A bucket-list trip
Earlier this year, I went on a trip of a lifetime. Visiting Israel has been on my bucket list for decades. My husband and I finally got there with a group from our church earlier this month. We left Vancouver June 10, toured June 11-18 and finished with a conference (Jerusalem Encounter) at the King of Kings Church, June 19-20, flying home on June 21.
I took many photos. Now that I’m home again I’ve been reviewing them with pleasure. But I’m all too aware that I’ll quickly forget what I’ve seen, done, and learned unless I do more to solidify this experience. These blog entries are my attempt to put the icing on the cake of this trip, so to speak, by reliving it and how it impacted me.
Day 1 (Monday, June 10) began very early. We set out before 4:00 a.m. when it was still dark, to catch our 8:00 a.m. flight. We left our car at Jet Set Parking and caught the shuttle to the airport without incident. Ernie and I were the first ones to arrive at our flight lounge after clearing security.
I had a window seat on the 5+ hour flight to Toronto and used part of that time to do my daily sketch journal entry—a drawing of the wing of our Air Canada plane.
In Toronto our brief layover time was quickly consumed by the long walk to the terminal from which our Tel Aviv flight was to leave. That was a lengthy flight (10+ hours) with two meals and in between attempts to sleep. Awkward! It didn’t help that our seat was right in front of the washroom. The sound of the toilet flushing punctuated my dreams.
We landed in sunny, warm, humid Tel Aviv shortly before 11:00 a.m. Tuesday (gaining 10 hours from Vancouver time). After a confusing entry-to-the-country system (where they gave each of us a tiny blue passport photo card in lieu of a passport stamp, to be shown again when we left the country) we claimed our luggage and met our guide Aharon and driver David.
The bus was a roomy air-conditioned beauty, complete with USB plugins. Since there were only 22 of us, we had lots of room to spread out.
The warm, muggy climate and roads lined with palm trees and blooming bougainvillae trees underlined the fact that we were in a new and exotic land.
Our bus drove through Tel Aviv and made several stops in Jaffa (e.g. Simon the Tanner’s House). We walked the cobblestone streets to a lookout over Tel Aviv.
After about 90 minutes of sightseeing, we drove to our hotel (Tel Aviv Grand Beach) where we checked in.
After reshening up, Ernie and I strolled down to the beach where we enjoyed the sunny afternoon walking along the Mediterranean boardwalk. Later we searched for a place to change US$ into shekels. That was unsuccessful and on top of that we got semi-lost but managed to find our way back to the hotel (after asking for directions).
As we walked around Tel Aviv we were impressed by all the bikes, scooters and other mobile carriers that scooted around us with reckless speed. Walkers, beware!
Dinner was a bountiful buffet of salads, meat, fish, and meatless entrees and a variety of sweets. I loved the dining room with its mosaic mural along one wall and managed to get a photo of it at breakfast the next morning.