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Touring Israel with Walking Limitations

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Touring Israel with Walking Limitations

My husband and I are planning our first, and probably only, trip to Israel. Our current plans are to go in April, after Passover, and stay two weeks. I would like to spend the most time in Jerusalem, particularly the Old City, Masada, Dead Sea, Mea Shearim, then head north for a few days and then spend a day or two in Tel Aviv. We are both in our 60's. He is in good physical condition, but I have difficulty walking long distances, up hill, up stairs, and on uneven pavement, and I walk quite slowly. I want to see as much as I can. Any suggestions as to how to best do this? I would love to have a private tour guide the whole time, but that will be too expensive, unless we can find two other couples to join us. I am thinking about hiring a tour guide for a few days and touring on our own the rest of the time. Thank you so much for your help. I have been reading everything you are saying here and finding it very helpful and interesting. Also, do you see any problems going between Passover and Shavuot regarding weather or crowds? I do not do well in very hot weather.

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1. Re: Touring Israel with Walking Limitations

Travel to Israel during the week starting 15 April 2012 means you're likely to have good weather. Except for the occasional 'chamsin' (equivalent to the 'Santa Ana winds' of southern CA), temps should be mild. During this period you'll experience two memorial days (Holocaust and Fallen Soldiers) and Israel's Independence Day.

You are absolutely correct that if you're able to organize a group of 6 persons, the cost of a private tour with private guide and vehicle becomes particularly attractive. You can certainly combine days of independent touring with days out with a private guide. For instance, Yad Vashem can be done independently.

For a 13-night Jewish heritage program, I suggest the following bases for touring and in the following order:

2 nights Tel Aviv - for moderately priced hotel, consider a property in the Atlas Group: www.atlas.co.il

3 nights Galilee - consider staying at the Ramot Resort in the foothills of the Golan Heights with a fabulous view of the Kinneret

1 night Dead Sea - I recommend the Crowne Plaza Dead Sea at Ein Boqeq

3 nights Eilat - I like the Isrotel Yam Suf near the Egyptian border. Make sure to request a room with a sea view.

4 nights Jerusalem - my favorite hotel with Jerusalem character is the Mount Zion Hotel. Save Jerusalem for last and proceed from there directly to Ben Gurion Airport for your departure.

If you use a private guide for some days of touring, the guide can certainly take your physical limitations into account when planning the itinerary. Also ask him/her to take the Israel Indepedence holiday into account.

You should be fine on this trip. Your most challenging portion of the itinerary will be in the Old City of Jerusalem, but even there, there are ways to minimize the walking. And with a private guide, you'll be setting your own pace and won't have to keep up with a large group tour.

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2. Re: Touring Israel with Walking Limitations

Dave has given you wonderful advice and a great start to planning your trip.

Many people with varying mobility limitations visit Israel every year and you too will find the manner and pace that suits you. As you already noted, the ideal would be to have a private tour, however, even if you can only swing that for a few days, you will be able to do a lot of touring on your own and then you will not be bound to the pace and speed of a group tour.

The one definite thing we can all say is that it will be the trip of a lifetime and you will have an amazing time.

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3. Re: Touring Israel with Walking Limitations

I was in Israel in May. I have walking limitations since heart attack and subsequent surgery (have a lot of loss of heart muscle....so, limited stamina)..........

Our trip was 16 days (including travel to and from) and we stayed five nights in the North (Ramot Resort..........beautiful location)............2 nights in Tel Aviv (Melody Hotel......have stayed there previously as well and like it quite a lot) and then six nights in an apartment (on Narkiss St.) in Jerusalem. There were 4 of us.

We had our guide driver with us for 10 days. We found plenty to do on the days we didn't have him with us that was do-able for me. Having him with us in the North was essential. Having him a couple of days in Jerusalem area was quite good, too. He was not with us for our one full day in Tel Aviv.

The guide we used is Moti Dagan. I have used him on 4 private tours.

Kathy

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4. Re: Touring Israel with Walking Limitations

I think the outline presented is very good but would like to give a couple of other alternatives.

If you don't like the heat, I would skip Eilat and spend more time in the centre and north of the country. I have not stayed at the Ramot Resort but can tell that it must be a favourite place of davetheguides since he recommends it a lot. My favourite place in the north is Hotel Pastural at Kibbutz Kfar Blum. It is right on the Jordan river and being that it is right in the Hula valley, the walking all around the property is flat. There is a lovely promenade along the Jordan to follow from the kibbutz and an excellent spa. Access to the spa facilities are included in the price of your room.

There is so much to see and do in the north. It would be best to have a guide for this area.

When in Jerusalem, you just need to pace yourself. The old city involves a lot of walking, a lot of it on uneven pavement. Just take your time, take in the sites and you will manage just fine. From the Jaffa gate, it is almost all downhill to the Kotel. From there you can take a cab and avoid the uphill walk back. A guide would be very helpful in this regard.

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5. Re: Touring Israel with Walking Limitations

I will echo...........I do not recommend Eilat unless you have, perhaps, been to Israel several times and have not seen it. I have not ever gone there because I simply adore the rest of the country and haven't ever had (in my opinion) adequate time to see all I want to see and add Eilat into the mix. Someday perhaps I will have three or four weeks (ah, yes! A month is my goal!) and then I would like to go there for a couple of days.

Kathy

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6. Re: Touring Israel with Walking Limitations

Thank you all very much for your suggestions. We do not plan to go to Eilat. There are too many other places we want to see. My favorite beach in the world is in Maine!

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7. Re: Touring Israel with Walking Limitations

Even without Eilat, for a 13-day program, I still recommend (provided you visit during a cooler time of year) one day out in the Negev Highlands. Places you'd see in that area with dramatic desert landscape include S'de Boker (desert home and burial place of PM David Ben-Gurion), Avdat and Makhtesh Ramon - Israel's "Grand Canyon."

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8. Re: Touring Israel with Walking Limitations

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9. Re: Touring Israel with Walking Limitations

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