Magic Carpet Journals passes along tips about travel to Israel
This modern country offers all the amenities one would expect in any large, modern country. In Tel Aviv I stayed in the Tel Aviv Hilton and the Crowne Plaza, both located beside the Mediterranean, with a fantastic view of the beach and azure blue ocean. While in Jerusalem, I was a guest in two world-class hotels, the famous King David Hotel and the newer David Citadel Hotel, formerly known as the Jerusalem Hilton, both within a few short blocks of the Old City. I felt safe walking about the streets of both cities, as security is a feature Israel works hard to maintain. A wide range of other accommodation is available throughout the country. An upscale YMCA is located right across the street from the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Budget accommodation can also be found at religious hostels. While visiting the Sea of Galilee I experienced the hospitality of the Nof Ginosar Hotel, owned by the Kibutz Ginosar. The Kibutz Ginosar also has more economical guest house accommodation available as do other kibbutz.
I flew El Al, the Israel national airline, which has an excellent and well deserved safety record. I was very impressed and reassured by their security procedures. El Al and Canadian Airlines have just recently announced a new partnership agreement, which is good news to Canadians wishing to connect to a gateway in Toronto or Montreal while traveling to Israel. For an enroute stopover in Toronto, the Sheraton Gateway is conveniently located at the airport terminal. I found it very convenient, saving much time and trouble.
Some special notes must be made for those traveling to Israel and the Middle East. Temperatures can vary greatly when traveling there. In a few short hours you can go from the ocean to the desert, also elevations can vary quite markedly. Check with the Tourist Bureau to establish what the temperature norms are for the time of year when you will be visiting. Then remember the travelers adage, layer, layer and layer! Even in the hot summer take along a light sweater for evenings as it can feel chilly. Cotton is still the best fabric to wear in hot climates. Some of the new rayons travel well too.
Sunscreen is highly recommended for use on all exposed skin. Even if you apply sunscreen be sure to take along a hat to provide protection from the hot sun. Everyone wears one, so do not feel self conscious about it. Do not forget your sun glasses as the sun can be very bright. However, my glasses have photo-gray lenses and they worked for me.
When visiting religious sites, modest dress is necessary, therefore shoulders and knees must be covered. That means that long skirt slits must be closed. A safety pin saved the day more than once, so stick some into your pocket. Particularly while visiting Jerusalem and the area around The Sea of Galilee, remember decorum counts as a mark of respect to your hosts. Shorts and t-shirts are fine for archeological sites and most other places. Remember a bathing suit for the Dead Sea.
Sore feet can ruin a vacation, so be sure to take along a good pair of walking shoes - runners are fine. You need something quite stable especially when walking through some of the archeological sites. Also keep your planned activities in mind. If you expect to swim in the Dead Sea, you may like to bring something you can wear to walk into the water. We had to walk over hot sand and stones, so my friends and I were glad to have something to protect our feet. Wearing them in the water was not a problem as we bobbed like corks anyway, shoes and all!
No list of tips would be complete without including the first and foremost rule of smart travelers. They will always tell you to keep your suitcase light! That advice can never be stressed too often. I salute the person who can carry all their luggage onto the plane themselves. They are the wisest travelers! Careful planning beforehand can help to make your visit to Israel an unforgettable experience you will treasure for a lifetime.
Story and Photos by M. Maxine George
For further information contact:
Israel Government Tourist Office, 180 Bloor St. W. Suite 700, Toronto, Ont. M5S 2V6
Telephone: (416) 964-3784 Fax: (416) 964-2420
El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. 151 Bloor St. W. Suite 701, Toronto, Ont. M5S 1S4
Telephone: (416) 967-4222 Fax: (416) 967-1643
Hilton International - Israel
Tel Aviv Hilton, Independence Park, Tel Aviv, Israel 63405
Telephone: 972 (0) 520-2222 Fax: 972 (0) 3 527 2711
David Citadel Hotel, 7 King David St., Jerusalem, Israel
Telephone: 02-621-1111 Fax:02-621-2323
Israel Ministry of Tourism, 4, Mevo Hamatmid St., Jerusalem
Telephone: 02-5678726 Fax: 02-6233686
King David Hotel, King David St., Jerusalem, Israel
Telephone: 02-6208888 Fax: 02-6208882
Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv, 145 Hayarkon St., Tel Aviv, Israel
Telephone: 03-5201111 Fax: 03-5201114
Nof Ginosar Hotel, Kibutz Ginosar, Israel E-mail: email@example.com
Telephone: 972-6-6792161 Fax: 972-6-6792170
Sheraton Gateway, Toronto International Airport, Toronto, Ontario, Canada L5P 1C4
Telephone: (905) 672-7000
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