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Need Help with Jerusalem Itinerary

wj1
Los Angeles, CA
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Need Help with Jerusalem Itinerary

We need help with the Jerusalem portion of our itinerary for our upcoming trip to Israel in October. Too much to see and too little time. I'm hoping you can help us to plan efficiently and in the most enjoyable manner. Here's what we are thinking of:

Sun: Arrive in Jerusalem from Ein Gedi. We will need to return the car and check into the Harmony. We were thinking of doing the Sandeman free tour. We aren't sure that we can make the 11am-2:30 tour so we will probably end up doing the 2:30-6pm tour.

Mon: The Sandeman Holy City Tour from 11am-3pm. (Could we fit in the Burn House and Herodian Quarter and Museum before and after the tour?)

Tues: City of David Tour at 10am and 4X4 Tour of Mt. of Olives at 1pm.

Wed: JNF bus tour (Ayalon, Sderot, Be'er Sheva, Govot Bar)

Th. Yad Vashem tour in English at 11-1pm. Machaneh Yehuda Market.

Fri: 4:15pm flight

We haven't yet made reservations for Kotel Tunnel Tours and I'm hoping they still have availabitlity; will they? We would also like to walk along the Ramparts and walk through Mea Shearim. When should we try to do those? Is this too hectic of a schedule? Any suggested changes?

Thanks so much for your help.

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1. Re: Need Help with Jerusalem Itinerary

You've made a full schedule but it is not tight and is doable.

Monday: You can fit the Burnt House and Herodian Quarter and Museum in--it would mean an early start and lots of backtracking. ( Sandman tours start at the Jaffa Gate and the two sites are in the Jewish Quarter--maybe a 10 minute walk ( via the Armenian Quarter)

Without calling there is no way to know if the Kotel Tunnel Tours is available. You do have time each evening and Friday AM.

Walking through the main Street of Mea Shearim is no big deal and walking into private areas and courtyards is, IMO intrusive. Make sure you are modestly dressed to do this--especially if you are going to try to wander off the main street into aforementioned areas. ( women--knees covered in preferably a skirt, no low necklines or short sleeves) If you are staying on the main street you can push the guidelines and get away with it

Haifa
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2. Re: Need Help with Jerusalem Itinerary

It seems that you've decided to do the whole part of Jerusalem by your own and you are relying on Sandeman, which is a legit decision but makes you turn your whole days accordingly.

I don't know what the tours include but I cam comment on the other part of your itinerary:

Tue – if you are taking the guided tour to the City of David at 10:00 you will finish it right on time to get to the Temple Mt which is open for visiting from 13:30 for 1hr only. From there you can go on to the Jewish Quarter and it sites (the Burnt House and the Herodian Quarter). That way you have a whole day tour till the afternoon. To my opinion the 4x4 tour offered by the City of David is a waste of money and doesn't worth it.

Wed – is a day tour in your itinerary that has nothing to do with Jerusalem. I don't recognize the place you are calling Govot Bar, I guess you mean Giv'ot Bar which is a new settlement near Ber Sheba established by the JNF. This day of you focused on the JNF and its activities. If this is what you meant to it is OK, but if you are taking this tour to see some more places in Israel I can think of better options.

Thu – starting with Yad Vashem and then going on to the new city is a good plan. Use the second part of the day for independent walking tour to Nahla'ot, Machaneh Yehuda and Hnevi'im st.

Fri – you can use the morning for a visit to the Israel Museum, the Shrine of the books and the Jerusalem of the Second Temple Period model, all at the museum.

Israel
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3. Re: Need Help with Jerusalem Itinerary

It seems to me that you are schedueling the Sandeman's tour on two consecutive days which is redundant. If you do the tour on Sunday then I would suggest either doing a self tour of the places the Sandeman's does not cover such as the Burnt House, Tunnel Tours, Herodian Quarter and perhaps the Old Yishuv Court Museum, Moslem market.

Monday take the City of David Tour, which is 3 hours long and then do sifting at Emek Zurim (not far from the Old City and taxi accesible). If you would like to visit the Mt. of Olives you can easily do a walking tour from here (take a taxi to the top).

You can walk on the ramparts on any day you are in the Old City, I would recommend walking on them on the way to the City of David, giving you an overview of the outside of the walls before going under the oldest part of Jerusalem. You have time to make a reservation for the tunnel tours, make it now, you can always try to change or cancel if need be. Better to reserve early than miss out.

I would forgo walking through Mea Shearim, due to the dislike of tourists in that neighborhood. There are other Ultra Orthodox neighborhoods such as Geula where you can experience the culture without the locals being -- not so nice--. Of course if you want to go there to purchase a certain Judaica item by all means do so, but as mentioned earlier dress modestly (long sleeves/long skirts/head coverings/no tee shirts with printing on them).

Thursday Yad Vashem is perfect, as well as Yad Vashem. Don't forget the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall and Nahlat Shiva, Italian Museum.

Friday finish up what you didn't manage, perhaps a short tour of the Israel Museum before leaving for the airport at around 12:30 from Jerusalem.

Chana

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4. Re: Need Help with Jerusalem Itinerary

It sounds as if you are planning to do both the Sandeman's free tour and their Holy City tour - this will involve a certain amount of duplication. Also, allow me to clarify some of what may not be obvious from the Sandeman site. The Holy City Tour does go up to the Temple Mount, however, you will only see the outside of buildings there - you will not enter the Dome of the Rock or Al-Aqsa. There are other sites that are in both tours, and considering the length of each tour, much of what you will tick off on the list of sites they take you to will be just that - you will see it, hear a short explanation and keep going.

Considering the cost of the Holy City tour and the time involved in doing both tours I would suggest that you skip both and instead do a regular one day Jerusalem tour with Bein Harim or United or Egged Tours - or check into the Jerusalem walking tours at Zion Tours - just inside the Jaffa Gate. It may cost a bit more than the paid Sandeman tour but will be a much better use of your time.

You could do this on Monday - leaving you most of Sunday free. You could use that time to visit the Old City on your own, see the Burnt House and the Herodian Quarter. - depending on how early you get to Jerusalem, you can also do the Ramparts Walk.

I would suggest returning your car, taking a taxi to the Harmony Hotel, checking in and then heading to the Jaffa Gate. You can do the Ramparts Walk from the Jaffa Gate to the Zion Gate, walk into the Jewish Quarter for the Burnt House and the Herodian Quarter - and perhaps even have an evening slot for the Kotel Tunnels.

As others have suggested - on Thursday, you have enough time after Yad VaShem to walk through Machaneh Yehuda and from there visit the Nachalaot neighborhoods and other areas downtown.

As far as walking through Mea Shearim - just one further clarification - the accepted definition of "modest" dress there is much more stringent than elsewhere. In order to avoid any unpleasantness, please make sure that women wear skirts that are below their knee - in addition to all the other recommendations already listed.

NYC/Israel
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5. Re: Need Help with Jerusalem Itinerary

OKay--i"ll admit.... while in Jerusalem last week I went on the free Sandeman's tour. They did not know that I comment on TA and while I admitted being a frequent visitor to Israel my reason for going was I hadn't taken a general, non-political tour in years. ( all true)

The guide was knowledgeable in what he said BUT it was a very very brief overview. It takes 3hours and part of that time was a break for lunch/bathrooms. We walked through all 4 quarters of the Old City--but frequently we were just walking to get to a place where the guide shared comments. There was no commentary or explanation of where we walked or what we were walking past. ( and there were times that they could have been added, ie. going past the cotton market if you looked down the door to the Temple mount was open. They did provide a few nice photo opportunities ( one of these days I'll post them on TA). I also had a brochure which described their other tours. The HOly City tour seemed much more complete. I would pay and do that --and skip the freebie. BTW both were lead by licensed guides.

Paragon
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6. Re: Need Help with Jerusalem Itinerary

Mea Shearim....have walked through it a few times without ever a problem. I happen to wear a headcovering or a hat as a matter of course on a daily basis (part of my religious practice), but, the other ladies in my little group did not. We were not bothered by anybody and nobody was "not nice" to us in any way. We found it an interesting place to spend some time walking through.

Kathy

wj1
Los Angeles, CA
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7. Re: Need Help with Jerusalem Itinerary

Hi everyone.

I appreciate everyone's thoughtful comments. Based on your comments and our own feelings, I think we will see if we can hire a private guide for the Old City for Monday instead of doing either of the Sandeman tours. I think it will open up our schedule and give us more flexibility.

I follow the Israel board so I am familiar with some of the guides. However, if any of you have any comments, suggestions, or experiences--good or bad--please leave them here or send me a private message.

Thanks again.

NYC/Israel
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8. Re: Need Help with Jerusalem Itinerary

Kathy--A headcovering for women is not the problem or concern in walking through Mea Shearim. From you pic you are dressed modestly. Your knees are coverd, you arms are partially covered ( not as much as they like, but they deal with it) and your neckline is not plunging.

I am an Orthodox women, but since I am not married I do not wear a hat.

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9. Re: Need Help with Jerusalem Itinerary

Hi,

I am currently in Jerusalem at the moment and i;ve been using this great sit - funinjerusalem, it gave me a whole list of idea's to do - have fun on your trip =) it's great out here

NYC/Israel
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10. Re: Need Help with Jerusalem Itinerary

Good link BUT are you positive you aren't connected with them .--after all interesting name you have here on TA!