Aboard The Ms Prinsendam

Dec 27th, 2010, 05:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,145
Oct 31 At Sea:

We were invited to the Mariner's Lunch, even though it was our first voyage with HAL. Roast beef, wine, dessert and a HAL tile for each of us.

Roberta went off to the spa for a massage, which she liked very much. I hope that she doesn't expect this kind of treat every 75 years.

The MDR was decorated for Halloween. Roast duck with wild mushrooms - VVG.
It is getting harder for me to close my dinner jacket.

11/1 Ashdod
We were delayed about 1.5 hr because a cargo ship in our berth was having some trouble loading.

Everyone going ashore had to get their passports and an Israeli visa card (there are still some countries that will refuse you entry if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport) before going ashore. Tour groups had priority. Line was very long, but moved at a reasonable pace.

Being adventurous souls, we took a cab from the ship to the Central Bus Station for about $5. All the while the driver kept telling us that he could take us to Jerusalem for only 150 USD - which would be cheaper.

We caught the 10:00 AM No. 438 bus at platform 2 to Jerusalem. Tickets purchased on board were 17 Israeli Shekelim (1 shekel, 2 shekelim) - about $5 pp ea way.

It's a 1.5 hr pleasant ride through the countryside to the very, very big, sprawling, modern city of Jerusalem.

At the Jerusalem CBS, we took a cab to the Zion Gate. It turned out to be cheaper and more convenient to take a cab than it was to use the tourist bus - http://www.egged.co.il/Eng/main.asp?lngCategoryID=2773

The regular bus would be even cheaper.

From the Zion Gate we strolled through the Jewish quarter - clean, well restored, gentrified - to the Western Wall Plaza.

If I recall my Bible correctly, when Jesus came to Jerusalem he found it to be a big tourist trap. He got so peeved at the con artists that he overturned the money changer's booths and drove them from the Temple.

The con men are still there.

Fortunately, neither of us were in Jerusalem as a religious pilgrimage, so that the sight of the area being little more than a large holding area for groups of tourists to be shuttled to the Wall to have their pix taken or to be part of a series of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs was more saddening than angering.

It was little different at the other places one would go. The Via Dolorosa was lined with souvenir shops. The various religious sites - Jewish, Christian, Muslim - were surrounded by and filled with purveyors of all sorts of stuff. However, unlike in Mark Twain's day, one can no longer find a piece of the True Cross or similar articles.

Looking beyond the crowds and the sleaze in what is one of the world's oldest tourist traps one can find some interesting ancient artifacts, eg, the Tower of David. Actually, what you see today isn't the original tower. It is a reconstruction of the original tower that was put up about 200 years after the original was destroyed. It goes back only to about 50 BCE.

After absorbing as much as we could, we took a cab from the Jaffa Gate to the CBS, the bus back to Ashdod and a cab to the ship.

Be shore to get a cab that is licensed to go into the Port area. They have their own stand.

Pix of Jerusalem go here.

ira is offline  
Dec 27th, 2010, 07:03 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,813
The bus 99 in Jerusalem is good for a tour - if you can make a circle around the city, it's narrated in several languages. You were right, it's not good as a mode of transportation - running every 2 hours.
Dayenu is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 06:32 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,271
Did you enjoy Kusadasi?
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 05:34 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,145
Hi HT,

Kusadsi was very interesting.

We liked it much more than Alexandria.

Don't miss a visit to Ephesus.

ira is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 01:57 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,271
We'll be sure to visit Kusadasi on our trip to Turkey,a land based trip. Thanks.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Jan 25th, 2011, 06:55 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,426
FYI this ship was ranked in thetop 20 of large cruise ships in the latest issue of CN Traveler mag.
jacketwatch is offline  

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