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  #601  
Old March 25th, 2012, 10:01 AM
r1955 r1955 is offline
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As far as changing the world, why make things difficult for people when it is not necessary. We all grew up learning the local customs that have served the natives for years. If they are happy and there is no benefit to them, why force them to change.


When we travel, we try to respect and follow the local customs. I am so hoping that Israel will have “western” accommodations, specifically toilets. I have learned to stand, however one of my companions cannot physically stand thus it is a challenge. It is even a problem for me, but one does the best they can. Also, I am very comfortable in shorts and a sleeveless blouse, but would not wear such attire in Israel.


Betty
Boy, are you in for a surprise. Israel is a completely modern, western democracy, nothing like any of the countries surrounding her. Actually, I'm quite used to this "jumble" of the whole middle east (no offense) because when I travel abroad I often get questions like, can you dress any way you like and other strange questions. You can certainly wear shorts and a sleeveless blouse except in holy places (like in any country). For us, the way the very orthodox religious jews dress and their way of living in neighbourhoods like Mea Shearim, is more or less like you would regard the Amish, except we do have our religion and nationality in common. Anyway we natives have the same customs here as Americans and Europeans.

As for the toilets, the last time I saw a "hole toilet" is in Italian train stations which was actually very strange. I can assure you that our way of living (including our facilities) is completely modern and western.

Have a lovely stay in Israel.

Riki
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  #602  
Old March 25th, 2012, 01:07 PM
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The rest stops along the highways in northern Europe provide all types of accommodations. I had to explain the “hole” and some different seatings to my granddaughter in 1998. Note: I even had to ask about some myself. More recently (2004 and 2008) in China, I used their modern restrooms that included both the hole and, as they refer, Western (stool) styles. In late 2008 we experienced the modern facilities in Japan. Here they provided the hole, stool and computerized stool. Now that computerized option was nice, heated seat, music, flush, etc. Was not able to determine all our options.


What I am attempting to express if the fact that there is not anything wrong with the hole. It is not primitive in a sense, it is a modern culture for some people. I asked because we lack the ability to properly use this method. My inquiry was not meant to offend anyone or be disrespectful in any way. I am truly sorry if I offended anyone. I had an occasion to work with a lady from Cambodia or Vietnam that was afraid to sit on a stool. She physically stood on the stool to pee and she had excellent aim. To my knowledge, she never got the seat wet.


I have not made inquires about “modern” Israel because I wish to see the history, the ancient history that is unique to the area and that cannot be found anyplace else. To my knowledge, the majority of these sites are related to religion, and because of the religious association, I will dress appropriately.


Unfortunately, because of our limitations, we have to rely on “modern” things in order to see some of the ancient sites. I am extremely happy to see that they have a path down to the Dead Sea, our scooters would not go up and down the stairs. Without the path, I would not be able to stick my toes in the Dead Sea. And yes, I would rather put my toes in the Dead Sea than to take an elevator to an observation deck in a tall building. However, if I have the time, I would like to do both.


Please, do not be offended by any questions I ask. They are only about things I lack knowledge and would like to be informed. I am truly sorry that I lack interest in the modern aspect; I assume that we will get a glimpse of modern Israel as we pass through different areas.


Betty
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  #603  
Old March 25th, 2012, 03:07 PM
r1955 r1955 is offline
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Don't get me wrong, there's no offense taken. It's actually quite amusing sometimes to hear the questions people ask and understand the way they imagine Israel knowing how far it is from reality.
I hope you have an interesting stay here and actually "modern" Israel, as far as you can feel it in a short visit, is also quite interesting. I think that although it is a western democracy, life here is different in many ways owing to the size (very small), the fact that Israel is actually a very young state with a great diversity of people and of course the political situation and everything it means to people who live here.

Have a lovely visit,
Riki
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  #604  
Old March 25th, 2012, 04:08 PM
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Don't get me wrong, there's no offense taken. It's actually quite amusing sometimes to hear the questions people ask and understand the way they imagine Israel knowing how far it is from reality.
I hope you have an interesting stay here and actually "modern" Israel, as far as you can feel it in a short visit, is also quite interesting. I think that although it is a western democracy, life here is different in many ways owing to the size (very small), the fact that Israel is actually a very young state with a great diversity of people and of course the political situation and everything it means to people who live here.

Have a lovely visit,
Riki
Israel is only going on 64, if you are counting from independence in '48, but it's not like we started from scratch! So in most areas we are just the same as any other Western nation.

As Riki said, the ethnic and cultural and religious diversities are enormous, but don't let that scare you - it doesn't scare us!
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  #605  
Old March 25th, 2012, 09:38 PM
baylin baylin is offline
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Hi Ruth

We have a private tour guide who has planned this two day tour while in the Port Ashdod Thursday and Friday and customized to our needs and wishes. But there is some free time at the end that I am not sure as to what to suggest.

Two Day Israel Cruise Excursion Thursday, October 25th
10:00 Meet at the Ashdod port
11:15 Arrive at the Western Wall in Jerusalem
Head underground for the Western Wall Tunnels Tour
Walk along sections of the Via Dolorosa and through the bustling Arab Shuk
1:15 Stroll down the ancient Roman Cardo
Enter the Jewish Quarter; take a break to enjoy the local cuisine
Explore the City of David – the original Jerusalem
4:30 Visit Yad Vashem
8:00 Arrive back in Ashdod

Friday, October 26th
7:15 Leave the Ashdod Port
8:15 Panoramic View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
10:15 Arrive at Masada – introductory movie, cable car up the mountain, tour of the fortress
12:30 Enjoy the relaxing therapeutic waters of the Dead Sea
3:30 Arrive in Jerusalem

It being Friday and 3:30 in Jerusalem is there anything that is a must see for perhaps 2-3 hours as the ship leaves at 9:00 PM that evening?
I welcome Ruth or anyone else who wishes to make a suggestion

Thanks
Ross
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  #606  
Old March 26th, 2012, 03:43 AM
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Hi Ruth
It being Friday and 3:30 in Jerusalem is there anything that is a must see for perhaps 2-3 hours as the ship leaves at 9:00 PM that evening?
I welcome Ruth or anyone else who wishes to make a suggestion
Israel will already have changed clocks back to standard time by then, so the Sabbath will start at around 4. That means that the place I would usually recommend- the Machane Yehuda farmer's market- will be closed, as will just about all stores and restaurants in the modern city and in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.

I'm not sure about the Arab souk in the Old City, but I think at least some of the stores there will be open. So, if you want to stay in Jerusalem for those last few hours, my suggestion would be to combine a return wander through the souk, where you can shop and snack, with a return visit to the Western Wall, where you can watch the crowds gather as they bring in the Sabbath. There is often a group of young men from one of the seminaries dancing down the steps and to the wall, and the area has a very pleasantly 'electric' vibe, sometimes with thousands of worshipers gathering in the plaza.

Another idea would be to leave Jerusalem at 3:30 and go to Tel Aviv for sunset on the beach- there's a lovely promenade that goes for a couple of miles from the Old Port of Jaffa to the newly revised and very trendy Tel Aviv port. Many, many stores and restaurants will be open, and the beaches should still be fairly lively. Travel time back to your ship should be only about half an hour, so you'll be able to spend a couple of hours strolling and relaxing and enjoying the sunset.

HTH!
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  #607  
Old March 26th, 2012, 07:45 AM
baylin baylin is offline
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Another idea would be to leave Jerusalem at 3:30 and go to Tel Aviv for sunset on the beach- there's a lovely promenade that goes for a couple of miles from the Old Port of Jaffa to the newly revised and very trendy Tel Aviv port. Many, many stores and restaurants will be open, and the beaches should still be fairly lively. Travel time back to your ship should be only about half an hour, so you'll be able to spend a couple of hours strolling and relaxing and enjoying the sunset.

HTH!
Thanks Ruth for the suggestions both are nice fits.
Will be back for more advice as we have a day in Haifa in which I would rather wander with my family without a guide but first i will look back on your past posts and see what information I can gather from there.

Ross
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  #608  
Old March 27th, 2012, 03:22 AM
alaska_planner alaska_planner is offline
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Thanks Ruth for the suggestions both are nice fits.
Will be back for more advice as we have a day in Haifa in which I would rather wander with my family without a guide but first i will look back on your past posts and see what information I can gather from there.

Ross
if your day in haifa is on saturday, wandering on your own will be a bit more difficult. You won't be able to rent a car.

I think public transportation does run in haifa, but i'm not sure if all the bus lines run or just some.

There is taxi service.

and then there is the guide option as well.

there are so many things to do from haifa port, i wouldn't know where to begin. Depending how many hours you have in port, there is the whole northern part of israel.
Although, if it's saturday, you can get stuck in traffic jams of israelis out for saturday trips and hikes. Some saturdays it seems as if all of israel is out hiking in the northern part of the country!
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  #609  
Old March 31st, 2012, 11:02 AM
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A curiosity question: What do you have to pay for a gallon or liter of gas there? Also, so I can compare it, what do you pay for milk? Someone here thought you recently had a big increase in gas. Is that true?


Betty
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  #610  
Old April 2nd, 2012, 08:47 AM
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Baylin,

Would it be rude of me to ask what tour agent you have booked? My husband and I will also be in Ashdod on a Thursday/Friday. We arrive around noon on Thursday and depart at 10 PM on Friday. I've been corresponding with one of the agents that is highly recommended here, but I'm a bit disappointed with the responses. Your itinerary for Friday sounds like something that we would like to do but were told was not possible.

We would like to do a tour of Old Jerusalem on Thursday but are planning to stay the night in Jerusalem to cut back on travel time and have more time in the city. On Friday we want to see Masada. I asked whether we could see sights on Thursday that close early on Friday then return to Old Jerusalem on Friday afternoon to see anything that we may have missed. I was told that was not possible. It sounds like your tour has that opportunity.

If you don't want to post a tour agency here, could you email it to me? My email address is my CC screen name at yahoo dot com.
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  #611  
Old April 2nd, 2012, 09:22 AM
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Happy Trailer,

Can you answer a question for me, please? My husband and I are looking at staying the night of Oct. 4th in Jerusalem. We have narrowed our choices down to either the David Citadel or the American Colony hotels. Both of these have good reviews on Trip Advisor. We would like to have access to a good restaurant for dinner and be in an area that is safe for walking around in the evening. The David Citadel seems to be modern and, from what I can tell, located in an area with several restaurants and shops nearby. The American Colony is historic, but the rooms appear to be nicer and less expensive. Its restaurant has very good reviews, but I'm not sure how safe the area around the hotel would be for an evening stroll or whether there is anything nearby to see.

I asked the guide we planned to use for Jerusalem whether the areas around the hotels were safe in the evening, but received a reply that he does not make hotel recommendations and I should research the areas myself. That surprised me since most guides that I have worked with in the past are willing to provide advice about hotels. I'm leaning towards the American Colony simply because I like hotels with some history, but I don't want to feel like we shouldn't leave the hotel grounds.

Would the area around David Citadel or American Colony be better? Or would another area of Jerusalem better meet our needs? Thank you for any advice that you are able to provide.
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  #612  
Old April 2nd, 2012, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by kyriecat View Post
Happy Trailer,

Can you answer a question for me, please? My husband and I are looking at staying the night of Oct. 4th in Jerusalem. We have narrowed our choices down to either the David Citadel or the American Colony hotels. Both of these have good reviews on Trip Advisor. We would like to have access to a good restaurant for dinner and be in an area that is safe for walking around in the evening. The David Citadel seems to be modern and, from what I can tell, located in an area with several restaurants and shops nearby. The American Colony is historic, but the rooms appear to be nicer and less expensive. Its restaurant has very good reviews, but I'm not sure how safe the area around the hotel would be for an evening stroll or whether there is anything nearby to see.

I asked the guide we planned to use for Jerusalem whether the areas around the hotels were safe in the evening, but received a reply that he does not make hotel recommendations and I should research the areas myself. That surprised me since most guides that I have worked with in the past are willing to provide advice about hotels. I'm leaning towards the American Colony simply because I like hotels with some history, but I don't want to feel like we shouldn't leave the hotel grounds.

Would the area around David Citadel or American Colony be better? Or would another area of Jerusalem better meet our needs? Thank you for any advice that you are able to provide.
American Colony is a wonderful old hotel, connected with the American and Scandinavian Christians who settled in that are at the end of the 19th century. It is in East Jerusalem, just up the road from the walled city.

Wonderful food, very picturesque and historical. Although it is in East Jerusalem, I can't remember hearing of any trouble around there in a long time.

There isn't anything to do in the area really. I haven't been there in quite some time, but I think it is in a residental neighborhood. If the Palestinian Embroidery Shop is still open, you can buy some wonderful stuff there.
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  #613  
Old April 2nd, 2012, 06:11 PM
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I thought a point-by-point comparison might be easier:

- Both are lovely hotels; the American Colony is historic, while the David Citadel is new and modern.

- I believe the American Colony has a good restaurant (but I'm not sure); I know the David Citadel has a highly acclaimed restaurant.

- The American Colony is at least a 'long' 20 minute walk from an entrance to the Old City, likely longer; the David Citadel is around the corner from the Old City- less than a 5 minute walk from Jaffa Gate, which is the entrance to both the Arab souk and the path to the Armenian and Jewish Quarters.

- The American Colony is in a basically isolated area in terms of shopping and restaurants, and the safety of the area can be questionable at night. You'd most likely want to take a taxi to and from the hotel.

The David Citadel is across the street from the new Mamilla mall, an outdoor mall that leads directly to Jaffa Gate. It is filled with cafes, restaurants, and upscale shops. It also has rotating art exhibits, and there frequently is free entertainment.

Within a ten-fifteen minute walk of the David Citadel is the Ben Yehudah pedestrian mall, with shops, restaurants, and entertainment. It is usually quite lively until at least 10pm. Branching off from Ben Yehudah is the Nachalat Shiva area, also with restaurants and shops. in addition, the main street, Jaffa Road, has become pedestrian only (with the exception of the new light rail). You could easily spend a few very safe hours wandering the entire area from Ben Yehudah back to the David Citadel, eating, shopping, people watching, and snacking. (We do exactly that several times a month.)

And if that wasn't enough , if you walk 20 minutes in the opposite direction from the David Citadel, you'll reach the German Colony, where you'll hear almost as much English and French as Hebrew, and you'll find even more restaurants and shops . The German Colony is a lovely residential neighborhood, with several Templer homes.

So: The American Colony will provide you with a beautiful, quiet retreat, but if you want to take an evening stroll and maybe do some shopping, you'll want to take cabs. (BTW- the hotel is very popular with the foreign press.). The David Citadel is an upscale modern hotel in a very safe area that is within a few minute's stroll of dozens of stores and restaurants which are frequented by both tourists and locals.

I know it sounds like I'm pushing the David Citadel, but I'm not really (and that would certainly be against CC rules). You could certainly have a lovely stay at the American Colony, and the David Citadel is priced very high. I just wanted to give you the perspective of someone who is very regularly in the area for a night out (and often an afternoon or morning out, too ).

HTH!

Ruth
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Last edited by happy trailer; April 2nd, 2012 at 06:14 PM.
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  #614  
Old April 2nd, 2012, 07:33 PM
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Ruth & Marian,

Thank you both for your input. Basically you confirmed what I already suspected. It sounds like the David Citadel would better suit our needs. I love the historic aspect of the American Colony and it appears to be a beautiful hotel, but when I looked at the location, there didn't appear to be much around it in terms of food, shopping, and entertainment. I was concerned about the safety of the area after dark due to its relative isolation. I think we'll book the David Citadel since we plan to wander around for a while. That plan may change after we've been walking around Old Jerusalem all day, but it's better to be prepared.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 12:43 AM
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Ruth & Marian,

Thank you both for your input. Basically you confirmed what I already suspected. It sounds like the David Citadel would better suit our needs. I love the historic aspect of the American Colony and it appears to be a beautiful hotel, but when I looked at the location, there didn't appear to be much around it in terms of food, shopping, and entertainment. I was concerned about the safety of the area after dark due to its relative isolation. I think we'll book the David Citadel since we plan to wander around for a while. That plan may change after we've been walking around Old Jerusalem all day, but it's better to be prepared.
But do stop by the AC for a meal or a drink if you can. It is well worth it for its food and its atmosphere. It does fanastic weekend brunches, and has a well stocked bar, due to it's international popularity.

Not kosher, of course, by the way.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 06:10 AM
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if you want historic and a top notch hotel, just down the road from the David Citadel is the King David hotel - where all the presidents and prime ministers stay.

there's a reason they stay there - perfect service and stunning rooms.

Last edited by alaska_planner; April 3rd, 2012 at 06:12 AM.
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  #617  
Old April 3rd, 2012, 07:20 AM
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if you want historic and a top notch hotel, just down the road from the David Citadel is the King David hotel - where all the presidents and prime ministers stay.

there's a reason they stay there - perfect service and stunning rooms.

That, too .

And the YMCA across the street is a real hotel, with a very good restaurant (not kosher). I've been there for conferences, but not for a while.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 08:37 AM
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I would love to stay at the King David but it's a little outside my price range, even for a standard room. The David Citadel is already pushing the upper level but it looks like it would be worth it for the location. I may check back to see if the price drops on the King David but for now I think we'll go with the Citadel.

I looked at the YMCA but don't think that it is right for me. The reviews praise the location and the price, but many complaints about hard/lumpy beds, lack of water pressure/hot water, noisy rooms, etc. If we were staying more than one night, I might be willing to risk some of those for a cheaper hotel rate. However, since it's only one night and we'll have a full day of touring prior, I want a comfy bed and lots of pressurized hot water for my shower. I'm a spoiled city gal - I don't like to "rough it" on my vacations.
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Old April 4th, 2012, 02:37 AM
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I would love to stay at the King David but it's a little outside my price range, even for a standard room. The David Citadel is already pushing the upper level but it looks like it would be worth it for the location. I may check back to see if the price drops on the King David but for now I think we'll go with the Citadel.

I looked at the YMCA but don't think that it is right for me. The reviews praise the location and the price, but many complaints about hard/lumpy beds, lack of water pressure/hot water, noisy rooms, etc. If we were staying more than one night, I might be willing to risk some of those for a cheaper hotel rate. However, since it's only one night and we'll have a full day of touring prior, I want a comfy bed and lots of pressurized hot water for my shower. I'm a spoiled city gal - I don't like to "rough it" on my vacations.
i would never stay at the Y - i've been there for conferences too.

as for the david citadel - it's considered to be a very good hotel.
One of my mom's friends only stays there when she's in jerusalem (and rest assured, she can afford the king david - she prefers the david citadel hotel).

i don't think you can go wrong choosing that hotel. And the location is excellent. Right across the street from mamilla. To get to the old city, i always park in mamilla and walk through (it's right across the street from jaffa gate).

there's a cute flash mob video filmed in mamilla - i'll go find it.

one of my favorite things to do in mamilla is sit on the balcony of Cafe Rimon with a view of the old city.
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  #620  
Old April 4th, 2012, 02:44 AM
alaska_planner alaska_planner is offline
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here's the flash mob that was filmed in mamilla - the open air shopping mall that's across the street from the old city's jaffa gate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzhQuQGyulA

watching the video, i think the cafe they're in to begin with might be cafe rimon - it looks like it anyway....

Last edited by alaska_planner; April 4th, 2012 at 02:45 AM.
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