Israel!

MY ITINERARY HAS ARRIVED – TIME TO GET EXCITED!

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Wednesday, Aug 31 – Departure
Depart JFK Int’l airport at 7:05 PM
Arrive at the airport four hours early

Thursday, Sep 1 – Arrival & The Golan

Landing at Ben Gurion Airport at 5:10 PM
Evening: Program introductions & ice breakers
Overnight: Afik Guest House, Golan / Tel: 972-4-6761240

Friday, Sep 2 – The Golan & Galilee

Tzfat – Birthplace of Jewish mysticism
Har Merion – Nature walk
Prepare for Shabbat
Start of Shabbat – Candle lighting ceremony
Festive Shabbat dinner
Oneg Shabbat – Celebrating Shabbat
Overnight: Afik Guest House, Golan / Tel: 972-4-6761240

Saturday, Sep 3 – The Golan

Walking tour
Shabbat activity
Havdallah ceremony – Conclusion of Shabbat
Kinneret Cruise – Boat ride on the Sea of Galilee
Overnight: Afik Guest House, Golan / Tel: 972-4-6761240

Sunday, Sep 4 – The North & Tel Aviv

Nahal Jilabun – Canyon hike in the Golan
Har Bental – Observation point and former Syrian bunkers
Jordan River rafting
Depart for Tel Aviv
Overnight: Ruth Daniel Hotel, Tel Aviv / Tel: 972-3-5264526

Monday, Sep 5 – Tel Aviv & The Negev

Welcome & ice breakers with Israeli peers
Rabin Square – Memorial to Yitzhak Rabin
Independence Hall – Declaration of the modern State of Israel
Jaffa – Ancient seaport & artist colony
Tel Aviv beach – Relax along Israel’s Mediterranean Coast
Depart for Arad
Overnight: Arad Guest House, Arad / Tel: 972-2-5945599

Tuesday, Sep 6 – The Negev

Ascend Masada – Via the Roman Ramp
Masada – Ancient mountain-top fortress
Descend Masada – Via the Snake Path
Ein Bokek – Nature walk
Dead Sea – Floating at Ein Bokek Beach
Camel trekking – Travel the Negev desert in style!
Beduin hospitality
Mifgash activity with Israeli peers
Overnight: Beduin Tent, Chan Shayarot / Tel: 972-8-6535777

Wednesday, Sep 7 – The Negev

Nachal Chavarim – Canyon hike
Sde Boker – Desert outpost & grave of Ben Gurion
Depart for Jerusalem
Haas Promenade – Panoramic view of Jerusalem
Plant a tree in Israel!
Prepare for Yad Vashem
Overnight: Caeser, Jerusalem / Tel: 972-2-5005656

Thursday, Sep 8 – Jerusalem

Yad Vashem – Holocaust Memorial & Museum
Har Herzl – National Memorial
Ben Yehuda Street – Pedestrian shopping center
Evening cultural event
Overnight: Caeser, Jerusalem / Tel: 972-2-5005656

Friday, Sep 9 – Jerusalem

Jewish Quarter – Old City walking tour
Davidson Center – Interactive exhibit
The Kotel – Reflections at the Western Wall
Wrap up and depart with Israelis
Machane Yehuda – Colorful Jerusalem marketplace
Prepare for Shabbat
Start of Shabbat – Candle lighting ceremony
Festive Shabbat dinner
Oneg Shabbat – Celebrating Shabbat
Overnight: Caeser, Jerusalem / Tel: 972-2-5005656

Saturday, Sep 10 – Jerusalem

Shabbat activity
Walking tour
Wrap up session
Havdallah ceremony – Conclusion of Shabbat
Political seminar – The Situation Today in Israel
Overnight: Caeser, Jerusalem / Tel: 972-2-5005656

Sunday, Sep 11 – Departure & Arrival

Depart Accompany group to Ben Gurion airport at 8:15 AM
Arrive at JFK Int’l airport at 5:05 PM Leave airport to continue travels!

Countdown

There’s now less than 1 month until I leave. We just moved into our new apartment, so things have been kind of hectic. I still have a few more things I need to get for my trip, most notably a netbook.

Since most of my trip to Israel will be organized, I’ve started researching Egypt to get a sense of how it works and what the must-see sites are. After Birthright I plan to visit Jordan and get my Egypt visa, but not really spent much more time in Israel itself.
Approximate travel breakdown:

8/30 – Bus from Boston to NYC.
8/31 – NYC to Israel
8/31 – 9/11 – Birthright trip
9/11 – ~9/17 – Visit Elinor in Israel, Petra in Jordan, and acquire Egyptian visa.
~9/18 – Cross from Eilat into Cairo to meet up with Karol.
10/9 – Flight from Cairo to BKK or Kuala Lumpur (need to decide on this soon)
10/20 – Cait arrives 🙂
10/20 – 10/28 – Tour Thailand
10/29 – Thailand to Angkor Wat
10/30 – 11/3 – Angkor Wat
11/4 – Return to BKK
11/5 – Cait leaves 😦
11/5 – 12/18 – Explore Southeast Asia. No itinerary yet
12/19 – Fly home

Just 3.5 weeks left at work. We’re starting to interview possible replacements today, with the goal that I’ll have at least a week to train them before I leave. Between the move, work, finalizing trip details, my father visiting, my grandparents visiting, and all the regular summer activities, August is shaping up to be an exceptionally busy month.

Bring it on!