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Finally, the planning begins!

Baltimore, MD
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Finally, the planning begins!

Now that our tickets are in hand, and our apartment is confirmed…….it is time for questions.

We are arriving on January 6th, and departing at midnight on January 19th, 2011. We knew when we started planning this trip that Jerusalem was the main focus. I have been to Israel several times but DH has never been. We are a Jewish/Christian couple, love urban areas, and like to travel at our own pace, which can be fast or slow, as the situation requires.

We are staying in an apartment on Lincoln St., almost at the corner of Washington, behind the YMCA Seven Arches.

We are open to a day trip or two, and obviously would like to hear any recommendations. We may go to Tel Aviv for the last two days of our trip but that is still not firm.

Here is what is on our “wish list”, mostly the things that we have to make reservations for:

The Temple Mount sifting

The Tunnel Tour at the Kotel

The Light show at the Citadel

We have to plan our first day with some detail since we arrive at 3 p.m. at Ben Gurion. From there to Jerusalem via sherut. We have to check into the apartment, and according to the owner, there is a convenience store on the same block and a large supermarket very near by. Our thought is to go to the convenience store for essentials that same evening, and leave the other shopping for Friday, which will be crowded, but cannot figure out what else to do. I have to have an adaptable plug which I will bring with me, for a cpap machine, but in the event that it is the wrong one, would have to get one that evening.

That leaves us with what do to next……..make a quick trip to the Kotel, or slow down and have a drink at the King David? Or both?

Your thoughts on this long delayed trip would be much appreciated!

Edited: 26 November 2010, 17:33
NYC/Israel
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1. Re: Finally, the planning begins!

Hi! Glad to hear things are falling into place.

Now, re: some of your questions

a. I know the location of the convience store but I don't know how much they will have in terms of groceries. They also have a large outdoor seating area for coffee etc. The Supermarket referred to is not far away. They have huge selections of everything. ( including a great take out area in the back which is good because it is less expensive then eating out and less work than cooking) Be aware it is probably one of the most expensive supermarkets in the country. They know that loads of tourists shop there and they can charge what they do!

I would email and make reservations for the Kotel Tunnels now, They can be full ( and you need an English tour) and it is better to do it in advance and not be disappointed. Be aware that it may take a few days for them to get back to you. Get your email out before Chanukah, as kids are off and many parents also take off--so there could be less people working then. ( although technically everything is open)

If you don't have an adaptor for a C-Pap the closest place I can think of is

located on Yoel Solomen. PM Debi_zyx , she lives in the area and may know of a store that is less touristy located on a small street closer!

Personally, I would go to the Kotel and save the drink for a time you really need to relax.

Day trips--Masada, Hebron ( yes a more 'right wing' trip), UP North with Egged/United. (They pick you up at hotels but you can easily walk to one to meet them) 1/2 day to Bethlehem.

Hope that is a start. Write back! --and I am sure you will have many more suggestions coming.

mid-hudson valley...
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2. Re: Finally, the planning begins!

Having stayed at an apartment on Lincoln Street (perhaps the same one), I also think I know the convenience store. I'm going by memory and I could be mistaken, but I seem to recall that it was not open in the late afternoon and evening. The supermarket is very close by and open through the evening so you certainly will not be stuck. Another option, which I have done, is to "hire" the person who deals with the apartment to pick up a small grocery list for me.

Baltimore, MD
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3. Re: Finally, the planning begins!

rdglady, yes, it is a great start and much appreciated! I think we will use the large supermarket when we have to, and shop elsewhere when we can. dw325, I think that "hiring" someone to do a small shopping list is a great idea, and one that makes our arrival after a long flight much easier.

Will post more individual topics so that questions that might help others do not get buried. Thank you again!

Israel
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4. Re: Finally, the planning begins!

First of all it would be wise to make a Tunnel Tour appointment but when you are coming there should be no problem making the appointment once you have a set itinerary as you will be arriving during low tourist season. Regarding the sifting, that also is done by appointment. Contact the City of David web site for more information. The light show at the Citadel is by appointment but January's dates are not yet available for reservation. Keep in mind that the latter depends on the weather (if it rains -- and we hope it does) the show is cancelled.

Day trips can be taken to the Dead Sea/Masada/ Qumran, Bethlehem/Rachel's Grave/Herodian (by private tour including all three), Beit Guvrin/Tel Azeka/Tel Beit Shemesh (by private tour). The options are unlimited.

If you have any other 'wish list items' post on this forum and we will be happy to help you out.

Chana

Israel

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5. Re: Finally, the planning begins!

There are supermarkets that deliver. Though it might not work for your first shopping trip, keep it in mind. You would be able to go further afield to get better prices and not have to schlep stuff home.

If you go to a supermarket early on Friday, it will be much less crowded than Thursday afternoon or evening.

I'd wait and go to the Kotel Friday at sunset (kabbalat shabbat prayers). If the weather is good, how about going to Ben Yehuda St (pedestrian mall) for dinner at an outdoor cafe? Or walk down to the Cinematheque or the Begin Center for a meal, overlooking the Old City.

Not to miss while in Jerusalem: The new improved Israel Museum, the Museum of Islamic Art on Palmach St., the Resistance Fighters Museum (not sure of the exact name) in the Russian Compound. There are some very good books with walking tours of Jerusalem too.

In the Old City, climb to the top of the bell tower of the Lutheran church (next to the Holy Sepulchre) for great views. Or the roof of the newly opened Hurvah Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter. (haven't been there yet myself, but others say . . . )

Jerusalem, Israel
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6. Re: Finally, the planning begins!

The convenience store now belongs to the "SOS" chain which is open 24 hours a day (I think that does not include Shabbat). So, you should have no problem getting your first lot of groceries there, although of course it would be more convenient to get your first order done for you, as suggested.

The supermarket (called "ShuferSal", on Rechov Agron) is also open 24/6 (i.e. not on Shabbat). Although it is definitely more expensive than others, it's not outrageously so. I often pop in there if I discover something missing late at night that can't wait till the following day.

About the adapter, I'm not sure, but I would think that in the center of town there must be a few places that will have an adapter, if you need one. I would start with the "HaMashbir" store on King George. It's only about a 10 minute walk, but I would check that out immediately you arrive, as most stores close at 7pm. By the way, "HaMashbir" also has a supermarket in the basement called "Mister Zol" which is quite a bit cheaper than the one on Agron. Only thing with that is you will either need to carry your groceries for an additional 10 minutes of so, or you'll need to get a cab to take you back to the apartment with your stuff. It's possible that Mister Zol does deliveries (most of them do) but you will need to get there and ask them up till what time they deliver.

Baltimore, MD
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7. Re: Finally, the planning begins!

Thanks to everyone for their great suggestions. My computer is down and will be back on line later today. More soon. Todah!

Baltimore, MD
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8. Re: Finally, the planning begins!

Again, thanks to everyone for their suggestions! We just received confirmation for the Tunnel Tour for January 10. So that part of the planning is done. Will book the Light Show as soon as the January calendar is available.

Debi, in looking at old forum posts, it appears that you stayed in the same apartment on Lincoln St. I e mailed the owner about the plug adapter and he seems to think that it is the two prong one, so I will bring a couple of different ones with us, just in case. Will have the address you gave with me in case we have to go to a store for another fit. Thank you!

Chana, many thanks to you also for your advice. I have a question that been nagging at us. You mentioned "an itinerary". What if we came to Jerusalem without an itinerary? I know that we need reservations for certain places that we want to see, and we will have those. But what if we got up in the morning, looked at the weather for the upcoming day or two, and since it is not high season, we decided the following day to go to the Dead Sea and Masada? Can it be done, or are we crazy?

Israel
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9. Re: Finally, the planning begins!

You are not crazy - and with the exception of the few sites that require reservations, you can definitely wing it. You already have reservations for the Tunnel Tour, know you need to reserve the Sound and Light Show (once the schedule is up) - the other possibility is the Sifting Project at Emek Zurim, which requires a reservation.

All the rest can be done on a day to day basis. Yes, you can decide from one day to the next to go to the Dead Sea and Masada - will you be going on your own, joining up with one of the day tours, or hiring a private guide. The first two choices don't require much advance booking. If you want a private guide that should be arranged ahead of time as guides' schedules can get booked up way in advance.

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10. Re: Finally, the planning begins!

I am agreeing with Oreet. There is nothing wrong with deciding day by day. I would only suggest you have a list of what you would like to do while in Jerusalem. As you are there you may find other things that interest you. Buy the Jerusalem Post on Friday. It has a special section that will tell you what is happening in the city the following week. You may find something you are interested in, that you couldn't have planned in advance.

Reality is--some travelers don't feel complete unless they know moment to moment what they are doing, including which restaurants they are eating at. Others are more laid back. Neither way is incorrect--do which works for you.