October 2017

August 19, 2017

 

Follow me on my four (previously six) day overland adventure through Israel, starting in Tel Aviv and travelling by train to Jerusalem and Haifa with a side trip to the Dead Sea in October 2017.  As I am travelling alone, the planning will undoubtedly be left to the last minute but I will keep this blog up to date with everything that goes through my head and makes it's way into my plan!

 

Update: Saturday 19th August 2017

 

The idea:

 

Somewhere outside of Europe (ideally), not too far away (as I only have 6 days), a place Mehri isn't that interested in visiting, a destination I haven't been to before and the trip must include a rail journey.  Now that's a complicated task!

 

Annual leave:

 

Not required - all the days I am away for are 'free days owed' from working Saturday's and Sunday's.

 

Flights:

 

I'm beginning to get seriously good at finding the best possible priced flights to any location using just a little bit of imagination.  This flight search was no different. The return flight from Tel Aviv back to London was straightforward and cheap.  The outbound leg was more complex and after various fails, I eventually found a good option via Poznan in Poland for originally just £65.  

 

WIZZ AIR.  London Luton 16:35 to Poznan (Poland) 19:35.  £30.49 (annoyingly I had to pay £13 on top of the ticket price of £17.49 for 'large' carry-on luggage which I didn't know about until after I had already booked the LOT Airlines flight - the small 'free' carry-on luggage option was about the size of a handbag or laptop case - even Ryanair is more generous than Wizz Air). 

 

LOT AIRLINES.  Poznan (Poland) 06:30 to Tel Aviv (Israel) 11:40.  £48.60. 

 

MONARCH.  Tel Aviv (Israel) 22:25 to London Luton (01:50+1).  US$ 77. 

*** Cancelled on 2nd October 2017 due to airline bankruptcy ***

 

Accommodation:

 

POZNAN: Hostel Poznań Baj. Approx £8 (38 zł) for a bed in a 6-bed dorm.  Booked through www.booking.com.  Fully refundable until 14th October but I have received an email since booking to request that 50% payment is received in the next 48 hours through a bank transfer.  I have replied to their email and requested a PayPal transaction instead. Update: Saturday 26th August 2017 - agreed after a few emails that I would pay the whole fee on arrival.

 

Rough plan:

 

Day 1: Fly to Poznan arriving at 19:35 and stay overnight in a hostel

Day 2: Fly to Israel arriving at 11:40

Day 3: Israel

Day 4: Israel

Day 5: Israel

Day 6: Israel

Day 7: Israel, depart Tel Aviv at 22:25

 

Update: Sunday 1st October 2017

 

As I said right at the start, the planning for this trip has been left to the very last minute.  In fact, I am not updating this blog today with any new bookings (I have been far too busy planning my December 2017 and February 2018 trips) but the news of Monarch's potential failure to secure a new ATOL licence from the CAA by midnight on 30th September may put the airline at risk.

 

The only reason I discovered this potential issue was because I was going through my emails and printing off anything travel booking related.  The Monarch email didn't print very well, so I just typed 'Monarch' into Google (too lazy to type www.monarch.... and then guess the ending) and this brought up all the news articles about Monarch's problems.  I took the wait and see approach... 

 

Note: I am already battling with the uncertainties of my Berlin trip, with  Ryanair cancelling hundreds of flights due to a pilot shortage and Air Berlin declaring bankruptcy in August, both of which has caused me a bit of headache - and now this! 

 

Update: Monday 2nd October 2017

 

I woke up to the news that Monarch had ceased trading at 04:00 hours.  Supposedly the administrators had to wait until that exact time, as no aircraft could be in the skies at the time Monarch stopped trading.  I didn't waste much time that morning and within an hour I had booked a new flight. 

 

Note: I also called my travel insurer who informed me I should get a refund for the flight.  This is now being dealt by "IPP" (International Passenger Protection). 

 

Flight:

 

EASYJET.  Tel Aviv 20:50 to London Gatwick 00:10.  €96.44 (£85.52) bought directly from EasyJet. 

 

Rough plan:

 

Day 1: Fly to Poznan arriving at 19:35 and stay overnight in a hostel

Day 2: Fly to Israel arriving at 11:40

Day 3: Israel

Day 4: Israel

Day 5: Israel, depart Tel Aviv at 20:50

 

Update: Monday 16th October 2017

 

Itinerary:

 

It's the night before I am due to fly out, and up until today, I hadn't planned or booked any tours or accommodation for this trip.  But tonight I have spent a few hours preparing and here's what I hope my trip to Israel will (hopefully) look like...

 

Day 1 - Tuesday 17th October:

Fly from London to Poznan, and stay overnight at Hostel Poznań Baj.

 

Day 2 - Wednesday 18th October:

Fly from Poznan to Tel Aviv, join a FREE walking tour of the Old Jaffa district and stay overnight at Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv

 

Day 3 - Thursday 19th October:

Visit the Israeli National Railway Museum and the Shrine of the Bab in Haifa, before catching a ride on Israel's most scenic stretch of railway between Bet Shemesh and Jerusalem.  Stay overnight at Abraham Hostel  Jerusalem.

 

Day 4 - Friday 20th October:

Join a group tour of the Judean Deset followed by a Jerusalem Shabbath Experience.  Stay overnight in Abraham Hostel Jerusalem. 

 

Day 5 - Saturday 21st October:

Get up early, and join a group tour to watch the sunrise from Masada before heading down to the Dead Sea.  Relax and swim before returning to Jerusalem and joining the afternoon FREE walking tour.  Catch a shared taxi to the airport and fly back to London.

 

Accommodation:

 

Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv - one night in a 12 bed mixed dorm.  Booked through www.booking.com for US$25.33 to be paid on arrival in local currency.

 

Abraham Hostel Jerusalem - two nights in a 10 bed mixed dorm.  Booked through www.booking.com for US$64.07 to be paid on arrival in local currency. 

 

Tours:

 

SANDERMANs free walking tour of the Old Jaffa district of Tel Aviv - Meeting point is the Clock Tower in Old Jaffa at 2pm.  Booked in advance (but probably not necessary) at www.neweuropetours.eu. Wednesday 18th October. 

 

SANDERMANs free walking tour of the Old City Quarters of Jerusalem - Meeting point is the Jaffa Gate at 2pm.  Booked in advance (but probably not necessary) at www.neweuropetours.eu.  Saturday 21st October. 

 

ABRAHAM TOURS Jerusalem Shabbat (Sabbath) experience - Meeting point is at Abraham Hostel.  Booked in advance at www.abrahamtours.com for 100 NIS (95 NIS for students).  Friday 20th October at 5pm. 

 

ABRAHAM TOURS Judean Desert Tour - Meeting point is at Abraham Hostel.  Booked in advance at www.abrahamtours.com for 350 NIS.  Friday 20th October at 8am. 

 

TOURIST ISRAEL Masada Sunrise, Ein Gedi  and Dead Sea Tour - Meeting point is the David Citadel Hotel at 4am.  Booked in advance at www.touristisrael.com/tours for US$59.  Saturday 21st October. 

 

Update: Tuesday 17th October 2017

 

Packed and ready to go...

 

 

 

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