So, at this point I'm going to go rather slow in recalling the trip. I'll say this about our trip- it was EXHAUSTING. My wife and I are in our 40's and have to health issues but I think the time change and all of the excitement and walking put us in bed by 10pm every night.
We arrived Thursday night and after an effortless check in at the Inbal walked to the Olive and Fish for a bite to eat. Great food.
Friday we got up early and walked to the old city. Through the Jaffa gate, straight into the maze of stalls that reminded me of Diagon Alley from Harry Potter. We managed to find our way to the Christian quarter after a few wrong turns and being rudely turned around because we were heading towards the moslem area of the temple mount. We walked into the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the first thing I noticed was the smoke and incense- thick and caught in your throat, you could taste it. We made out way through the large groups of people, one thing you'll notice quickly is that people forget to look in the direction they're walking. The building is fascinating and it's important to really look at it, not just what it symbolizes.
We made out way back to the hotel and realized it was shabbat. PLAN AHEAD, make some reservations or you'll be waiting at the few places that are open. We opted just to eat at the hotel. Salads, nothing hot. The menu had stars next to the items that are not served on Shabbat.
Day for a small group tour, "business" class, about 15 people to the dead sea and Masada. We dropped about half the group at the dead sea and continued to Masada. The tourist center is a large, modern building and impressive. A cable car ride to the top is quick. I'm not going to go into my opinion of a group tour like this but I'm sure many feel like they skimmed through the site. There was much more to see but because groups of people are like herding cats it's difficult to see everything. We could have spent an entire day at Masada, if you can, do it.
The Dead sea
Interesting but we should have skipped it. Think European beach meets health spa, it wasn't what we'd expected.
After this we decided not to do another group tour, yes we are blessed to be able to do it. I suggest anyone going take at least 1 private tour.
More to come...............