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Okay - - a bit off topic, and I am just starting to do my reading, but tell me where to start on planning a trip to "the Holy Land" (for 2006) - - from Rex

Okay - - a bit off topic, and I am just starting to do my reading, but tell me where to start on planning a trip to "the Holy Land" (for 2006) - - from Rex

Old Dec 26th, 2004, 11:52 AM
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rex
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Okay - - a bit off topic, and I am just starting to do my reading, but tell me where to start on planning a trip to "the Holy Land" (for 2006) - - from Rex

So the Christmas dinnertime conversation(s) threw me for a bit of a curve this year. I was hoping that there might be some interest in a Europe trip this May. But my (oldest) brother-in-law (more or less the ascending patriarch) asked me to think about putting together a trip to "the Holy Land" -- for 2006. Presumably 3-5 couples, probably in September or October, and he didn't seem to be in the mood to play 20 questions with me (and I'm not sure I would have been able to ask 20 intelligent questions) until I had done some further reading.

He did clarify that he is not particularly interested in Rome/Assisi/etc (thinks that Italy is not so difficult to do at an older stage in life - - wants to take on the Middle East now, in early 50's); has 8-10 days in mind, probably single country, and NOT interested in "following the footsteps of Paul" (in Greece and Turkey and other biblical sites actually IN Europe).

It/they (Israel and/or Palestine) might have never made it on my radar screen as (a set of) destination(s) I would have chosen. But I am going to do some reading to at least put together a skeleton plan. Jerusalem will surely be at the heart of the plan. Maybe Nazareth. The focus will likely be on the "major sites amd sights" of Christian importance first, Judaism second, Islam third. Not sure that time on the Mediterranean or on the Dead Sea will likely be on the agenda. And I am going to try to keep an open mind - - even if I was not all that interested in going to the Middle East. B-I-L and wife will surely be able to assemble a very good group of fun people with more than adequate means - - so I won't have to worry about "forming the group".

So - - I have looked on the Africa/Middle east forum and there just isn't the robust quantity of info there - -and besides, I "know" (sort of) "all of you" and feel like I can put your advice into context the most easily. Where have you been in Israel? Where was best? Where was too difficult? or didn't quite seem worth it? My very preliminary reading seemed to leave me wanting for any (lists of) boutique-y hotels. The two properties from the Relais & Chateaux group (American Colony in Jerusalem and Mizpe-Hayamim near Rosh Pina overlooking the sea of Galilee) are on the right track, but maybe more expensive and more "posh" than necessary (all luxury all the time is actually not very appealing, in my prior experiences).

I'll make it to the library and/or bookstore soon, and I have found a few informative websites - - but I'm eager to hear the kind of "more", that only Fodorites can provide, even if it is only to get me started.

Thanks in advance... and...

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 11:55 AM
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Hi Rex,

Beforeyou start, i suggest that you read "Innocents Abroad" by Mark Twain.

The "Holy Land" hasn't changed much since he was there.

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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 12:13 PM
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When were you there, ira? and where there were you?
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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 01:03 PM
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As someone who rountinely chastises people for failing to follow the posting rules/guidelines, you are a big league hypocrite for posing this question on the Europe forum. Despite the sad fact that you feel more comfy here, you do the site a double disservice because:

(1) The Africa/ME board will continue to be less "robust" and, (2) Any good info imparted here will go to waste for those correctly seeking it on the Africa/ME forum.

So why don't you be a patient man and repost in the right place and wait for some good travel info?

Or do the rules not apply to you?
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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 01:13 PM
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For starters, I'd take a look at Jordan and plan to visit Petra. Then I'd take a look at tours to the Holy Land and pick and choose the sights/sites that are of interest. After that you can work out the usual rough itinerary and start looking at hotels. From what our various friends who have been to Israel tell me, there isn't a lot of choice for mid-range hotels; the best seem to be large as opposed to boutique-sized.
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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 01:18 PM
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Pray Really Really Hard For Peace in the Middle East. As Usual, Have A Great Trip!!! Mike
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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 01:18 PM
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No - - you are right - - and the rules DO apply to me. And I was remiss in failing to say that I would also post on the the Africa/ME forum as well. I have used this same strategy on this forum in the past year for questions about California and south Florida - - with posting "there" as well as here, and explaining why I was doing it that way - - and got far more quantity answers here, and to my thinking, perhaps slightly better quality answers here. My mistake was not explaining my intention to double post there. But I will remedy my error immediately.

Confession: since there are more posts in 2004 that mention Israel here on this forum than on the Africa/ME forum for the same time period - - I figured that I would look through the early replies here and see if I could re-post there with somewhat more informed questions. But now I will proceed with exactly this (initial) posting there.

Chastisement deserved; chastisement taken. More replies, please.

Thanks.
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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 01:31 PM
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Good for you, rex, but instead of asking people to respond here, why don't you ask for people to reply on the Afr/ME forum?

That way, everyone wins.

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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 01:36 PM
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rex
this is minimal information, but my sister took her immediate family to Israel a few years ago, and if your family resources will allow for this, I pass along her recommendation of hiring a private guide with van, for your group. On their trip they had about 10 days in Israel, and then they also had 3 days in Egypt-Cairo, pyramids, etc. They didn't allow time for a trip on the Nile, but others do. In Israel they went as far north as the Golan Heights, they visited the West Bank and Gaza, Tel Aviv and of course Jerusalem, and points in between including the Dead Sea and Masada. My sister said that one of the remarkable things she experienced was how small the country is, and even historical sites that in the Bible seem long journeys, are just a few miles from one another.

I may be accompanying my sister and family on a repeat trip (to Israel only) this summer myself, so I will be interested in what you find out. I don't visit the Asia board, so if you could occasionally clue us in here that you have posted or discovered new information on that board, I for one would be grateful. I think as a very helpful and knowledgeable contributor here, we can surely cut you some slack about mixing Asia with Europe.
When I have posted a rare question on the USA board I have also posted references here on the Europe board just to wave a flag and get some of the erudite Europe regulars to chime in over there.
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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 01:44 PM
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<<why don't you ask for people to reply on the Afr/ME forum? >>

I think you just have.

Clicking on my name takes me readily to either, so I really cannot be troubled by anyone posting there. Nor does it feel right saying, at this point, that answers "ought" to be posted, preferentially, "there".

But over a span of days, I may indeed put up new postings "there" (only?) and simply make reference to them, here on this thread.

A lot depends on where my enthusiasm for this trip takes me. After all, right now, it seems a long ways away. But already enjoying the learning.


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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 01:50 PM
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Thanks, elaine. By Asia board, perhaps you meant the Africa/ME board? (see discussion about this above). Just starting to look into the combination of Jordan (i.e., Petra) with destinations in Israel/Palestine. I don't think that Egypt will "sell", knowing my B-I-L as I do.

I may pitch the idea of doing this Dec 26 next year. Right now, for example, the American Colony hotel in Jerusalem (rooms normally starting at $420) has rates from $207 for at least the month starting Dec 26!

I wonder how cramped it would feel to go to Jerusalem ONLY, for say 5 nights?
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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 01:58 PM
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I've never been to that part of the world, but for the last few years I've been on the mailing list of the British Museum travel program, which always has some interesting looking tours in the middle east. You might get some ideas by reading through their current and past years' catalogues: http://www.thetraveller2004.com/
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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 01:58 PM
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Hi Rex,

You've given so much quality advise here, I think it's only appropriate we all share...

I lived in Israel for 6 months but that was MANY years ago, but a good friend of mine just returned 2 days ago and I'm meeting with her Tues. and will give you a full report.

I loved Jerusalem, Haifa, and Safed. Thought Tel Aviv was a lot like L.A. and while the Dead Sea is interesting, with limited time, I'm not sure it's worth it--depends on your priorities--I'd spend more time in Jerusalem.

I lived on a kibbutz (Ayelet Hashaha) near Rosh Pina and they have a nice guesthouse (or they did then).

Will write more Tues.

Shalom,
Paula
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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 02:04 PM
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It has been a few years since I was in Israel, but I traveled from the Golan Heights down to Eilat. I would suggest visiting Tiberias (Sea of Galilee), Nazareth, Jerusalem and the Masada (along the Dead Sea). (I love Haifa and Eilat, but those doen't have much religious significance.) You could base in Tiberias for the northern part of the country and in Jerusalem for the southern part. Tiberias has beautiful resort hotels, but also some smaller, less expensive hotels. Although you may be concentrating on religious shrines and sites (watch out for the little old Greek ladies), you also should get a feel for the energy that is modern Israel - the cafes, the mix of orthodox with secularism, the kibbutz. Learn a little modern Hebrew. Also, do not miss Yad Vashem. As for the religious shrines, be aware that there is quite a bit of disagreement over where this or that happened. Visit all the different supposed sites.
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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 02:06 PM
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I have frequently cited http://www.fodors.com/forums/faqs.cfm#Q6 as "how one should post", though I have never referred to these guidelines as "rules". In particular, I focused on the statement:

"Finally, create a title - make sure it is concise and clearly describes your message (and destination, if applicable)" - - the added emphasis is my own.

But... a paragraph above that it does indeed say...

"First, select the forum that best applies to your question."

So, in the spirit of the harmony intended this season so special to all of us...

... the thread on the "other" forum - - where no one has posted a reply yet, is...

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34547914

Please do post relevant travel info there, if you wouldn't mind.
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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 02:07 PM
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Thanks for the kind words, artlover/Paula...


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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 02:21 PM
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11,000 people, at least have died this weekend due to an earthquake in Souteast Asia. Hundreds of travelers couldn't get home for Xmas due to bad weather and airline chaos. Thousands of US soldiers are far from home, fighting a war that not everyone agrees with. Millions of people have just concluded a celebration of hope and joy.


I've noticed that rockhopper often uses strong criticism and sarcasm in replies here and on the US forum.
I think that employing the strong word 'hypocrite' to a stranger, because of a mere question, even if it's a misplaced question, on a travel forum is, at the very least, WAY overstating the importance of some things.
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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 02:21 PM
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We have been to Israel many, many times since my husband's whole family moved there from New York twenty years ago. Israel is a wonderful, vibrant, very friendly, tourist oriented country and you will really enjoy it. As has been mentioned, Jerusalem is the city to focus on. There is a new archaeologically oriented museum that has opened near the "Wailing Wall" or the "Kotel"(as it is called in Hebrew) that is very hi-tech and leads you to actual remains from the various periods of different conquering armies. I can't remember the name of the museum -sorry. Located at the Wailing Wall is a tour of the Wall's tunnels which is amazing! You get taken underneath the ground level and see the actual pillars from the Temple that used to stand on this site and was destroyed by the Roman invaders.
As far as Tel Aviv goes, I think it is a fun place to stay, lots of cafes, boutiques, galleries, and running all along the beautiful beach.


The large "luxury" hotels are the best places to stay, whether in Jerusalem or elsewhere. One of the most popular hotels is the Inbal, next to the Liberty Bell Park in Jerusalem.

My mother in law is a child Holocaust survivor and is a tour guide (volunteer) at the Yad VaShem Museum. If you are planning on going, request her, you can write me for her name.

I would also recommend a day trip or two to the "Negev", the desert in the south of Israel. The landscape there is awesome and you can visit the mountaintop of Matsadah, another excavated site. There is a cable car which takes you to the top and it is magnificent. Hope this helps.
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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 03:13 PM
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Enough already harping re: the posting rules, Rex got the point. Now that's established, he might as well procure information since he's here!

I think a trip to the Middle East, specifically Holy Land, would be very interesting. I have a couple friends from Amman, Jordan and Syria, respectively. The latter knows what a big fan of Roman ruins I am and told me that I will find a lot of those ruins in Syria/Lebanon along the coast. Not to mention the wonderful historical places mentioned in the Bible: Sea of Galilee, Mount of Olives, Golgotha, etc. I would think it would be a very fascinating trip. While you are that close, you should include seeing the Nile and pyramids. Another close friend especially loved taking a river tour along the Nile, stopping in Memphis, the ancient capital of the old kingdom of Egypt (and also her favorite city). I have a particular interest to see Alexandria and Carthage, so a trip in that direction might be next for me! Have fun planning what promises to be a very interesting trip. Let us know your itinerary once it's established.
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Old Dec 26th, 2004, 03:20 PM
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Huitres,

I've started a thread on Alexandria for you.
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