Just Back Israel-Jordan

Just returned. Fantastic trip.

A few tips before getting into specifics. No jacket required or needed anywhere. I didn't take one. We overpacked and did not use many of clothes we had. Tauck packing tips are right on. It was colder than we had anticipated so glad we packed layers.

Walking around Old Jerusalem, the surface is stones that are extremely slippery when wet. Sneakers even slipped. I had dockers and they were great.

Now on to the trip:
Left from Boston to Tel Aviv via Delta and JFK. Seamless travel. Met at TLV by Tauck representatives then taken to David Intercontinental Hotel, on the beach in Tel Aviv.
We went 0ne day early. Went to Diaspora Museum, which I highly recommend. Ate at Manta Ray, on the beach, our introduction to Middle Eastern Food. Great. Walked around Old Jaffa. Other free nite ate at Susannas (many locals good)

Welcome reception and dinner in hotel standard stuff. Our director was Philip Pope, a historian who constantly was giving us info when we went from place to place. There were 19 in our group (7 people cancelled at last minute because of unrest). Note: we were totally safe whereever we went. The small size was great for getting on and off bus.
The group was about 50-50 Jewish, Christian. All religious perspectives were presented without bias. The local guides were careful not to show bias (with one exception).
We were admonished from "shopping" as we walked thru the various markets (a good thing since it would have taken lots of time.
We all thought the Elena Goor museum, etc in Old Jaffa was a waste. If you go opt not to go on tour and walk around the various galleries nearby.
There is a little free time for shopping in the various places. My thing is picture books and I got them everywhere.
Food was amazing. Lavish lunches that started with dips, etc multiple salads then main course. Either meat or fish. In Israel most restaurants, including breakfast or "dairy" In Jordan, lots of "meat" options. the lunches were so large (family style) that often you could skip dinner out (we did one night in Haifa and had wine and snacks on roof of hotel (great view of Bahai gardens lit at night).
Lots of walking but the pace was slow enough you were never tire. The longest was the Siq in Petra, but numerous stops to talk, etc made it leisurely.
In Petra you walk in to the Treasury then to the "city" and lunch. After lunch you have the option of camel ride back (everyone in our group optedfor camels. This was fun though scary at bit. Be careful as the camel rises and gets down since he tips forward (hold on). then a horse cart takes you back to entrance.

Jordan was impressive because we hadn't expected it to be. The people were veryfriendly. Countryside beautiful. Ruins at Jerash and Petra are amazing.

Getting home was amazing because a local driver takes you to airport and hands you off to another representative who escorts you thru airport as fas as he can, Thur baggage and coulnter checkin, pay departure tax (which Tauck gives you in cash). Very thorough security checkin at gate. Searched all carryon.
Flight home via JFK on time but long (12+ hrs).

Other tips: layers for temperature changes, rain is upredictable small umbrellas help. Need head covering in Western Wall. Hats off in churches.

In Jordan, the tip diverted from Amman to end back at Dead Sea Movenpick because of political unrest. This is a world class resort with multple pools, a spa, many restaurants, ie you don't need to go elsewhere for entertainment.

All in all outstanding trip. If you have any further questions, let me know.
John Cuttino, Lexington, MA


  • Thanks for the report. We leave in two weeks.
    When you were in Petra did you climb up to the Monastery????
  • Petra: The Movenpick Petra is literally steps from the entrance. You have the whole day there, but.....
    You meet the guide in lobby and walk to entrance and go in. The guide talks as you walk down the Siq. (do your homework and look at a diagram of Petra). There are many stops along the way. You get to the Treasury and stay there for awhile (big time photo ops). Then you walk down thru the rest of Petra to the place for lunch. There is a "bathroom/drink" stop midway. You go by the Royal Tombs, theatre, and the cardo and temple. They point out trails to other vistas ("you can do later").
    Lunch is very nice in a restaurant on the edge of the city. (a buffet).

    Then you have to make a decision. Do you go back by camel and horse cart or walk. If you go back by camel, you leave from near where restaurant is and don't have time to do any of the other trails. (Ed Deir is the most spectacular but climbing up the the Royal Tombs is also nice.) The camels all go at once in a "train" to the Treasury. Then you wait for horse carts to take you out. We did this and were out of Petra by 2.30pm. You can spend all day in there if you like. The guide stops giving info at lunch.

    So it is basically a decision whether you want to ride the camel or not.Since this was a "once in a life" experience for us (we will never do it again-glad we did it but once is enough).
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