Author Topic: Running Through The City Of Gold  (Read 1323 times)

Offline Shliach Mitzvah

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Running Through The City Of Gold
« on: May 11, 2020, 09:58:10 PM »
Soo, after much quarantine procrastination, I was finally able to whip up my first Trip Report. Though it’s not as action packed as some of the stuff you’ll see around here, this trip for me was something incredibly special. Hopefully the skies will reopen soon and this will be my first of many Trip Reports to come.

Back in November 2019, Dan posted that you could redeem Delta or AMEX Points for 2 Cents a piece when booking a package with Delta Vacations. I finally woke up on the last day of the promo (9/6) and decided to look into an Israel trip. The Delta vacations web site is super misleading. Its design implies that every night must be accompanied by a hotel, meaning the longer your stay, the more points it will cost you. After some research I found out that if you call them up, they could essentially customize a trip where you could stay as long as you want so long as you book at least 2 nights at a hotel. 

I had previously run the Miami Marathon in 2017 and was due for another. The Tel Aviv Marathon would take place on 2/28/20 so I figured that would be the ideal time to make the trip. After some sifting I found a round trip Delta direct JFK-TLV leaving late Sat night 2/22 and returning late Sat night 2/29, + 3 nights at the Waldorf Jerusalem for a total of 107K Skymiles. The beauty of Delta Vacations is that there's no tax or fuel charges, everything's included, plus I would earn miles and inch towards status. Being that the flight itself would have cost like $1000 and each night at the Waldorf is close to $500, I think I gotta pretty solid rate.

Jerusalem Sunset

My brother, who had never been to Israel before, decided last minute that he wanted to come along and run so he booked a separate ticket. The plane layout was 2-4-2 so I snagged a 2 both ways and got us next to each other. The only bummer was that since he didn't have TSA Pre and wasn't on my itinerary, security was not gonna be fun. But like the good brother I am, I stuck it out with him in the no shoes line. On the way back I ditched global entry and opted for mobile passport, which actually went pretty smoothly.

JFK Lounges

Some mid-flight ice cream

Out cold

Our hotel room

Don't mind the mess

The breakfast here is crazy good (day 1)

They sorta have a gym, though its in like a regular hotel room and you need to ask for a separate key card

Navigating the bowels of Meah Sharim

Some more breakfast (day 2)

An empty Mamilla, 5:30ish AM


The Western Wall

Did i mention the breakfast here is like really, really good (day 3, i think)

The Marathon takes place early Friday morning meaning we would have to stay in Tel Aviv the night prior. I originally booked the Publica Isrotel in Herzliya using my Marriot free night, however I later cancelled. I ended up going with the Hilton Tel Aviv for 80k Hilton points because it was a lot closer to the finish line. Though it is no Waldorf, The Hilton Tel Aviv is on the beach and is quite beautiful.

The Hilton Tel Aviv

Getting our gear at the Marathon Expo

I always dread having to rent a car in a foreign country but I kinda felt it was necessary for just the last few days of the trip. We had to go from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv for the marathon, then to Remat Beit Shemesh for Shabbos, and then back to Tel Aviv to catch our flight. I wanted to book with hertz so that I could drop it off at the airport itself and not have to take a shuttle. Unfortunately, they didn't have anything available for pick up in Jerusalem and drop off at the airport. I ended up going with Sixt and surprisingly things worked out very nicely. I recommend going through an agent when booking rental cars in Israel. Also get a letter from your credit card issuer for CDW and take a buncha pictures and videos of the car to avoid later complications. Lastly, change your Waze settings to avoid toll roads as well as areas that aren’t safe.

Overall, the trip was truly phenomenal. I’m glad we ran the Tel Aviv Marathon and not the Jerusalem - which got cancelled not too long after. In fact, on our first day in Israel we were informed that they weren’t allowing foreigners to run the marathon. Although that was super upsetting, we decided we wouldn’t let that ruin our trip. I think it was like 2 days later I got an email saying that they were once again allowing foreigners. I immediately jumped on the Hilton app, re-booked and hit the Waldorf work out room. And so, after much sweat, fatigue and aching feet, we ultimately crawled across the finish line. Bottom line, I could not have picked a better trip to leave such a lasting taste on my tongue going into quarantine, not to mention I’m still kinda sore.

We did it!

Thanks Delta!!

Corona time, Dan Lounge TLV

Lastly, I really wanna thank Dan and this whole community for providing me with the ability to gain a new perspective on the world. You guys are responsible for every point I earn, every status I reach, and every new place I discover. I’m sure it’s been rough for most of you to be shackled from our beautiful globe and I truly hope this ends soon. Perhaps this lock-down time was needed, not just to plan the next perfect journey, but to also to enjoy our current journey. May we go back to chasing clouds and finding adventure…

Thanks for reading, stay safe. 

« Last Edit: May 11, 2020, 11:47:11 PM by Shliach Mitzvah »

Offline ckmk47

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Re: Running Through The City Of Gold
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2020, 12:16:40 AM »
Thanks.  This is my kind of report.

Offline Dan

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Re: Running Through The City Of Gold
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2020, 12:25:30 AM »
Wow, great TR!
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 Kobe Bryant

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Re: Running Through The City Of Gold
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2020, 10:09:31 AM »
Welcome to the DDF Fam.
Amazing , keep it up.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2020, 10:16:33 AM by Kobe bryent »

Offline whacked1

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Re: Running Through The City Of Gold
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2020, 11:47:32 AM »
Wow! Great first post, Nice TR!

Offline cozmohoot

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Re: Running Through The City Of Gold
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2020, 01:56:28 PM »
Congrats on the ddms mention!

Offline avrohomgelb

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Re: Running Through The City Of Gold
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2020, 10:53:19 PM »
Great TR! Also thanks for visiting me in RBS