Results tagged “Tel Aviv” from Eurasia 2012

Well the parents turned up a bit before 2am last night. We stayed up a little while. I was worried that I wouldn't get back to sleep. But I did without any problems and had an awesome sleep. Yay for earplugs!! (I have to wear earplugs because my father is a worse morning person than I am, and there was nearly a patricide when we were travelling together in 2004). So I even slept through the alarm I had set on my phone to remind to take my malaria pills.

Morning view from the hotel
Morning view from the hotel

View from the south side of the hotel
View from the south side of the hotel

So wandered down for a late breakfast (they had a pretty awesome buffet).

Some of the breakfast buffet - so much awesome fresh food!
Some of the breakfast buffet - so much awesome fresh food!

After breakfast we went for a wander along the promenade which was a little warm but very pleasant.

Down at the beach
Down at the beach

Hooded Crow
Hooded Crow

Looking towards Old Jaffa
Looking towards Old Jaffa

At 10am we all piled into the tour bus. Twenty nine people in a big coach, which means plenty of free seats which is good.

Me next to our tour coach
Me next to our tour coach
Photo by Mum

Our coach captain (Osama) and tour guide (Ronen)
Our coach captain (Osama) and tour guide (Ronen)

Our first stop was a valley south of Tel Aviv where (supposedly) David slew Goliath. They've based this on a few of the old place names in the area. There was a river bed there with lots of smooth stones. If it was actually the place it was pretty cool. If not it still had a nice cliff and wheat field and a few poppies.

Buildings in Tel Aviv
Buildings in Tel Aviv

Seeing road signs with biblical names was so cool
Seeing road signs with biblical names was so cool

They actually grow prickly pear here!
They actually grow prickly pear here!

I was surprised how green the countryside looked
I was surprised how green the countryside looked

Possible location of the place where David fought Goliath
Possible location of the place where David fought Goliath

Bruce reading the bible
Bruce reading the bible

White Stork.  These guys were everywhere
White Stork. These guys were everywhere

Cliffs near possible location of David and Goliath
Cliffs near possible location of David and Goliath

Stones in the creek bed
Stones in the creek bed

Poppies
Poppies
Photo by Mum

The countryside was very green, which was surprising given how little water the country gets. Apparently 50% of the water used is from desalination (don't know how true that is). And they're very good at water management.

Green countryside, with burning off
Green countryside, with burning off

Then we headed back to Tel Aviv and stopped in Jaffa. It had a bunch of old buildings and a lovely view. We got dropped off and walked down the hill and had lunch in a place which served "traditional Arab" food - which basically to us meant "Turkish" - ie, bread with varieties of dips, and chicken kebabs. Nice food and a really nice lemonade to go with it.

Roundabout and clock tower in Old Jaffa
Roundabout and clock tower in Old Jaffa

Danger of death!
Danger of death!

Buildings in Old Jaffa
Buildings in Old Jaffa

Looking north along the coast from Jaffa
Looking north along the coast from Jaffa

Military helicopter
Military helicopter

Minaret in Old Jaffa
Minaret in Old Jaffa

Minaret in Old Jaffa
Minaret in Old Jaffa

Some of the lunch spread
Some of the lunch spread

But after lunch instead of giving us some time to explore the town some more, they gave us a whole twenty minutes. Was so pissed off about that. Because we really didn't have the time to see *anything*. We went back to the bus at 14:45 and were back at the hotel at 15:10. That was it for the day. And I'm like .. it's ten past three.. would it have killed you to give us another half an hour?? Lame.

Clock tower in Old Jaffa
Clock tower in Old Jaffa

Theatre in Old Jaffa
Theatre in Old Jaffa

So the parents and I headed out again for a little walk around the beach again. But noone wanted to come with me to see if the Star Wars escalator was still there, so went back with mum to go for a swim.

Our hotel in Tel Aviv
Our hotel in Tel Aviv

Had a dip in the Mediterranean Sea, which actually had some small waves. Didn't stay long, but it was really refreshing. Then we went inside to go in the hotel pool. Which was good too, but to be honest I thought it was a little too warm and actually preferred the temperature of the sea!

Sunset over the Mediterranean Sea
Sunset over the Mediterranean Sea

Ship passing in front of the sunset
Ship passing in front of the sunset

Had a bit of time to kill before our scheduled dinner time so downloaded and resized photos.

Dinner was in the buffet again, heaps of good food. But I was good and had just a little meat and plenty of veggies and salad. Best bit though was these little chocolate cups with sour berries - yummm!!

And back to the room to blog.

Distance covered on the GPS: 148.3km
Steps walked: 13823
Photos on the Canon: 557
Photos on the Sony: 52
Videos: 17

Not sure if this should be day 1, or day 1 and day 2. Because it certainly covers two full days. My entire weekend was spent getting to the other side of the planet.

It's 5pm here. Midnight in Canberra.

So I guess we should start from the beginning hey?

Got a reasonable chunk of what I had to do done before I left. A few things outstanding. An internet connection here would be kinda handy for that .. hrmm.

Got a lift to the airport (thanks Dave!). Checked in, and checked my bag all the way through (four flights - yipe!)

Qantas 737-800 VH-TJR at Canberra Airport
Qantas 737-800 VH-TJR at Canberra Airport

First flight (Canberra to Sydney) was pretty uneventful. Took off to the north so got a decent view of Canberra from my window seat. Flew over the Sutherland Shire coming into Sydney (so saw my parent's house and mine in the distance too), then swung out over the ocean before coming in on 34L.

Canberra from the plane
Canberra from the plane

Gungahlin from the plane
Gungahlin from the plane

Gunning from the plane
Gunning from the plane

Sutherland Shire from the plane
Sutherland Shire from the plane

Como from the plane - look mum I can see your house!
Como from the plane - look mum I can see your house!

Transferred over on the Qantas tarmac tour bus to the international terminal.

Then went and found the gate, and more importantly, power points to charge a few things.

Cathay Pacific A330-300 B-LAN at Sydney Airport
Cathay Pacific A330-300 B-LAN at Sydney Airport

Second flight (Sydney to Hong Kong) was on Cathay Pacific, on an A330, and this was a pretty decent flight. Except for one small glitch.

This.  This is why you can't trust travel agents to book seats.
This. This is why you can't trust travel agents to book seats.

But it was a nice modern plane with a really nice in-flight entertainment system with a good touch screen. Except for one small glitch. Finding the volume control took me ages and I ended up having to read the help to figure out how to do it. Turns out you have to press *outside* the screen for those functions. Yeah really intuitive design there guys. Not. The people in front of me were struggling with it too. I ended up watching three movies - The Artist, The Muppets and War Horse. Also a special on the Titanic (topical, since it was sailing to its doom exactly 100 years ago at that point).

Limited view of Sydney from the plane
Limited view of Sydney from the plane

This would have been so awesome with a *real* window seat
This would have been so awesome with a *real* window seat

Full zoom and you can *almost* forget the wing is there
Full zoom and you can *almost* forget the wing is there

Late lunch on the plane
Late lunch on the plane

Flew in around some pretty cool clouds around Hong Kong. Went through security (I always wonder why you have to do this when you've just come off a plane that's already been checked) then walked and walked and walked to my next gate. DaveO was not kidding when he said Hong Kong airport was huge! In the end only had about fifteen minutes at the gate before my flight was called. That's cutting it a bit fine!

Long neck of Hong Kong Airport.  Doc was right, this place is huge!
Long neck of Hong Kong Airport. Doc was right, this place is huge!

So the third flight (Hong Kong to Zurich) was twelve hours of pain. I was trying to sleep so didn't have dinner, and didn't watch anything. Didn't really sleep. Got hungry during the night and had to get some snacks. Gave up at one point and watched My Week with Marilyn. But really I just watched the flight track on the back of the seat. It was pretty tortuous.

While on the plane I heard these two girls talking to an American guy about where they were going, but wasn't really paying attention. And as we got off I found out they were going to Israel and were going to Tel Aviv on the same flight as me. So later when we were trying to find out what gate to go to next I said gate E. They were from Sydney and going to Tel Aviv for a Bar Mitzva (sp??). So we all hung out in Zurich airport together for the next two hours.

Lovely mother and daughter I met during the transfer of planes in Zurich
Lovely mother and daughter I met during the transfer of planes in Zurich

Me on the terminal train in Zurich
Me on the terminal train in Zurich

Needs more cowbell!
Needs more cowbell!

So the last flight was from Zurich to Tel Aviv. I couldn't even watch the GPS track this time as it was borked. So I attempted to doze (failed) and watched the Greek islands go by (after the clouds had cleared). The Mediterranean is very blue. So blue that clouds don't cast a shadow. That's what it seems like anyway heh.

My monitor was broken, no video for me
My monitor was broken, no video for me

Lunch? on the plane
Lunch? on the plane

Looking across to Dirfi mountain in Greece
Looking across to Dirfi mountain in Greece

Athens
Athens

Athens International Airport
Athens International Airport

Gyaros
Gyaros

Rineia, Delos and Mikonos
Rineia, Delos and Mikonos

The clouds didn't cast any shadow it was all so blue
The clouds didn't cast any shadow it was all so blue

Chocolate on the plane
Chocolate on the plane

Tel Aviv (our hotel was the one on the right of the three in the bottom right)
Tel Aviv (our hotel was the one on the right of the three in the bottom right)

Tel Aviv, including City Hall
Tel Aviv, including City Hall

Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Airport
Tel Aviv Airport

After an eternity we finally landed, but they parked us off in a corner of the airport and said they'd be processing our passports at the old terminal. Seems there's been some sort of festival here and they were worried about demonstrations.. or something.

So I asked that my passport/visa be stamped on a loose sheet, as they say you should do that if you're ever likely to be going to any islam countries, including Malaysia and Indonesia. So that was all cool, and then we got onto more busses to go to the other terminal to pickup our bags.

But at this point they took my loose sheet. And I'm going .. hang on a sec.. don't I need that? But so many people were coming through and they were being taken from all of them. I'd read a horror story about this on the web where this happened to someone and they had all sorts of dramas trying to sort it out. So I just *know* it's going to happen to me. Probably when I try to go to Jordan they'll freak out that there's no evidence I entered the country. hrmmmmmmmm

But then I saw my name on a card, so went over. It was an airport worker who was sorting out my hotel transfer. So I asked her about the stamp, but she said it should be ok. But she wasn't terribly confident about that. So I quickly went to an ATM then went through customs. I asked her if it was true that you needed to declare cameras and laptops etc, but she didn't think you did. Again, not too confidently :( What's the bet that I'm going to have dramas leaving the country because of *that* too?? :(

So had the shuttle to myself to the hotel. The guy might have been fishing for a tip but I'm like.. I've got no money.. (unless you have change of 100 shekels..hrmm). Checked in ok but there were guys insisting on bringing my bag up. And I'm like.. I've dragged this suitcase all over the world. I can take it up an elevator by myself. And guess what, the place has internet, with a fee (don't know how much). So it seems the fancier the hotel, the more nonsense you have to deal with, and the more likely you are to have to pay for internet. Grunt.

High rise offices in Tel Aviv
High rise offices in Tel Aviv

It's very hot here. I was going to go on a mission to see a few things, but it's too late and it's too much effort. So might just go outside and watch the sun set. Well, if I could see the sun through the clouds..

Hotel room at the Renaissance (I had a cot bed)
Hotel room at the Renaissance (I had a cot bed)

View from our hotel room
View from our hotel room

So seven hours later.

I did go for a little walk down on the beach. Touched the Mediterranean Sea. Then had a shower and went downstairs for dinner. All by myself. I must have looked like a bit of a loser.

On the beach
On the beach

Beach frontage
Beach frontage

Sunset over the Mediterranean Sea
Sunset over the Mediterranean Sea

Looking towards Old Jaffa
Looking towards Old Jaffa

I tried to stay awake as long as possible after dinner, as that would be the best way to reset the body clock, but I was simply not functioning. So after repacking my bags and rearranging everything, I collapsed into bed around 9:30.

The parents are due here any time now along with the rest of the group. But I'm up now because waiters came to do the door with plates of food for dinner (since they were meant to get dinner but the restaurant is only open til 9:30pm). I wasn't quite functioning, so let them in, where they saw the laptop setup. Hope they don't try and come back for it tomorrow....

Oh well, might do some photos stuff. I really don't know that I'll be able to get photos up as I go this trip .. we'll see...

Distance covered on the GPS: 20439 km
Steps walked: 6008+8113
Photos on the Canon: 266+66
Photos on the Sony: 286+30
Videos: 0