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Jerusalem - 2 or 3 days - a dilemma

Miami Beach, Fl
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Jerusalem - 2 or 3 days - a dilemma

The dilemma is when to return our rental car in Jerusalem - should it be on Friday or Sunday? Our flight departs on Tuesday morning at 6 AM.

We will have 13 days in Israel, arriving on May 8th. From Tel Aviv, we will be driving north to the Haifa area, the Galilee, Masada and then ending our trip in Jerusalem. We would like to figure out the number of days in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem before planning the middle portion of the trip. This is our 3rd visit to Israel so our itinerary includes places we want to revisit as well as new ones.

In Jerusalem we would like to visit the following:

1. Kotel Tunnels Tour (1 hr 15 minutes) and Generation Center (55 minutes)

2. Israel Museum

3. City of David - is this a day?

4. Possibly the Emek Tzurim sifting project

I appreciate your input and any suggestions you care to share!

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11. Re: Jerusalem - 2 or 3 days - a dilemma

The sifting project is physically located on the slopes of Mt. Scopus/Mt. of Olives. Logistically, you can do that on your way back from the Dead Sea and it would work very well - there is free parking there.

It is a guided experience with an introduction and overview, after which you sift through buckets of rubble that were removed from the Temple Mount. It takes about an hour and a half. Make sure to request reservations for an English language time slot.

Maryland
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12. Re: Jerusalem - 2 or 3 days - a dilemma

It sounds like you are thinking about ascending Masada on Saturday (after arriving from somewhere else?) and then spending the evening/night in the area afterwards. If that's the case, I don't think I'd stay at the Masada Guest House. It's perfectly adequate for spending the night prior to an early morning ascent, but I don't think it was a particularly comfortable place for "hanging out."

It seems desirable to get an early start on the Masada visit, for a few reasons. First, it's hot. Even in the last week of December! Second, I think it might be wise to try to get up there ahead of the busloads of people arriving for daytrips from Jerusalem. We didn't do this. (Perhaps the time of year you are going it won't be as much of an issue, though.)

You could spend a very long time touring the mountain, but we found it too hot and tiring (and crowded) to see everything. Were you thinking you'd visit the Dead Sea at one of the beaches after your Masada visit? If so, I again don't think the Masada Guest House is your best bet.

I really should step aside and let the Destination Experts advise you, but I was literally JUST THERE and after doing all my research and planning, I hate to let all the information I gathered serve no further purpose!

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13. Re: Jerusalem - 2 or 3 days - a dilemma

Have you considered driving to Jerusalem on Saturday after Masada? It's usually much easier to drive in Jerusalem on Saturday night than any weekday morning.

Ottawa, Canada
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14. Re: Jerusalem - 2 or 3 days - a dilemma

If you have time at Masada, do the visit up top and also take the extra time to do the museum at the base of the cable car. It holds many of the artifacts found at the top and will add a lot to your understanding of the place. It puts a more human face on the site.

The Masada Hostel and Ein Gedi guest house are totally different places to stay. The Ein Gedi guest house is a hotel style accomodation. They have beautiful gardens and a cacti garden as well. There is also a pool, a welcome relief from the heat even in May. I have been in the Masada hostel several times for breakfast. It looks clean and comfortable but my experience is that their breakfasts are not very good. I have had breakfast there quite a few times and it is the same standard every time. If it is in your budget, I would suggest staying at the Ein Gedi Guest House which is on Kibbutz Ein Gedi (not to be confused with the Ein Gedi hostelat Nahla David and which is really in rough shape last time I stayed there).

Ottawa, Canada
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15. Re: Jerusalem - 2 or 3 days - a dilemma

If you are interested in archeology, do take in the sifting project. It a totally different experience from Beit Guvrin.

Doing the kotel tunnels at night is a good idea as it frees up your day time to participate in things that have earlier cloing times. If you have limited time, I would leave the Generations Centre off your list.

Give your self a half day at the Israel museum. There are different areas you may want to do there and you can't possibly see them all in one day anyway. The Shrine of the Book holds the Dead Sea Scrolls and tells their story, the outdoor sculpture garden is really beautiful, the Second Temple model of Jerusalem and then the main buidling- in which you might want to choose the archeology wing which is fantastic. The restaurant at the museum is very good and there is a very good gift shop there too.

The City of David is a must for those interested in archeology and history of Jerusalem. You can do this with a guided tour and get a lot out of it but if you are big researchers, you can also do it on your own. The walk through the water tunnel takes about a half hour. You need to have shoes that can get wet, a flashlight (a bigger one than you buy at the entrance would really make a difference), and you can expect to get wet above your knees.

Don't forget to leave some time to see the 'living Jerusalem'. In the evenings perhaps you could explore the Ben Yehuda Mall and Nahalat Shiva area with all the galleries and cafes. or go to Mamilla Mall right by the Jaffa Gate which has public art displays and often has entertainment in the evenings along with cafes and restaurants. There is so much to do and see in Jerusalem.

Miami Beach, Fl
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16. Re: Jerusalem - 2 or 3 days - a dilemma

Thanks for your comments and suggestions!

On our last visit to Israel in 2008, we spent 10 days in Jerusalem, so we’re trying to focus on other areas of Israel on this trip while taking in a few selected experiences in Jerusalem.

This section of our itinerary is shaping up to look like this:

Thursday: Driving to Masada from the Galilee and Bet Shean . Late afternoon arrival at Kibbutz Ein Gedi Guest House. Maybe attend the sound & light show which starts at 9 PM on Thursdays.

Friday: Early morning start from guest house for Masada. Be at the beginning of the Snake Path when it opens at 5:30 AM and see the sunrise while walking up (it was magical on our last visit). Visit the museum at the base of the cable car. Dead Sea in the afternoon. Overnight Kibbutz Ein Gedi Guest House.

This leads to more questions!

Car return issue. Please help me think this through - any comments on my thinking?

Option A: On Saturday morning, check out of the hotel and go hiking in Ein Gedi. If we drive from Ein Geidi on Saturday late afternoon to Jerusalem, we can park the car at a free parking lot across the street from the Mt Zion Hotel where we will be staying and then return the car on Sunday morning. This has the advantage of the lighter traffic on a late Saturday afternoon in Jerusalem. This would give us two full days in Jerusalem.

Option B: If we drive from Kibbutz Ein Geidi on Sunday morning, leaving at 9 AM, it should take us about 1.5 - 2 hours. The rest of the day would like like this:

-Drop off our luggage at the Mt Zion Hotel.

-Drive to Israel Museum and spend until 5 PM there which is when it closes. -Drop off the car on King David Street by 6 PM

- Walk back to Mt Zion Hotel and check in.

-We could schedule the Kotel Tunnel tour for 8 PM.

This has the advantage of a relaxing Saturday hiking at Ein Gedi, perhaps an afternoon nap or a walk in the garden and watching the sun set and listening to the quiet of the area. When we arrive in Jerusalem on Sunday, we would have our car to get us to the Israel Museum so we would not have to pay for a taxi from/to the hotel. On Monday, we could visit the City of David and the Sifting Project.

For Option B - Do you think this driving in Jerusalem is reasonable? Any other reactions?

Thanks bunches!

NYC/Israel
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17. Re: Jerusalem - 2 or 3 days - a dilemma

schlimazel_traveler, you wrote, "I really should step aside and let the Destination Experts advise you, but I was literally JUST THERE and after doing all my research and planning, I hate to let all the information I gathered serve no further purpose!"

NO, NO, NO!!! You really SHOULD respond if you know the answer or have a comment which adds insight to what the question says and others have responded. DEs are members just like you. Some of us have many many trips behind us, some of us are tour guides, some live in Israel and some live elsewhere. BUT no person's knowledge is less valuable than the knowledge of another.

18. Re: Jerusalem - 2 or 3 days - a dilemma

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