Author Topic: Israel Trip Report/Blog (I am there now! so tips appreciated)  (Read 1073 times)

Offline elikay

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Part 1

I am embarking on this trip solo, as my family could not join me. I am traveling to attend two family Simchas, but I have also allotted some time for sightseeing and exploring. I am staying in Jerusalem accommodations provided by family (BH! as prices are through the roof!).


I booked a United business class one-way with a stopover in BRU booked using Air Canada it was a 70,000 Miles ticket but taking advantage of the transfer bonus it was 59 taxes were about $70.


The flight was from EWR; I arrived about 2 hours before my flight. The bag allowance is 70 lbs for Business class, and you're allowed two bags. I fully utilized the 70 lbs on one of the bags (did someone a favor). The 2nd bag was under 50. I made sure to tag everything myself as well. I asked the man if it would be checked all the way through as 2nd flight was on Air Brussels, and he said he didn't know, the "best answer" I told him (it was checked through)!


I proceeded to go to security, I have Clear + global entry, so I proceeded to that line. wait was about 90 seconds at clear. The agent asked me for my Boarding pass, I had printed it out. She said that was not good enough, so I showed it to her on my phone. I asked her what would you do if the person didn't have a smartphone, she said that a boarding pass printed at the airport would be acceptable. She then took me through; no need to show ID (I did notice that of the group behind me they were showing the passport of one of the passengers). At security, I took off my jacket and asked for a bin (as they sometimes ask you to), but the TSA agent said that it wasn't necessary but once it was off he'll get me a bin (which  I needed for my metal CCs anyway  ??? ).


All in all, I was through security about 25 minutes after arrival at the airport.


I went to the Polaris lounge, which was quite busy, with around 85% of its seats occupied. I managed to find a seat in a cubicle with two swivel chairs, which I felt guilty about taking up, but there weren't any other semi-private options available. After grabbing a drink and some fruit, I headed to the restroom, where I was met with a line. I was disappointed that there weren't enough bathrooms; having a gender-neutral separate room setup only resulted in wasted space and longer wait times. Although the wait wasn't too lengthy, it was still annoying.


I was searching for Kosher food but didn't find anything. So, I went to the dining area and asked the person there if they could provide Kosher food. He told me that there was a menu in the buffet area and that I could ask any waiter for something from the menu. It took a minute for me to find the menu, but when I did, I saw that none of the dinner options suited me. They had chicken, but it was the nine days, and the other options were not to my liking. I then asked if I could have a breakfast item instead. He said he would check if they had them, and after waiting for two minutes, he came back to confirm they had them (he mentioned that they had just got a delivery that day - it sounds like they don't get delivery every day). I asked for cheese pancakes and vegetable frittata, and he asked me how many portions I wanted. I decided to try two portions. I showed him where I was sitting, and about five minutes later, he brought the food out. The food was really, really hot, I am not sure how they warm it, but the plate is also hot and double-wrapped.


To be continued...


I am currently in Israel and would love some tips on what trips to do, not looking to break the bank, and do not have a rental car (as of now).
« Last Edit: July 27, 2023, 08:35:35 PM by elikay »

Offline elikay

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Re: Israel Trip Report/Blog (I am there now! so tips appreciated)
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2023, 07:48:25 PM »
I am being a bit detailed, but I think that much of the information will be helpful for someone who has never done this before (like me).

Offline Dan

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Re: Israel Trip Report/Blog (I am there now! so tips appreciated)
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2023, 08:06:18 PM »
Depends on your interests and what you've already done...

City sights?
Wineries?
Hikes?
Kivrei tzadikim?
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline elikay

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Re: Israel Trip Report/Blog (I am there now! so tips appreciated)
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2023, 08:46:50 PM »

Depends on your interests and what you've already done...

City sights?
Wineries?
Hikes?
Kivrei tzadikim?
Wineries maybe... I'd prefer a badatz one if that option exists.
Hikes, it is 95 degrees here these days, so not the best weather for a hike. However, I am thinking that the City of David tunnel tour is perfect for hot weather. I've done it, but I would consider doing it again, especially since they have dug up a  lot since the last time I was there (almost 15 years ago).
Kivrei Tzadikim, I may want to do that one of the days. I may be in if anyone knows of reasonable (shekel priced ;) ) tours.
City sights - I am open to ideas. I am thinking of maybe doing Israel Museum. I find it fascinating, especially the Model of the Bais Hamikdash and the dead sea scroll /keter AZ exhibit - I already did the old city on Wednesday with a friend I bumped into; and Kever Rachel today. I am open to ideas.

I want to know if there are any must-sees that people would recommend for a solo tourist.

Offline elikay

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Re: Israel Trip Report/Blog (I am there now! so tips appreciated)
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2023, 11:44:20 PM »
Part 2
Menu:



The food arrived and was actually pretty good! The cheese pancakes were very tasty, and the vegetable frittata was decent. However, reheated eggs will never be that exciting.







I ordered the chocolate babka to-go for dessert because I had a flight to catch.




The flight itself was uneventful, there was also a frum couple in business with a baby, and I had the bulkhead seat, so I offered to switch with them so they could have the bassinet. I sat in the middle instead, but I still had a seat with the armrest on the aisle side, so I was OK with that.

On the flight, they served dinner from Fresko consisting of Fish (as it was the nine days) looked pretty good, but fish is not my thing.





The rest of the food





Desert was a chocolate moose - not bad but mushy sugar is not really my thing unless it is ice cream :)





They served breakfast shortly before landing. It was already after sunrise, so I said Brachos and davened Mizmir Shir so as not to eat before Davening (I davened later in the airport after landing). Breakfast consisted of a Vegetable Omelet with Potatoes. Again not bad, but reheated eggs... also had a bunch of sides stuff like a Danish, granola, yogurt, and fruit cup.







After landing in Brussels, I found a quiet spot to Daven. Then, I headed to the lounge, which was overcrowded and not very relaxing. I managed to find an empty seat and used Google Voice to make some phone calls while connected to the Wi-Fi. I boarded my flight to TLV; this time, on Brussels Airlines, the flight was full of young Israelis as apparently there had just been a misc festival in Antwerp, a bit of a rowdy crowd, to say the least. The Business class was a lousy experience because you only have an empty seat in the middle, but otherwise, it's a regular seat. Breakfast was served; see pic.




Upon arriving in TLV, my suitcases were from the last ones out (even though when flying business, they give them priority, but apparently, the fact that there was a connecting flight somehow messed that up).

To be continued...






Offline sds1493

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Re: Israel Trip Report/Blog (I am there now! so tips appreciated)
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2023, 04:53:55 AM »
They served breakfast shortly before landing. It was already after sunrise, so I said Brachos and davened Mizmir Shir so as not to eat before Davening

I know it is parenthetical, but what does this mean? Someone recently made a similar comment, so I feel like I am missing something with regard to eating before Davening.

Offline elikay

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Re: Israel Trip Report/Blog (I am there now! so tips appreciated)
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2023, 04:28:00 PM »
I know it is parenthetical, but what does this mean? Someone recently made a similar comment, so I feel like I am missing something with regard to eating before Davening.
https://he.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3299082#v5

Online imayid2

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Offline elikay

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Re: Israel Trip Report/Blog (I am there now! so tips appreciated)
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2023, 08:26:20 PM »
See here for more on the topic; there are any other essays out there as well. But the point is that if you Daven a little bit it is better than not davening at all.
I am in no way saying that what I did is the best way to do it.

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Re: Israel Trip Report/Blog (I am there now! so tips appreciated)
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2023, 09:15:02 PM »
See here for more on the topic; there are any other essays out there as well. But the point is that if you Daven a little bit it is better than not davening at all.
I am in no way saying that what I did is the best way to do it.
Taking some criticism of the article here as not to distract from your TR.