To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries
- Aldous Huxley

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Day 5 - Goodbye Dubai, Hello Israel

Today we woke up at 4am, yeah that’s right, to head to the airport to catch a flight to Israel via Istanbul (since you cannot fly directly to Israel from the UAE for whatever political reason). Even at 4am it was hotter than Satan’s sauna and just as sweaty. But the roads were empty (because no sane person would be awake) and it was a quick ride to the airport, which was also fairly empty.
So far, so good.
We checked in and bordered 2 hours later onto Turkish Air and found the 5-hour flight quite pleasant with excellent food. We descended into Turkey and got some amazing views of Istanbul. I never realized it was so big, but it seems as if the city stretches on in all directions forever. Stunning city from the air and I can’t wait to visit it next year.

I didn't have my camera on me so this is the closet thing to Turkey you're getting

We went through transit and onto another Turkish Air flight, meeting a very happy Israeli ticket checker/question-why-you’re-going-and-when-you’re-leaving guy which was surprising as I had the perception all Israeli people, especially officials, were serious, no-nonsense types.
The flight was a little bumpy and I could have done without Danni smelling out the airplane and putting herself on the Turkish Airlines no-fly list as a biochemical weapon (she blames the tabbouleh).

Passport control was going to be our biggest issue since some countries won’t let you enter if you have an Israel stamp in your passport, we were all prepared with the reason why we didn’t want a stamp in the passport but our passport control guy greeted us with a “G’day” and told us they no longer stamp passports. So that was reliving and would not prove any further headaches.

A nice, easy going airport (even if it is limited in English) allowed us an easy escape into a taxi where we were told it would cost 150ILS (Israel Shekel) and tightass trying to argue it down but to no avail (we could have risked the meter but might have cost more due to traffic and us being foreigners and prone to taxi scams (see Dubai) we didn’t really have much of a choice.
We arrived at our hotel and had a brief glimpse of the city. Naturally it’s no Dubai and it looks like an old city but it has character. We went for a walk and found the packed out beach only a few blocks from us and the water was beautiful, not the boiling bath water of Dubai but a cool, refreshing feeling on a hot Isreali day (32 degrees today).

It would be the perfect beach...if not for the sand.

We found a restaurant along the beach and had a delicious dinner with the best chicken wings we’ve ever had and took a quick dip in the ocean before having a gelati and heading back to our room.
It's only been half a day but we are both impressed by Israel as long as you can look past the cosmetic value of the city itself and appreciate it's history, the people and the food and beaches.

So delicious I even ate the fork

Tomorrow is a big day as we tour Nazareth, Tiberias and the Sea of Galillee.

No comments:

Post a Comment