Trip Start May 14, 2008
Trip End Jun 17, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Departure day:  May 14, 2008
I'm sitting at the airport, waiting for our Iberia flight to board.    Since I woke up this morning, I've been thinking about our last trip to Israel.  It was one week after college graduation that Harvey and I got married and only four days later did we leave for our honeymoon in Israel and Europe!  In those four days, we were supposed to go to the beach on Long Island, but because it was raining, we went to the movies and saw Lawrence of Arabia.  Ever since then I've had this desire to ride a camel in the desert!   Packing bags and getting ready to leave today, helped to jog all kinds of memories of our honeymoon.   We had a budget of $2,500, which included the student charter flight.  We had our departing and returning flights for our nine week trip, and the "Let's Go Israel" guidebook.  That was the extent of our planning.  Each day we would wake up and decide what to do and where to go.  We sometimes decided to move on without knowing where we were going.  We would go to the train or bus station get in line and ask people where they thought we should go. 
On this trip, we will be celebrating our 37th wedding anniversary in Jerusalem!  We have wanted to return for many years, but each time we plan a trip, it feels like it is too dangerous or we've had health issues.  This time, Harvey insisted on going and I agreed provided that we update our will.   A little paranoia is healthy!

Over the years, we've changed.  The thought of showing up in a city without a clue where we would stay is no longer an option.  With much anticipation we're ready to see what there is to see, do what there is to do and experience Israel once again!  It's different this time.  We've been reading, revitalizing our minds regarding history, and expanding our perceptions by learning more about modern day Israel.  We've read "The Source" (James Michener), "The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land" (Donna Rosenthal), "Walking the Bible" (Bruce Feiler), "The Haj" (Leon Uris), and "Kabbalah: A Love Story" (Rabbi Lawrence Kushner).  Harvey has been reading about the political and economic history of Israel as well as its neighbors.
This seems like an appropriate time to pause and think about the people who helped to make this trip so extraordinary.

 TRIPADVISORS.  My heart wants to thank everyone on the TripAdvisor community ( for your comments, suggestions, and contagious enthusiasm that have helped to make this dream trip possible.   Thanks for answering all my questions and making suggestions on our itinerary including driving directions, restaurants, hotels, music venues and how to get tickets, bus reservations (and which side of the bus to sit on for best views), for actually driving over to check out a bed and breakfast we were considering (!!!), for translating Hebrew text on websites.  There we so many requests and so many responses freely given.  Such sharing and camaraderie is so special and is appreciated!   I would like to return the favor in maybe in some small way, updating this trip report for the next 33 days will serve to inform and inspire others.    We're all kindred spirits in our enthusiasm for travel, our desire to discover and experience Israel, and our willingness to share and help others.  An embrace and a big thank you to everyone on TripAdvisor!  THANK YOU SO MUCH!

 HARVEY.  For insisting that we finally go back to Israel! For indulging my love of travel and acknowledging that the planning, with all its research and decisions that sometimes drive me crazy, is actually an enjoyable process for me.  For giving me free reign to come up with the activities and itinerary, and for your willingness to try anything!  For your sense of humor, playfulness, willingness to engage people in conversation, tolerance in dealing with the unexpected and your wisdom when we were tired or cranky.   In the past, you have taken the point and shoot camera, but on this trip, you gamely accepted a digital SLR and experimented with the settings as we grappled together with the challenging lighting situations.  For reading the day's journal and sprinkling in your comments, like salt and pepper, to include your recollections.  It always amazed me that we experienced the same things yet saw them so differently. So although the journal is written in the first person, it became a joint effort in much the same way our 37 years of marriage has been.    The journals and the photos became a partnership and a really fun project that has truly enhanced our experience incrementally.   In your true spirit of being an idea guy and figuring things out, you managed to get the music into each web gallery and set up our web page.  There is no one else in this world with whom I would rather spend my time.  Thank you for being you.
 READERS OF OUR TRIP JOURNAL AND PHOTO GALLERIES.   Both the journals and photos with the subtitles and music became more than Harvey and I had initially envisioned.  Sharing them with you and receiving your comments and enthusiasm in return has added a new dimension to our travels.    We thank you!

May peace be with you all.
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