others for more ideas.

8. The hotel is an OK hotel. Especially for $89 a night. Israeli hotels have a GREAT breakfast, and it's usually INCLUDED in the price. Don't miss it.

Eilat is a nice resort city. You walk everywhere, take a boat to the Under Water museum, ask about the Timna Park.

9. Petra is in Jordan, so you have to cross the border (in Eilat?)... I am not sure a day-trip is enough time to cross the border twice and get to Petra and back....

10. Why don't you get a flight from Eilat directly to Ben Gurion? Though you'd still have to take a short cab from the old domestic terminal to the new one.

Othewise you'll need a cab from Sde-Dov in TLV to Ben Gurion.

...Hope this helps a bit. Maybe others can help further...
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Sep 13th, 2005, 06:02 AM
  #4
sandi
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Re: Petra - Yes, there are full-day tours from Eilat via Aqaba to Petra and return. You probably get to visit the main buildings at the site, but for more inclusive visit, anyone would want to spend two or more days. But if this is all the time you have, it's doable.

Check ahead of time with your hotel the arrangements made or have to made to get to the border. If the tour operator doesn't do hotel pick-ups in Eilat you'll have to take a taxi. You will have to obtain a Jordanian Visa here - do have some passport-size photos with you, just in case these are required. I don't recall the amount for the Visa (last I paid was about $30 or $35 - could have changed +/-).

Also suggest you fly direct to Ben Guriun airport.
 
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Sep 13th, 2005, 09:05 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: May 2004
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I am not sure what kind of walkers you are but be aware that the walk into Petra is significant, 1/4 mile or so, then additional walking from there with no shade later in the day. I saw some people taking horses and buggies into the site which you may want to consider. I am a pretty good walker but I would have loved a ride back out at the end of the day as we were exhausted and hot. We had spent all our money on drinks and gifts in the tents. Perhaps your tour includes this? If you are on a budget you may want to factor this in.
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Sep 14th, 2005, 02:47 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
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You're getting great information here.

The only tiny disagreement I have is that 4 days in Jerusalem could never be enough. *smile* I could easily spend a week or more there every time I go and never think it was enough.

Yes, I love Jerusalem! But, I love the whole country. ENJOY!

Kathy

Paragon, Indiana, USA
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