Israel and Jordan May 5, 2022 Trip Report
We returned from this fabulous tour May 18. The trip was comprehensive and fascinating. Our outstanding Tauck TD was very experienced and knew a lot about both Israel and Jordan. The local guides were also excellent. As past travelers have stated, there is a lot of walking on this tour, so good walking shoes are essential. I chose this date because Ramadan, Passover and Easter week had concluded, hoping to reduce the likelihood of incidents in the Old City of Jerusalem which would disrupt sightseeing. The timing worked out well. We were able to see everything (partly timing, and partly luck). Also, the weather was very good, with the exception of one very hot day in Jordan.
Arrival day: We arrived one day early. We were required to test for COVID before departing and upon landing in Tel Aviv. The latter requirement has since been abolished. We were greeted at the jetway by an expediter, who quickly guided us through the kiosk where you obtain your visa card, passport control and the COVID testing. We arrived at the hotel at around 7:00 p.m. and were required to stay in the room until we received the test results. No problem - we enjoyed the fruit, nuts and chocolates that were in the room, and retired early. (Our test results arrived by email at 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.).
Day 1 Tel Aviv: This day was Independence Day in Israel. We walked South along the water, observing the locals jockeying for good spots to settle in for the air show which was to commence late morning. We walked to the port area of Jaffa and then up through that area. We then bought chicken shawarma sandwiches to go, and enjoyed them while watching the air show. Later, we walked through Carmel Market and then North along the beachfront promenade. That evening, we met our fellow travelers at the cocktail party and dinner. There were 13 in our group.
Day 2 Tel Aviv: After a morning briefing and Hebrew lesson, we left by bus for Old Jaffa, and toured the area, including a visit to St. Peter's Monastery and walking through the flea market. After lunch at Dallal restaurant, we visited Rothschild Boulevard and then the Itzhak Rabin Memorial. That night, dinner was on our own. We walked down to the old train station area, fairly close to the hotel, and went to an outside wine bar restaurant called Vicky Christina, where we enjoyed small plates (we split a salad and an order of fish tacos). I thought the Israeli wines were excellent.
Day 3: In the morning, we left Tel Aviv and headed for Caesarea, which consists of Roman, Byzantine and Crusader ruins. Fascinating. We had lunch at Helena restaurant and then headed to Haifa. In Haifa, we toured the Baha'i gardens by walking down many steps. They are beautiful. We then visited the Stella Maris Church.
Day 4 Haifa: In the morning, we headed for Nazareth, where we visited the Church of the Annunciation. Then, we went to a Kibbutz near the town of Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, where we were shown around by one of the residents. Very interesting. After lunch at the Scots Hotel in Tiberias, we visited a museum which houses a wooden fishing boat from the 1st century AD. Then, we had a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, which was a lot of fun. Dinner was on our own that night. We walked to an Asian restaurant, Giraffe, where we enjoyed an excellent meal and some wine.
Day 5: In the morning, we headed for the Old City of Akko, which has, among other things, Crusader ruins. We toured the Knights' Hall and the Al-Jazzar Mosque. We had lunch at Uri Buri - excellent. Then we drove to Jerusalem. The Waldorf Astoria Hotel is located just outside the Old City, not far from the Jaffa Gate. That evening we walked into the Old City and had a falafel sandwich for dinner. (We were given the choice of dinner at the hotel one of three nights. We did not choose this night, as we had a very satisfying lunch).
Day 6 Jerusalem: A great day of touring. We visited the Tower of David - lovely views of the Old City - and then had a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter, including a visit to a synagogue. Then, lunch at the Quarter Cafe. After lunch, we walked to and visited the Western Wall (not crowded). We then drove to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum, for a very essential and somber visit. There is a small Children's Memorial outside the main building, which should not be missed. That night, we had the included dinner at the hotel.
To be continued in a separate post.