A Travellerspoint blog

Home Sweet Second Home

When we crossed the border from Taba, Egypt to Eilat, Israel it was such a strange feeling to arrive in Israel by foot, and not by plane. Once we got through the security check we breathed in the Israel air and felt at home. We rushed to the bus station and caught the next bus to Tel Aviv. We couldn't wait to get to Safta's apartment...the only problem was that Safta did not know we were coming because we did not have a phone to call her from! Thankfully someone at the bus stop let us borrow his phone, and she was so excited to hear we were only 15 minutes away!

Our first day in Israel we walked around Tel-Aviv. We went to the Azrieli Towers and the Ramat Aviv Mall, where there was a kosher Burger King and McDonalds. When we got to the food court, we were disappointed to find that Burger King was replaced by Burger Ranch. We later found out that all Burger King's were replaced by Burger Ranchs. As disappointing as that is, we were quickly cheered up with a supersized order of Big Macs and Mcnuggets!

The next morning Ima and Aba Katzourin arrived in Israel, and we had a nice Shabbat together with the family (including Morey). The next week in Israel went by so fast- from checking out the family's new apartment in Kiryat Ono, to going to Jerusalem for Saba Avigdor's yeirtzeit. We spent all Wednesday and Thursday walking around Jerusalem, Meah Shearim, Ben Yehuda, Machane Yehuda, and of course the Kotel. We stayed at the Kotel until the first Channuka candle was lit.

We also got to spend some time visiting family and friends who are here in Israel. It was so nice to see my good friend Shira- who I have not seen since our wedding! Okay.. fine... we also spend some time shopping... but most of the time in Israel was spent eating, of course!
This is now Joey - filling in a few details from Danna's entry above.

Israel was a blur (the eating part was definitely true - see our other story on the food). But just to clarify one point, "some time shopping" could be replaced with "some time NOT shopping."

Israel was a fun family vacation and now the trip really begins... off to Jordan.

Posted by javerbook 16:00 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

Taba for Two

Taba, Egypt

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When we got back to Cairo- we caught the 6am bus to Taba, Egypt where we caught up on our sleep. After the 6 hour bus ride, we were dropped off at our Hotel; Sol Y Mar. We did not realize how nice it would be! At $54 dollars a night, we were totally surprised that it was an all inclusive resort by the beach. I guess it has to be all inclusive when you are secluded in the desert with not much around. We enjoyed sitting by the Red Sea. Something about seeing the mountains meet the ocean is so peaceful.

The next day we Exodus out of Egypt, and walk across the border to Eilat Israel... where we check one country off the list and start our adventure in another.......

Posted by javerbook 16:00 Archived in Egypt Tagged taba Comments (0)

Living Like Royalty

Luxor, Egypt

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On Sunday morning we woke up at 5:30 am, which I fear may become a theme on this trip, as many excursions insist on beginning at sunrise! Normally I would complain about getting up this early, but when I get to watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon- I have no problem. It would have been romantic- but we shared the basket with 20 other people! (But it was still romantic because I have never squeezed Joey so tightly!
From over 3,000 feet up, we had a view of Luxor's Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens and Queen Hatshepsut's temple all while floating directly over the Nile. The hot air balloon ride was awesome- and surprisingly very calm and smooth. Even the landing was smooth- especially since we landed on someone's corn field!

The rest of our Luxor trip included the Karnak Temple, Luxor, Temple, a trip to the Valley of the Kings and Queen Hatshepsut's Temple. Seeing the temples from inside were like history lessons coming to life. Everything we learned about hieroglyphics, and ancient Egyptian life was right before our eyes- cool.

Since we decided to make this trip truly about experiences- we decided to take an overnight train back to Cairo- instead of flying. We squeezed into tiny room in the sleeper car that barely fit us and our huge backpacks. The room felt even smaller when the train conductor folded out the table, and the bunk beds. After laughing about it for the first hour- we only had 7 more hours to go!

Posted by javerbook 16:00 Archived in Egypt Tagged luxor Comments (0)

Walk like an Egyptian

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Our trip actually did not start in Egypt- we had a quick stop in Amman Jordan first. We flew Royal Jordanian to Amman and waited at the airport to catch our next flight 3 hours later to Cairo. (Also on Royal Jordanian). For someone who has a fear of flying, I would say that I am doing very well so far.

So when we finally landed in Cairo on Monday night our tour guide picked us up from the airport, and took us to the Pharoah's Hotel. The name of the hotel is kind of misleading- maybe it should be called the Pharoah's Slave's Hotel- as there is no way a Pharoah would stay here. Its not terrible- just not so fit for a king. Everyone here has been really nice- starting by telling us which nudnik salesmen to avoid. Staying here is a great start to our trip- we am really learning how to adapt to the backpacking style. (for example- using a 3-in-1 shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and learning to deal without running water when the pipes in the hotel break).

Walking around Cairo was really cool. Egypt is currently celebrating the Festival of the lamb. It seems that a lot of kids are out of school, and people fill the downtown streets. We even saw live sheep displayed in the window of the supermarket!

We have all learned about Egyptian history, beliefs and culture at some point in our education. Although present Egypt seems to have changed a lot since the times of tombs and mummification- a lot of the history is still present. We went to the Egyptian museum and saw King Tutankhamen's tombs, and many of the things buried in his 3 chambers. Lots of chachkies that were believed to be for him in the afterlife. Most of it including hieroglyphics and covered in gold. The mummy room was kind of like the Bodies exhibit downtown.

The coolest part of Cairo was the Pyramids. The bricks, the stones, the shape, the height, the colors... all an amazing experience seeing it first hand.

Posted by javerbook 16:00 Archived in Egypt Tagged cairo Comments (0)

Welcome to The Books Review

Welcome Family and friends (and anyone else that stumbled upon this blog), As you may already know, we have decided to travel around the world for seven months. If you ask Danna, it was a spur of the moment decision that took just a few short months to plan, but if you ask Joey- he has been planning this for years. Joey worked hard to collect miles and points, to make this dream happen, and Danna contributed by spending money to help collect the miles and points.

As Danna is a newly licensed social worker, and Joey, still searching for his dream career- being married for a year and a half- we decided that this is the time. If not now, when?

We decided to document our trip so that our friends and family can be part of this exciting adventure. We will do the best we can to post- depending on time, and internet access- of course. If you have any comments, questions, or dares... please share!

Posted by javerbook 16:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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