Fantastic trip! Fantastic travel company. We had great communication with the company before the trip as we planned out our time in Israel with this company. My wife and I felt very comfortable with our agents and the itinerary that we all jointly put together. And - once the trip started, everything went perfectly as planned, and there were many many extras along the way. During our 3+ weeks together in Israel as he got to know us better, our guide never stopped thinking about ways that he could improve the itinerary. That is very unusual in our experience. Most guides will stick to an itinerary no matter what - usually because they don't have the knowledge or creativity to amend it on the go. And most guides will stick to only the same itineraries that everyone else uses - because those itineraries are safe. But our guide was always giving us options to add new stops and delete others that he thought would fit us better - even when it meant going off the beaten track - and those were some of our most exceptional experiences. Through his simple explanations, our guide brought centuries old ruins to life for us, but whenever it was needed his knowledge of Archaeology and History was encyclopedic. Most important, we spent 3+ weeks in Israel including 17 days of private guiding (many of those on the road throughout Israel), so having a guide who is personable, pleasant, friendly, communicative and easy to get along with is crucial. This guide is all of that and more. We give this company our highest and unqualified recommendation - the best tour company in Israel.
Our trip far exceeded our expectations solely as a result of all of the efforts of our agent, guide, and our travel company, and for that we are very grateful. There are far too many great memories to even list - but we will highlight a few of them. Seeing the Western Wall from the underground tunnels was amazing, as was our time at Masada and the City of David and Beit Shean. We loved seeing people get Baptisms at Bethany, and mud packs at the Dead Sea. We loved the wine tasting and walking through markets and neighborhoods and seeing street art and buying art. Learning about the history of Zionism, about Ben Gurion, about the Palmach and Haganah and the Underground Bullet Factory and about the early days of Israel gave us a new understanding that it is impossible to get growing up and living in the United States. But the real highlights of our Israel trip were all centered around emotional events and places. We will truly never forget spending Israel's Memorial Day and Independence Day with Nathan at Ammunition Hill, Kiryat Anavim, the Torch Lighting Ceremony at Mt. Herzl, and the Air Force Base Military Show. We will never forget the dancing and singing at Kabbalat Shabbat at the Western Wall. We will not forget seeing the mine fields and bunkers, and seeing all of the border fences and border crossings with Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. We will not forget our time at the Atlit Detention Camp. We will not forget the feeling we had crossing from Israel into Jordan, and even more so how happy we were when we crossed back into Israel the next day. We will not forget hearing the personal stories of our guide and his family - and how they intersected with the history of Israel. He shared with us not only the history and beauty of Israel, but also a piece of himself, and for that we are very appreciative. We treasure the time that we spent with both our guide and agent.
Two things come to mind. First, we would have stayed someplace other than the hotel in Jerusalem - we did not like that hotel.
Second, we stayed in some other wonderful hotels that had much to offer but our days were often so filled with activities that we were not always able to take advantage of the hotel facilities. And - we also like to just wander through neighborhoods on our own, but rarely had the time or energy to do that. We would not have wanted to delete any of the sights on our itinerary. So, I would probably want to extend the trip even longer to be able to plan more down time throughout the trip. Yes - it is a luxury to be retired and to be able to do that. And - when you plan more days for a trip to someplace like Israel in order to get downtime, it is really difficult to not just wind up filling those days with even more activities as there is always more to see and do. I call this a quality problem.
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