"The Best of Israel"
I was in Isreal in Jan/Feb 2000. I had the best expierence and I reccomend it if you get a chance. I am so loking forward to returning. I do think that for this part of the world, with the unrest that a guided tour is the safest and most enjoyable way to see all the cities/sites (leave the driving to the pros). Upon arriving in Tel Aviv I stayed two nights at the David Intercontinental (across from the beach) this hotel is perfect for walking to the old city of Jaffa with its art galleries, the Habima theater, Dizengof St. Don't for get to vistit the Eretz Isreal Museum and see the ancient crafts and a magnificent collection of antique glass. Continue on with a stop at Independence Hall where David Ben Gurion announced the establishment of the State of Israel. From Tel Aviv I went on to the ancient city of Caesarea, which was once the Roman Capital of Palestine. Visit the theater and the aquaduct. Moving right along I continued to Mount Carmel and and the Carmelite Monastery if Muhraka. Haifa, the largest port of Israel rests on the slope of Mount Carmel and is worth a quick stop as well, however I wanted to get to Megiddo so we really did'nt spend much time in Haifa. Megiddo is the site of Armageddon, King Solomon's Stables and you can walk this amazing water system. From here we drove across the Galilee to the Upper Galilee to Kibbutz Hagoshrim on the Jordan River. I stayed at this Kibbutz hotel for two nights. Located right along the Jordan River it was a perfect place to relax, meditate and enjoy communal living. I visited Tiberias for one day, while I was there I saw the multi-media Galilee experience (a movie) probably not really worth the price of admission. I would not do it again. One highlight of the trip was a boat rid on the Sea of galilee in a Jeasus Boat, We docked at the Kibbutz Genosar to see the fishermans boat found in 1986. This baot is said to date back to the days of jesus and it is truly amazing! On to Capernaum to visit St. Peter's house and the ruins of the ancient synagogue. Worth a quick stop maybe one hour or so. From there it was on to the Mt. of Beatitudes, where the Sermon on the Mount took place, beautiful church overlooking the Galilee. you can buy anything from water to a bottle of wine in the parking lot! Tabga (loaves and fishes)and the Church of Multiplication are also in the area and well worth the visit. Cana and the Church of the Wedding where Jesus turned water into wine only requires a short stop. Nazereth was only a short stop even in early 2000. It was not a place to linger so we saw the Church of the Annunciation and then left very quickly. Continue towards Jerusalem and visit Jericho and the Mt. of Temptations. A great view of the Jordan valley and the Promiosed Land. I saved the best (in my opinion) for last. Jerusalem... What can I say from Mt. Scopus and the Mt. of Olives the views are truly brathtaking! I stayed at the Inbal (formerly Laromme) and was able to walk every where and felt safe. The sites... Church of Pter Noster, Church and the Gardens of Getsemane, Chaiphas House, Mt. Zion, Davids Tomb and last Supper Room, walk the Western Wall, (the Jewish & Christian) quarters are safe during daylight hours. Visit the Pool of Bethesda, St. Anna Church. Lithostothos at the Ecce Hommo Arch, walk the way of the cross to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Garden Tomb. There is so much visit Ben Yehuda St. for shopping and restaurants. Dont forget to see Vad Vashem Holocaust Memorial,the Shrine of the Book (Dead Sea Scrolls). Plant a tree in the forest, the Military Cemetery (Herzel,Rabin,Meir).The Holyland Hotel and the miniature model of the city. You are so close to the Dead Sea that I could visit Qumran and Masada the same day, and are able to enjoy them both to the fullest. I stayed at the Caesar Premier and took advantage of the hotels fabulous pool, full of Dead Sea water! I can, as you can see ramble on about Israel. I have many favorites places and sites I will go back to. I did'nt get a chance to go to Eilat and can't wait til I can return! Happy travels....SHALOM