Second Day Already

Our 14 hour flight to Tel Aviv on United was uneventful, but I would prefer not to fly United again. Even Polaris Business looked cramped and unappealing! First off, although we had premium seating, we were in the second to last boarding group, and by the time we boarded, even though the section was not full, there was NO overhead bin space. No flight attendants were anywhere nearby and no one offered to assist. Also, the area under the aisle seat was partially blocked (in every aisle seat, from what I saw) by some sort of technology box, which significantly reduced the amount of space available for my small, under-seat carry-on. The two adjoining seats had one large area for both people and our seat mate was likewise irritated that he had no storage underneath except for something very small and his bag wouldn’t fit in the overhead bin either. While the flight attendants were not surly, neither were they particularly welcoming or gracious, unlike our typical Southwest experience. The food was adequate and we were given water quite frequently, so that was fine. Also, there was an outlet at each seat for power but lighting and vent buttons were inaccessible as they were located above the window seat near the ceiling. Whose idea was that?

Arrival to Tel Aviv was a bit early, the terminal is built of beautiful creamy limestone, very modern, clean, with a gorgeous central rotunda and atrium. Baggage pickup was a breeze, as was immigration and customs and we were quickly on our way to meet our driver. His name was Alex and he had a lovely, clean Mercedes van that took us quickly to Jerusalem.

After arrival at the hotel, which is small and charming, if a bit tired in the decor of the rooms. Scott and I didn’t sleep more than an hour or two, but our first day in Jerusalem neither of us was particularly tired. We’ll pay for this tonight, for sure! Our room has its own Nespresso Vertuo machine and we had delicious espressos first thing. A bit later, we had a bountiful breakfast in the lobby from 7-10, including two different types of fish, a multitude of vegetable and tuna salads, cheeses, freshly-baked mini croissants, bread, jam, date syrup and tahini. Plus there was a frittata and soft-boiled eggs, and some potatoes in cream as well as delicious pink and yellow grapefruit and a big bowl of fruit for us to help ourselves. There were a couple of pastry-type desserts, but I didn’t try them. There was also a variety of types of yogurt, including Kefir, plus milk and lots of cold cereal options.

Our plan for the day was to include a walk to Jaffa Gate through the Old City, and wandering around the Arab souk. Lots of tourist-y items and shops, but a couple of the interesting ones held unusual spices and herbs, and mixes for tea. The tea mixes had different flavors made with dried fruits, herbs and candy, and the idea was to use two teaspoons in a cup of water, drink the tea, and then eat the remaining herbs and candy. Halfway through, we had a delicious (looking back, though, pretty pricey) lunch of two plates of shawarma and two bowls of well-seasoned lentil soup. We’ll check billboards for pricing next time, as most places charge half of what we paid!

The weather is very cold (38-40 degrees) with heavy rains and winds. Although we had the right clothes, our umbrellas couldn’t stand the onslaught and promptly broke. Arthur Hotel to the rescue with big umbrellas for us to carry with us. We walked around until we were thoroughly exhausted, and soaked, and then returned to the hotel for a much-needed rest and warm-up. Later, we took a cab to the old train station which has been turned into an amazing outdoor area with a stage for live events, and many restaurants. We had made reservations in this are for Adom and it did not disappoint. We had an interesting cocktail made with Stoli vanilla, red berries, cinnamon, elderflower and some “broken meringue” plus appetizer and main plates of shrimp in butter with polenta tortellini, fish stew with a thin flavorful broth with nary a tomato in sight, an orzo paste with spicy chorizo, clams and shrimp and my dish which was roasted cabbage that had been marinated in some vinegar, served with a swipe of labneh and a rib of bacon, that was more like a fatty spare rib. All of us thought the flavors were awesome and the presentation and service exceptional. Dessert was an intense chocolate souffle with housemade vanilla gelato and crisp meringue pieces. Dessert was no match for four greedy spoons!

Taxi there was about 35 shekels, 65 on the return, and we couldn’t get an answer as to why. Oh, well. Tomorrow we have a tour with Roni through the Old City beginning at 8:30am.

Scroll to Top