Getting Ready for Israel

Welcome to my first blog post. I’m excited to start creating this online journal of my husband’s and my travels around the world. If I’m being honest, I’m still not quite sure exactly what one is supposed to write in a “blog”, or how one goes about making it interesting and informative to others, but I’ve been told that I have a lot of great travel wisdom to share. Yes, mostly from my family who is tired of being my only audience! I’d like a place to document everything, so I’m taking a deep breath and starting. And, I have to admit, it feels great and terrifying at the same time to be starting something brand new at my age, but I’ll dive in and start this very moment with some thoughts below about our trip to Israel and Jordan.

Scott and I are getting ready for a two-week trip to Israel and Jordan, which begins soon. I’ve been once before, but he has not and I’m excited to see everything through his eyes and also to explore the country more deeply with him this time around. I certainly was awed by the immense sense of history I felt emanating from the streets and buildings of the old city in Jerusalem and I wonder if he’ll feel the same. The itineraries with beautiful pictures have been produced and edited and it seems all is in order for the vacation to proceed smoothly.

First is the 15 hour flight on United Airlines to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, with a driver picking us up and delivering us directly to the hotel Arthur in Jerusalem. Saturday we’ll be exhausted and definitely in need of a day of rest, which coincides with Shabbat (the Sabbath) in Israel. From past experience, I know that Jerusalem is VERY quiet on Shabbat with almost no traffic and people getting together with family and friends for some time together. Buses don’t run, the only transportation is shared shuttles (called sheroots) and they are few and far between. All shops and attractions are closed, as are most restaurants. Hotels typically have elevators that stop on every floor (one is not allowed to push buttons) and food that is served is usually a cold buffet. Patience and flexibility are definitely needed to get through the day. I have heard that the First Train Station and the Arab parts of town are open and thriving. Things start hopping again on Saturday night after sundown when shops, restaurants and transportation begin again, and there is a festive mood in the city.

The weather is supposed to be quite chilly and occasionally rainy, so we will be prepared with long underwear (silk, to minimize bulk), warm clothes and umbrellas. In terms of packing, I recently learned that even though rolling clothes and folding take up the same amount of space, if you roll clothes, there are fewer wrinkles to contend with when at the destination.

Also, for liquids and gels not to leak while in transit, use a small square of Saran-wrap over the top, under the lid. I haven’t tried this before and we have often had leaks, no matter how tightly we screw on lids. Hope this tip helps and we arrive with everything in good shape!

That’s all for now. I plan to write again when we arrive in the Middle East.

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